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Five blogs I like

On I have a long list of French teacher blog links, but I don't have the time to visit them all, apart from checking that the links have not gone dead. The languages blogs I like to read most, though, are ones related to language teaching pedagogy. I have maintained an interest in this over the years ever since my linguistics study at university and the MA I did later (partly on the work of Stephen Krashen). But there are other education blogs I like to read too. Here are five blogs I would recommend:

  • The Language Gym blog by Gianfranco Conti is unusual in combining detailed reference to research with practical implications for the classroom. It's a relatively new blog, but Gianfranco, who teaches French in Kuala Lumpur, is a frenetic blogger who always makes you think without trying to sell one particular approach over another. Young teachers could learn a good deal from his posts which are detailed and referenced. Gianfranco really gets into the nitty-gritty of "what works". He also runs a free interactive website called The Language Gym with a focus on language manipulation.

  • Musicuentos ("inspiring passion and proficiency in world language teaching") is another website and blog from America with the focus firmly on second language teaching methodology. I have belatedly discovered this one and can recommend, in particular, the series of videocasts recently published and which focus on aspects of research and methodology. The curator is Sarah-Elizabeth Cottrell, a Spanish teacher with a strong background in second language acquisition theory and research and who seems to have an eclectic view of what might work. Sarah is active on Twitter and sometimes hosts #langchat question-answer chats.

  • Barry Smith's occasional blogs are good fun. Barry enjoys taking aim at what he sees as fashionable but ineffective practices in the modern languages classroom. He teaches French at the new Michaela Community School in London. Michaela has made a bit of a name for itself during its short existence. It is known as a school with outstandingly well-behaved children, a strong focus on traditional knowledge and a rejection of a lot of the bureaucracy and box-ticking activities which go on in so many British schools. Barry's approach to French teaching is quite original and his pupils (Barry would never call them students) seem to love it. He likes dictating and translating but hates pictures.

  • Tom Bennett writes a blog for the TES. Tom recently became the leader of an advisory group on behaviour for the DfE. Tom, whose background is English teaching, is well known in the twittersphere for his amusing tweets, huge, old-school common sense about classroom behaviour and very entertaining writing. He has also taken the lead in establishing the popular ResearchEd conferences which seem to be sprouting up all over the world. I always enjoy his posts about education.

  • My final one is more of a resource site than a blog. It's called Douce France and is run by an Irish teacher of French Conan Hamill. Conan regularly posts a French text he has written, along with a link to a radio broadcast of topical interest. He includes questions for his students to work on. Recent topics have included: same sex marriage (to accompany the recent referendum in Ireland), Jean-Marie Le Pen, the Eurovision song contest and the Charlie Hebdo events. I don't know how well known Douce France is, but it's great that Conan shares his work with the world.


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