Welcome to our second blog post on mediation, which is one of the six key competences for foreign languages in the new Education Law, the LOMLOE. In part 1 we asked ourselves what mediation is and why it’s important. We delved into the different subskills that make up a successful mediator and considered the ways in which we’ll already be developing these subskills in class. In part 2, we’re going to consider what a full ‘mediating a text‘ task might look like. Let’s begin!
The mediation task we are going to look at comes from the Pearson course Roadmap and is suitable for older teenagers or adults. However, the approach to the task and its stages will be useful for teachers of all levels.
A mediation task will typically need a scenario: a reason for the mediator to mediate! In this task there are alternate scenarios: that is because students are going to do one or the other and then assess their partner’s work. Have a read:
So, we have a friend (either Maria or Sebastian) who is looking for a job and we’re going to write them an email with suggestions. That email is what me might term our ‘output’:
We also have a lesson goal and then a more specific mediation ‘focus’ or ‘skill’ – this comes from a relevant CEFR mediation descriptor at the student’s level. Remember, these descriptors are accessible on the teacher toolkit part on the Pearson GSE – for a tutorial, check out the first blog post!
Here the descriptor relates to selecting relevant information. In the task then: relevant information from where? From the ‘input’ text. But what is the relevant information? Well, that depends on the needs of the person we’re mediating to. How do we know their needs? They’re explained in the scenario.
But we’re getting our head of ourselves. What about our lead-in to get students interested in the topic? Here we go:
Prior knowledge and vocabulary activated, we can now have our students read the scenarios above. What’s the point of this next task?
Well, it’s to check our students have understood the scenario.
Now, our students are going to need to select the relevant information in the text based on their scenario. What guidance can we give them before they do this? Here’s an option:
So, we are getting our students to ask themselves questions about what they want from the text before reading it in order to get the appropriate information.
Perhaps busy teachers reading blog posts might not have time to write their questions! Nonetheless, have a scroll back up to the scenarios, pick one, consider what pieces of information you are looking for in the text and have a read:
As we can see below, in this instance the mediation task involves peer assessment as the students read each others’ letters and analyse each other’s choice of jobs, developing collaborative and critical thinking skills.
There’s no one right answer for Sebastian and Maria. For example, you might suggest that Sebastian could suit the job of director. We know he’s assertive and has good people skills. As we’ve read in the text, directors have to give directions (as the name suggests) and they don’t work alone. Maria’s business and economics degree might stand her in good stead to be a producer as one of their roles is finding the money to finance the film. Equally, her organisational skills could help ‘steer the film through all its stages’. However, she might also suit the role of cinematographer because she’s good with technology.
In terms of marking your students, key mediation criteria for this task would be:
- selects relevant information from the text.
- relays relevant points effectively.
- adopts an informal register.
Here is an example of a student work with feedback:
As Angel Briones states ‘the more I work on mediation tasks the more I realise how important the connection is between the descriptor, the input text you are using and the task itself’ – all these three need to work in harmony in the creation of a successful mediation task.’
We hope this approach for a ‘mediating a text’ type task has been useful. Do bear in mind that here the input text was written and so was the output. However, you can also use a listening track and spoken output, or a mix. And of course the ‘text’ could also be a video or perhaps an infographic or other chart (a number of descriptors relate to being able to explain a chart, for example).
Did you know that Pearson’s new Secondary course Your World also includes a full mediation task for every unit? This exciting new course includes BBC content and a number of these videos are used in the mediation tasks! To find out more about Your World, click here.
To have a look at other Pearson courses for primary and secondary students that are fully aligned to the LOMLOE, click here.