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Personal Learning & Thinking Skills in the Languages Classroom. Isabelle Jones, Head of Languages, The Radclyffe School, Oldham Twitter: @ icpjones My Languages Blog PLTS in MFL Wiki

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Personal Learning & Thinking Skills

in the Languages Classroom

Isabelle Jones, Head of Languages, The Radclyffe School, Oldham

Twitter: @icpjones

My Languages Blog

PLTS in MFL Wiki

you will
You will...
  • Look at strategies for embedding PLTS in your daily practice
  • Audit your own practice
  • Consider different approaches to promote PLTS in your classroom
  • Widen your repertoire of Thinking Skills activities
  • Find out what ICT tools can support the development of PLTS resources
are plts here to stay
Are PLTS here to stay?
  • Not a new concept:

Personal Learning + Thinking Skills

  • Independent learning skills
  • Learners’ social interactions
  • Making the link/ transfer knowledge
  • NOT a government initiative-focus for good practice
bloom s taxonomy
Bloom’s Taxonomy

Give opinions, assess/ criteria

Express rules, summarise, create

Identify patterns and rules

Predict, infer

Explain, describe, illustrate

Information recall: identify, list

price taxonomy
PRICE Taxonomy

5 types of Thinking Skills:

  • Information-Processing skills
  • Reasoning skills
  • EnquIry skills
  • Creative Thinking skills
  • Evaluation skills
PLTS in the Secondary National Curriculum

self manager

independent enquirer

creative thinker

team worker

reflective learner

effective participator

Embedding PLTS

the BLP Way

Building Learning Power, Guy Claxton

“The 6 clusters of qualities are more than Skills that can be trained... The point is to cultivate these qualities into becoming dispositions, or habits of mind... Cultivation of the PLTS should run through the curriculum, life and ethos of the school, like lettering through a stick of rock”

Embedding PLTS

the BLP Way

The 4 Rs

  • Resilience: absorption, managing distractions, noticing, perseverance;
  • Resourcefulness:questioning, making links, imagining, reasoning, capitalising;
  • Reflectiveness:planning, revising, distilling, meta-learning;
  • Reciprocity:interdependance, collaboration, empathy and listening.
Audityourown practice
  • Which PLTS areas do I find are the easiest to integrate in my practice?
  • Can you give examples of activities?
  • Which PLTS areas do you think are

the most difficult to integrate?

  • Why?
Strategies for Embedding PLTS
  • Aiming to deliver a wide variety of tasks in

a varied way: impact on resource design and nature of interactions in classroom;

  • Opportunities highlighted in SoWs & examples of activities shared;
  • Focus on developing students’ skills and independence.
Strategies for Embedding PLTS
  • Introducing Meta-language to talk about learning: mats, display
  • Overlaps with AFL and SEAL
  • Training of support staff like FLAs
  • Focus on developing PLTS as a wholeschool approach
Promoting PLTS:

Using cross-curricular Thinking Skills tools

Promoting PLTS:

Using cross-curricularThinkingSkillstools

Strategies for Embedding PLTS:

Lesson Objectives


  • Look at the specific skills required to do well the Speaking Controlled Assessment
  • Identify and use “interesting” phrases to improve the range of the language used

SEAL objectives: Motivation (red)

  • I monitor and evaluate my own work
  • I set challenges and targets for myself and celebrate when I achieve them
Strategies for Embedding PLTS:

Lesson Objectives

Vers le succès (Steps to Success):

  • Developing strategies to start off answers in different ways
  • Say & understand how time phrases, connectives, comparatives, reasons & opinions can improve your linguistic range
  • Practise speaking ensuring you do not pronounce silent letters

Vers le progrès (Path to Progress):

Be able to develop your speaking answers using a range of structures

  • Recognise your strengths
  • Be aware of how you are doing
  • Learn from mistakes
Strategies for Developing PLTS through languages activities

Use mystery pictures

Use links between pictures: and, but

Compare pictures : use comprative, because

Say what happened before

Say what might happen after

Read/Listen to clues to identify one specific


Points forts et Points faibles

L’alcool: C’est relaxant mais c’est cher

Le jeu

Le tabac

Plus … que (more … than)

Moins … que (less … than)

Aussi … que (as… as)

La drogue

L’alcool: C’est plusrelaxantque le jeu mais

c’est aussicher que le tabac

Diamond nine cards.doc

Pourquoi pas? 

1. Parce que ça sent mauvais

2. Parce que c’est dégoûtant

3. Parce que ça donne le cancer

4. Parce que ça cause des crises cardiaques

5. Parce que c’est facile de devenir dépendant

6. Parce que c’est trop cher

7. Parce que c’est du gaspillage

8. Parce que c’est difficile d’arrêter

9. Parce que c’est illégal

10.Parce que c’est dangereux

11.Parce que c’est mauvais pour le foie

12.Parce que ça fait grossir/ ça coupe l’appétit

13.Parce ce que c’est mauvais pour la santé

L’alcool, le tabac ou les drogues?

Le tabac


Les drogues

Showing off your PLTS

KS3 or KS4 lesson on healthy eating

What would you do to “show off your PLTS”?

  • Classroom set-up
  • Activities
  • Resources (including ICT if relevant)
How embedded are your Thinking Skills/ PLTS?

*Schemes of Work:

mapping out of Thinking Skills lesson opportunities sharing PLTS objectives

*Evidence of:

  • Collaborative team work [+Seating arrangement, Display]
  • Students using “meta-language”
  • Students as Independent learners
  • Cross-curricular support/time dedicated to skills building across the curriculum
Independent Enquirer Activities
  • Intercultural understanding-identify features
  • Flickr
  • taggalaaxy
  • French Google
  • Spanish Google
Independent Enquirer Activities

Intercultural understanding-reflecting on identity and finding out about France

Find songs with repetitive structures

And get students to also be more

Creative with the language...

Je viens de là où...

Creative Thinkers Activities
  • Poems: recipes, acrostics, calligrams, comparisons
  • Song-Stromae “Alors on danse” [Lyrics world app]
  • Transfer structure: Stromae_on_danse : Qui dit...
  • Rebus
  • Rebus Malin iphone
Creative Thinkers Activities

Stromae-Alors on danse...

Structure suggested for students’

own poem/ song (complete)

examples of student’s responses

Qui dit amour dit … haine/ famille

Qui dit parents dit… bagarres/problèmes

Qui dit enfants dit … futur/larmes

Qui dit vacances dit … rire/ désastre

Qui dit études dit … travail/ennui

Oui dit travail dit … argent/ennui

Qui dit copains dit ... amusement/bavarder

Creative Thinkers Activities

Making links: Learners are given a selection of familiar words and asked to make a concept map by adding connecting words between the words already on the list.

Reflective Learners Activities

Fact or opinion

“On mange mieux en France qu’en Angleterre”

Discute et range les phrases selon leurs catégories

2 stars and 1 wish


Post-it notes


Reflective Learners Activities

2 stars and a wish (direct/ post-it notes/ wallwisher)

Effective Participator Activities
  • Get involved in outreach activities: resources for Primary (mini books, recording stories, using video-conferencing), open evening
  • Organising a languages club/ café
  • Involvement in activities to prepare for a trip, exchange, option evening
  • Displays, videos, LAFTA competition...
Team Worker Activities
  • Running dictation/ collective memory
  • Students work together to create or re-create a text or a visual image in the form of a map, picture or diagram. Each student look at stimulus for a short period of time (e.g. 10 seconds) before returning to reproduce the original
  • Wikis: Collaborative Writing Task:
Team Worker Activities
  • Collaborative Writing Task:


SOLO Taxonomy

Stands for Structures of Observed Learning Outcomes

Developed by Biggs and Collis in 1982

Describes levels of increasing complexity in a student’s understanding of a subject

With the highest level being the extended abstract level, when students can make connections not only within the given area but also beyond it.

Students will also be able to generalise and transfer the principles and ideas to another area.

Are we allowing our students to make these connections?

you should have
You should have ...
  • More ideas for strategies to embed PLTS in your daily practice
  • Reflected on your own practice
  • Considered different approaches to promote PLTS in your classroom
  • A wider repertoire of Thinking Skills activities
  • Found out what ICT tools can support the development of PLTS resources
Personal Learning & Thinking Skills

in the Languages Classroom

Isabelle Jones, Head of Languages, The Radclyffe School, Oldham

Twitter: @icpjones

My Languages Blog

PLTS in MFL Wiki