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Comprehensible input on frenchteacher

I'm one of those teachers, like most I would think, who place a high value on providing what Stephen Krashen christened "comprehensible input". That's why I always wanted to teach primarily through the target language with a strong emphasis on listening and reading for meaning. As a child taught in the 1960s and 70s I also value the "skill-building" approach and as a teacher was happy to do lots of target language structured practice, occasional translation and some explanation.

My website reflects both of those strands, with numerous grammar practice sheets and some grammar explanation handouts, but in fact the bulk of the resources are there to provide meaningful language through texts and listening. The staple resources are articles with exercises and video listening from authentic sources.

With comprehensible input and reading for interest in mind I began last year putting together a set of parallel reading resources for beginners and near beginners which I know many teachers have used. Reading material can, of course, be read aloud to provide useful listening.

So, on the Primary/Year 7 page of I have a good range of short texts laid out in landscape format, with French on the left, English on the right. To make them exploitable they come with a range of simple exercises and vocabulary lists to complete. The exercise types still focus on reading rather than writing - true/false, or true/false/not mentioned and ticking correct sentences (all in French) are the exercise types I use most since they provide even more input.

These are the topics covered: the Eiffel Tower, Channel Tunnel, meerkats, kangaroos, whale, sharks, spiders, ladybirds, dolphins, tigers, vampires, my dog, my family, my house, Cinderella, becoming a vet, Brazil, my friend, my mum, my family, planets, a weather forecast, a simple poem, the boy who cried wolf story and asking directions.

I could envisage these being used as a change from the usual work when you want a filler lesson. There is no grammatical focus, it's all about meaning. With stronger classes you could even use them without the English translation.

I have also posted a cover/front page in case teachers wish to make a booklet of the texts for their classes. This could be for extension work, for example.

If used in class with the whole group, I would read them aloud while the class follows and glances across at the English. With the right classes I would get them to read aloud to the class or in pairs. They could then work on the exercises in silence. At a later stage you could get pupils to fold the sheet in half and try translating back without reference to the English text provided. I'm sure you could come up with other ways to exploit the texts.


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