Skip to main content

Réforme du lycée - un pas en avant pour les langues vivantes?

Richard Descoings, qui a fait le tout des lycées de la France dans le but d'entendre les professeurs et les élèves, a proposé quelques changements au lycée. Il ne s'agit pas d'une grande réforme, mais d'une série d'évolutions. Voici un extrait du blog d'Yves Thréard du Figaro, un blog qui met l'accent sur la revalorisation de la filière littéraire qui a perdu énormément d'élèves au bac scientifique, censé être supérieur. Je constate que les langues vivantes devraient bénéficier de cette "réforme". Peut-être que leur coéfficient augmentera ou qu'on passera plus de temps dans les cours de LV.

Yves Thréard:

"La méthode, d'abord. Les orientations énoncées par le chef de l'État procèdent d'une longue concertation engagée par le patron de Sciences Po Paris. Pendant plusieurs mois, Richard Descoings a fait le tour de la France pour recueillir les doléances des enseignants et des élèves. La synthèse de son enquête ne doit pas déboucher sur une loi, mais inspirer une série d'évolutions applicables par simples circulaires.
Saine disposition dans un pays où l'on se plaint, avec raison, de l'adoption de lois à un rythme effréné, pour un oui ou pour un non. Il est des domaines où le débat législatif doit rester la règle. Mais, souvent, que de temps perdu et d'énergie gâchée par seul calcul politique ou l'ambition de laisser un nom sur un texte parlementaire. C'est d'autant plus vrai dans l'Éducation nationale, terrain d'éternels affrontements, où l'expérience montre que les ministres porteurs d'un projet ont souvent été renvoyés à leurs chères études. Savary, Allègre, Ferry, Darcos... Agir par le dialogue, par touches, de façon empirique, sur une matière aussi évolutive, paraît plus juste.
L'idée, ensuite. La revalorisation de la filière littéraire est un louable objectif. La prééminence accordée aux matières scientifiques a fini par déconsidérer l'enseignement de ce qu'on appelait jadis les « humanités ». Cette suprématie, devenue le filtre d'excellence pour l'accès aux classes préparatoires des grandes écoles, a entraîné la désertion de la série L, fréquentée par seulement 17 % des lycéens. Elle est aussi responsable de la baisse du niveau de culture générale.
Le projet du gouvernement n'est certes pas de revenir au latin-grec obligatoire. L'accent sera mis sur les langues vivantes, l'ouverture aux civilisations étrangères, au droit et aux nouvelles formes d'expression artistique. Autant de matières qui, objectivement pour le coup, nécessiteront des moyens supplémentaires. L'idée, petite révolution culturelle et des esprits, est donc séduisante. Mais sa mise en œuvre reste une équation à plusieurs inconnues."


Popular posts from this blog

Delayed dictation

What is “delayed dictation”?

Instead of getting students to transcribe immediately what you say, or what a partner says, you can enforce a 10 second delay so that students have to keep running over in their heads what they have heard. Some teachers have even used the delay time to try to distract students with music.

It’s an added challenge for students but has significant value, I think. It reminds me of a phenomenon in music called audiation. I use it frequently as a singer and I bet you do too.

Audiation is thought to be the foundation of musicianship. It takes place when we hear and comprehend music for which the sound is no longer or may never have been present. You can audiate when listening to music, performing from notation, playing “by ear,” improvising, composing, or notating music. When we have a song going round in our mind we are audiating. When we are deliberately learning a song we are audiating.

In our language teaching case, though, the earworm is a word, chunk of l…

Sentence Stealers with a twist

Sentence Stealers is a reading aloud game invented by Gianfranco Conti. I'll describe the game to you, then suggest an extension of it which goes a bit further than reading aloud. By the way, I shouldn't need to justify the usefulness of reading aloud, but just in case, we are talking here about matching sounds to spellings, practising listening, pronunciation and intonation and repeating/recycling high frequency language patterns.

This is how it works:

Display around 15 sentences on the board, preferably ones which show language patterns you have been working on recently or some time ago.Hand out four cards or slips of paper to each student.On each card students must secretly write a sentence from the displayed list.Students then circulate around the class, approaching their classmates and reading a sentence from the displayed list. If the other person has that sentence on one of their cards, they must hand over the card. The other person then does the same, choosing a sentenc…

Using sentence builder frames for GCSE speaking and writing preparation

Some teachers have cottoned on to the fact that sentence builders (aka substitution tables) are a very useful tool for helping students prepare for their GCSE speaking and writing tests. My own hunch is that would help for students of all levels of proficiency, but may be particularly helpful for those likely to get lower grades, say between 3-6. Much depends, of course, on how complex you make the table.

To remind you, here is a typical sentence builder, as found on the frenchteacher site. The topic is talking about where you live. A word of warning - formatting blogs in Blogger is a nightmare when you start with Word documents, so apologies for any issues. It might have taken me another 30 minutes just to sort out the html code underlying the original document.

Setting work for home study

A major challenge for language teachers just now is selecting and sharing work with students to do at home. Here a few suggestions on the issue to add to your own. The sites I mention are the tip of the iceberg and focus mainly on French. I have stuck to free resources, not subscription sites.

By the way, I'm not getting into the use of tech here, as I have no great expertise on that. In any case, I imagine for younger learners especially it may be a question of setting other types of work.


For advanced learners the job is not so tough. There is a plethora of listening, reading and grammar material they can use, whether it be from their textbooks, other resources shared electronically or online resources. You may have your favourites, but for a selection for French you can check out my links here and here. You may want to stick with topics on the syllabus, or free up students to read and listen more generally to what interests them.

One idea I used was to ask students to c…

"Ask and move" task

This is a lesson plan using an idea from our book Breaking the Sound Barrier (Conti and Smith, 2019). It's a task-based lesson adapted from an idea from Paul Nation and Jonathan Newton. It is aimed at Y10-11 pupils aiming at Higher Tier GCSE, but is easily adaptable to other levels and languages, including A-level. This has been posted as a resource on

This type of lesson plan excites me more than many, because if it runs well, you get a classroom of busy communication when you can step back, monitor and occasionally intervene as students get on with listening, speaking and writing.