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"Gained time"

Les oraux sont terminés et les élèves de Y11, 12 et 13 sont partis. On pousse un grand soupir de soulagement. Nous autres profs aimons bien cette période où on peut commencer à faire nos projets pour lesquels on n'a pas eu le temps jusqu'ici. Il y a des programmes à préparer pour l'an prochain, des idées à discuter, mais aussi des bulletins scolaires à écrire.

Comment organiser l'année de terminale pour l'an prochain? Le programme a changé. Plus de "coursework". Avec AQA les "cultural topics" à faire. Nous commençons à réfléchir sur notre planning. J'ai en tête l'idée de travailler sur une oeuvre littéraire après Noël, d'étudier un peu une époque historique avant Noël et de laisser travailler les élèves un peu sur un sujet qu'ils auront choisi eux-mêmes. Donc ils auront le choix entre trois sujets quand ils auront à faire leurs deux examens en mai/juin prochain. Qu'en pensez-vous?

J'ai revu avec mes élèves l'autre jour un film que j'adore: Un long dimanche de fiançailles. On pourrait étudier un peu la première guerre mondiale vue par la France. Ou bien on pourrait visionner le film et lire le roman dont il est tiré comme sujet littéraire.

Et puis j'ai vu chez HMV ce matin Au revoir les Enfants, un autre film également émouvant. Je vois un lien immédiat avec La Peste que j'ai fait plusieurs fois avant et que j'ai lu moi-même au lycée. La résistance et la collaboration sont des thèmes bien rôdés pour A-level, mais on pourrait les aborder quand même.

Je trouve quand même bizarre que nos élèves écriront leurs disserts et que l'examinateur ne pourra même pas juger le vrai fond de leur travail. Cela va exiger une préparation soignée pour que les élèves ne perdent pas de points le jour de l'examen.

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I've been dipping into The Routledge Handbook of Instructed Second Language Acquisition (2017) edited by Loewen and Sato. This blog is a succinct summary of Chapter 16 by Beatriz González-Fernández and Norbert Schmitt on the topic of teaching vocabulary. I hope you find it useful.

1.  Background

The authors begin by outlining the clear importance of vocabulary knowledge in language acquisition, stating that it's a key predictor of overall language proficiency (e.g. Alderson, 2007). Students often say that their lack of vocabulary is the main reason for their difficulty understanding and using the language (e.g. Nation, 2012). Historically vocabulary has been neglected when compared to grammar, notably in the grammar-translation and audio-lingual traditions as well as  communicative language teaching.

(My note: this is also true, to an extent, of the oral-situational approach which I was trained in where most vocabulary is learned incidentally as part of question-answer sequence…

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I chose 20 clear, simple, clear and copyright-free images from to produce three presentations on present tense (beginners), near future (post beginner) and perfect tense (post-beginner/low intermediate). Here is one of them:

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1. Explain in English that you are going to teach the class how to talk about and understand people talking about sport. By the end of the lesson they will be able to say and understand 20 different sport…

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For students to become good listeners takes lots of time and practice, so there are no quick fixes. However, I’m going to suggest, very concisely, what principles could be the basis of an overall plan of action. These could be the basis of a useful departmental discussion or day-to-day chats about meth…

GCSE and IGCSE revision links 2018

It's coming up to that time of year again. In England and Wales. Here is a handy list of some good interactive revision links for this level. These links are also good for intermediate exams in Scotland, Ireland and other English-speaking countries. You could copy and paste this to print off for students.

Don't forget the GCSE revision material on of course! How could you?

As far as apps for students are concerned, I would suggest the Cramit one, Memrise and Learn French which is pretty good for vocabulary. For Android devices try the Learn French Vocabulary Free. For listening, you could suggest Coffee Break French from Radio Lingua Network (iTunes podcasts).

Listening (Foundation/Higher) (Foundation/Higher) (Foundation/Higher)

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I guess most of you out there have at some point got your students to study verb tables, chant or sing verb paradigms, or played games to practise endings - Battleships and the interactive site Conjugemos spring to mind. Many of us have also found ourselves at some point bemoaning students' lack of skill with verb inflections and wondered what we can do improve the situation.

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The case for 

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