The FOSIL inquiry carried out in French has led us to reach the following conclusions, and we would love to hear from anyone who can shed any more light on where we go next.
MFL is inherently different from other subjects and an inquiry is more complicated. We need to take the language barrier into account, particularly with younger pupils and the selection of resources must be carefully monitored/selected. I don’t think the length of the project was justified by the amount of learning that came out of it. Although this is difficult to measure, from a teaching perspective we didn’t feel much FRENCH was covered, discovered, used and practised.
To return to the question I raised at the beginning of this article: How much are we as MFL teachers willing to sacrifice language acquisition and practice to allow for a proper investigation into culture? I am still unconvinced about the value of FOSIL inquiry in the development of knowledge in MFL. However, as an educator in general I am absolutely convinced that the skills pupils practised and acquired during the process are immeasurable. I am sure that the next time pupils do an inquiry project they will be better at it, this first foray into the process in French has not deterred me completely but I will heavily modify it for next year’s 2nd form in the light of what we have learnt so far.