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De retour

Juste un mot pour dire que les vraies vacances sont terminées et nous sommes de retour de Puyravault. On a passé trois semaines à la maison en Charente-Maritime, y compris trois jours avec nos amis Douglas et Isabelle (avec leur fils Thomas - un copain de Joel) et quatre jours avec mon ami d'école Jonathan et ses deux filles Naima et Yasmina.

On a eu du beau temps presque tous les jours et il a fait plus chaud que d'habitude dans l'ouest de la France, comme dans la plupart des régions. On en a profité pour aller à la plage sur l'Ile d'Oléron et sur la côte sauvage près de La Palmyre. Elspeth et Joel aiment bien faire du body-board, moi moins! Autrement on s'est amusés à faire de la barque dans les marais, on a visité La Rochelle plusieurs fois et on a fait des marchés de nuit. Celui de Surgères (le marché d'Hélène) est le plus animé. Ah, et on est retournés à St Palais sur Mer pour assister au festival de rock progressif Crescendo - le seul festival de rock progressif gratuit du monde!

On a découvert également St Jean d'Angely avec ses petites ruelles agréables et son abbaye.

Et, chose remarquable, Elspeth et mois avons fait un peu de footing presque tous les matins! Malheureusement, mon ventre reste très visible.

C'est le seul moment de l'année où j'arrive à lire un peu sérieusement. Eh bien, cet été j'ai lu D-Day: The Battle for Normandy de l'historien Antony Beevor, deux romans plutôt déprimants (mais bien) de Richard Yates. Ayant lu Revolutionary Road, il faut que je regarde le film du même nom. Le livre que j'ai apprécié le plus, c'est One Day de David Nicholls:

Sur DVD nous avons revu pas mal d'épisodes du West Wing et quelques Seinfeld.

Je n'ai pas encore vu les résultats des examens. J'aurai certainement quelque chose à dire là-dessus la semaine prochaine.


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What teachers are saying about The Language Teacher Toolkit

"The Language Teacher Toolkit is a really useful book for language teachers to either read all the way through or dip into. What I like about it is that the authors Steve Smith and Gianfranco Conti are totally upfront about what they believe to be good practice but back it up with research evidence." (Ernesto Macaro, Oxford University Department of Education)

"I absolutely love this book based on research and full of activities..  The best manual I've read so far. One of our PDs from the Australian Board of Studies recommended your book as an excellent resource.  I look forward to the conference here in Sydney." Michela Pezzi, Teacher, Australia, Facebook)

"Finally, a book for World Language teachers that provides practical ideas and strategies that can actually be used in the classroom, rather than dry rhetoric and theory that does little to inspire creativity in ways that are engaging for both students and teachers alike." (USA teacher, Amazon review)

Making words memorable

Most teachers and researchers would agree that knowing words is even more important than knowing grammar if you wish to be proficient in a language. As linguist David Wilkins wrote in 1972: "Without grammar little can be conveyed, without vocabulary nothing can be conveyed."One of the frustrations for teachers is pupils' inability to retain vocabulary for productive use. A good deal of research has been done over the years into how pupils might better keep words in memory. Two concepts which have come to the fore are spacing and interleaving.

Spaced practice

A 2003 review of the literature by P.Y. Gu reported that most studies show that students frequently forget words after learning them just once.  Anderson and Jordan (1928) discovered that after initial learning, then one week, three weeks and eight weeks thereafter, the recall success was 66%, 48%, 39% and 37% respectively. Other studies have produced similar results. Unsurprisingly, these researchers recommend, space…

The Language Teacher Toolkit review

We were delighted to receive a review of The Language Teacher Toolkit from eminent applied linguist Ernesto Macaro from Oxford University. Macaro is a leader in the field of second language acquisition and applied linguistics. His main research interests are teacher-student interaction and language learning strategies pupils can use to improve their progress.

Here is Professor Macaro's review:
The Language Teacher Toolkit is a really useful book for language teachers to either read all the way through or dip into. What I like about it is that the authors Steve Smith and Gianfranco Conti are totally upfront about what they believe to be good practice but back it up with research evidence. So for example the ‘methodological principles’ on page 11 are supported by the research they then refer to later in the book and this approach is very similar to the one that we (Ernesto Macaro, Suzanne Graham, Robert Woore) have adopted in our ‘consortium project’( The point i…