Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Education

The challenge of transition from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 3

October 2012 - September 2014

Between 2011 and 2014, Gary Chambers led a series of four interlinked research projects on the subject of pupil transition in Modern Foreign Language learning from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 3.

  • The challenge of transition from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 3 in MFL - the pupils' perspective.
  • Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 3 Transition in MFL- the teachers' perspective.
  • Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 3 Transition in Modern Languages. The pupils' voice in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. (British Academy funded.)
  • Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 3 Transition in Modern Languages. The teachers' voice in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.

 By means of a longitudinal approach, which included a series of semi-structured interviews over two years, he accessed the views of pupils and teachers in the North of England and Saxony Anhalt, Germany, engaged in the transition experience. This gave pupils the opportunity to share their thoughts on how schools’ practices in relation to transition impacted on their MFL learning experience and their motivation.

Teachers also gave their perspectives on what they did to address the challenge of transition, why they did it this way and the factors influencing what they did. Findings inform how primary and secondary schools in England, in particular, as well as Saxony-Anhalt might amend their practices to serve better the needs of pupils.

The German dimension of the project is ongoing. The impact of the research on schools in the region around the University of Leeds has already been considerable.

On 7 July 2011, when the project was still at an early stage, initial findings were disseminated and discussed by means of a conference for teachers of MFL entitled, "Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 3 modern languages transition – meeting the challenge!", held at the University of Leeds.

An article informed by the findings of the North of England dimension of the research, entitled,  “Transition in modern languages from primary to secondary school: the challenge of change” in Language Learning Journal, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/09571736.2012.708052, 04 September 2012, has also stimulated widespread interest.

A further comparative article relating to the views of teachers in the North of England and Saxony-Anhalt will be published in 2014, followed by a pupil-focussed Anglo-German comparison in early 2015. In the autumn of 2014, it is planned to develop a website related to transition and informed by the findings of this research.

A further conference is also planned for early 2015.

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