10 Top Tips for Primary Language Teachers

Thank you to Sylvie Rawlings for putting these great tips together for us all!

[Ideal for French and Spanish teachers]
sylvie rawlings


About me: I am an MFL teacher and Language Coordinator who after 20 years in the secondary sector started teaching at KS1 and KS2 levels 7 years ago. I currently work in two primary schools in Kent and within the AE sector.

Follow me on Twitter @SylvieBRawlings


  •   Make the language part of their every day life

Have a routine at the start of class: Calendar, etc.. to reinforce subject knowledge. Pupils answering the register with vocabulary from the language covered, etc..

  • Storybooks

Choose engaging ones with lots of repetition such as Va t’en Grand Monstre Vert, Je m’habille je te croquet, etc… The children will join in miming or/ and repeating.

I recommend:

va t en gd monstre vert  le loup qui voulait changer de couleur

Homme-de-Couleur  si le loup y était


In Spanish:

El-Cuento-Reyes-Mag-L  fuera de aqui monstruo verde

azul el sombrero

Have a look at the Little Linguist site for more ideas: www.little-linguist.co.uk

  • Authentic songs

These are wonderful and encourage repetition.

For French I recommend Comptines et chansons pour enfants:

For Spanish I recommend Grupo Encanto:

I also recommend Babyradio:

I use them also to reinforce phonics.

  • Making your classroom French / Spanish

Use posters with every day language, colours, days of the week, months, etc…, labels, displays, washing lines, etc…

The Spanish Embassy offers a lot of free posters and resources linked to them: http://www.mecd.gob.es/reinounido/en_GB/publicaciones-materiales/material-didactico
For French, Culturethèque does too: http://culturetheque.org.uk

I recommend:

  • Displays

I use washing lines to display key language on items described with their gender and the children’s work. If you do not have a classroom a board dedicated to MFL in the school would be a great idea.

  • Minibooks

At the end of a topic or a story we make minibooks inspired by Clare Seccombe. With them the children can read to one another their adapted version of a story covered or they can use it as a prop for oral work.

  • Use the resources from your classroom

Dice, white boards, number fans, etc…

  • Bilingual dictionary

Invest in a set of bilingual dictionaries; simple ones such as First Time French / Spanish Dictionary by Collins.

  • Apps

We use specific apps such as Puppet Pals, Sock Puppets, Voice Record and Songify for our recordings. They encourage speaking and enable the pupils to review their work. We use Book Creator. The children love Decide Now and 30hands too. We are experimenting with Show me.

  • Making links with other countries

We share a dropbox with a school in France and they have posted a film made by the pupils about their school, ours made books in the BookCreator app about our school.

I am looking at etwinning at the moment and have asked one of the local etwinning ambassadors to come to talk about it at our school.

Jim says: Thank you Sylvie!

Teachers, what do you think of Sylvie’s tips? Do you have any to share of your own?

See you next time,


Jim Porter is a co-founder of Speekee, where kids learn to speak Spanish together

Jim began his Spanish learning journey in 1990. He has been a language teacher since 1994 and he lives in sunny southern Spain with his two bilingual children. Loves it! More…

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1 Response

  1. March 22, 2014

    […] 10 Top Tips for Primary Language Teachers – Where kids learn to speak Spanish together […]

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