Passing on knowledge through student expertise

We all know that reciprocal teaching is an effective way of reinforcing knowledge and empowering students.

At sixth form particularly there are many opportunities for allowing young people to deepen their expertise and feel like the masters of their subjects that they are trying to become. A positive teacher is wise enough to harness these opportunities. When A level French students write essays, for example, they are operating at quite a high level, and therefore make more sophisticated errors.

In each A level MFL essay there will be at least one small point which will need to be corrected and explained. These will vary very widely across the cohort, and there will be really no linking factors at all. However, the one commonality is that it’s advantageous for ALL students to be aware of each of them in order to express themselves more clearly and in a more sophisticated manner in future writing.

It is time-consuming and dull for the class if the teacher feeds back on all these unassociated points. But if each student explains their own learning in their own way, there is a variety and an interest for the rest of the class. So each student is asked to prepare a tiny presentation on the learning point which has been explained in the feedback to their essay, and these micro-lessons will be held as starters at the beginning of each lesson. Students have a section in their folders in which to record these small learning points.


  • When to use ‘vers’ or ‘envers’
  • ‘Ce qui est’ vs ‘qui est’
  • Synonyms for ‘être’ for use in essays
  • ‘On est’ plus plural agreements in perfect tense

These sessions are looked forward to by students, and empower each of them within the cohort. Similar opportunities exist in other subjects – micro points being explained by one student for the benefit of all.

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