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L'Ile d'Aix et Brouage


C'est l'échange et nous sommes bien arrivés en Charente Maritime. Aujourd'hui les élèves sont en cours ce matin pendant que Jean-Yves (notre assistant) et moi sommes ici dans la salle des profs à l'Institution Saint Louis à Pont l'Abbé. Cette semaine on va visiter la cité médiévale de Brouage, puis Fouras et l'Ile d'Aix.

J'aime bien me promener sur l'Ile d'Aix, une petite île sans voitures qui se trouve entre l'Ile d'Oleron au sud et l'Ile de Ré au nord. Selon l'île est occupé par l'homme depuis l'ère préhistorique, mais sa vraie histoire a commencé avec l'installation d'une communauté monastique au XIe siècle. Plus tard l'île a été fortifiée pour protéger l'arsenal de Rochefort (1666) contre les attaques de la marine anglaise.

L'île s'est dépeuplée après la fermeture de l'arsenal de Rochefort, mais c'est grâce à la baronne et au baron de Gourgaud que l'île s'est ouverte aux visiteurs. Donc aujourd'hui en arrivant sur le bac on trouve de petits commerces, des cafés, des vélos à louer, quelques vignes, des forts à visiter et beaucoup de petites maisons de vacances. On peut faire le tour de l'île à pied en deux heures, avec des vues sur Fort Boyard, la célèbre fortification de Napoléon.

Quant à Brouage, c'est une "place forte" connue pour ses remparts et ses tours de guet, un ancien port de sel et de guerre. C'est un village paisible de commerçants et d'artisans. C'est également un port conchylicole (ça veut dire pour l'élevage des huîtres et des moules). Les touristes aiment y faire des promenades sur les remparts.


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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)

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…

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When the pressure is on and there are only so many hours on the week, you need a repertoire of zero preparation go-to activities which promote input and/or practice. Here are five you might well find useful.

1. My weekend

We know that listening is the most important yet often neglected skill for language learning. It's also something some pupils find hard to do. To develop listening skill and provide tailored comprehensible input try this:

You tell the class you are going to recount what you did last weekend and that they have to make notes in English. The amount of detail you go into and the speed you go will depend on your class. Talk for about three minutes. If you spent the whole weekend marking, you can always make stuff up!

You then make some true or false (maybe not mentioned too) statements in the target language about what you said in your account. Class gives hands up (or no hands up) answers. This can then lead into a simple pair work task where pupils make up their own tru…