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Réchauffement planétaire

Climat : le dernière décennie fut la plus chaude des annales

Ceux qui ont commencé à douter de la réalité du réchauffement de la planète devraient prendre en compte les derniers chiffres de la NASA. Il semble que la dernière décennie ait été la plus chaude mesurée, malgré un 2008 relativement frais.
"L'Institut d'étude spatiale Goddard de la Nasa (Giss) a publié ses chiffres pour l'année 2009, révélant que cette dernière a été la deuxième année la plus chaude des 130 années dont les températures ont été enregistrées. Elle se place juste derrière 2005, et presque ex aequo avec 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006 et 2007, l'année 2008 ayant été la plus froide de la décennie en raison de la force du courant marin La Niña."Il y a des variations importantes des températures terrestres d'une année sur l'autre, provoquées par l'influence alternée des courants de l'océan Pacifique El Niño (chaud) et La Niña (froid)" explique James Hansen, le directeur du Giss. "Mais quand on fait la moyenne des températures sur cinq ou dix ans pour lisser ces fluctuations annuelles du thermomètre, on peut voir que le réchauffement planétaire se poursuit sans relâche" souligne-t-il.Depuis 1880, une nette tendance au réchauffement est constatée à la surface du globe, les températures ayant grimpé d'environ 0,2 degré Celsius par décennie au cours des trente dernières années, grimpant au total de 0,8 degré depuis 1880.Pour dresser ce bilan, le Giss s'est basé sur des données fournies par plus d'un millier de stations météorologiques situées tout autour de la Terre, des mesures de températures à la surface des océans effectuées par des satellites ainsi que des données venant des stations de recherche dans l'Antarctique."


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How can we make listening more enjoyable and effective for pupils? How can we turn it from a potential chore to something more memorable (and therefore more likely to stick in their long term memories)? I am of the opinion that since humans are "wired" to engage in personal listening and speaking (the expression "social brain" has been used in this context), they may be more interested and attentive when the message comes from a real person rather than a disembodied audio source. (This may or may not be relevant, but research has been carried out which demonstrates that babies pick up phonological patterns better when they listen to a caregiver rather than listen to a tape or watch a video - see here for summaries of research into this area by Patricia Kuhl.)

One easy way to make listening stimulating for pupils is to tell them easy stories in the target language. I was reminded of this while reading Penny Ur's book 100 Teaching Tips (reviewed here

New GCSE resources on frenchteacher

As well as writing resources for the new A-levels, I have in recent months been posting a good range of materials to support the new GCSEs. First exams are not until 2018, but here is what you can find on the site in addition to the many other resources (grammar exercises, texts, video listening etc).

I shall not produce vocabulary lists since the exam board specifications now offer these, with translations.

Foundation Tier 

AQA-style GCSE 2016 Role-plays
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Higher Tier 

AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (Higher tier)
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (Higher tier) (2)
20 translations into French (with answers)
Reading exam (Higher tier)
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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…

5 great zero preparation lesson ideas

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…