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Showing posts from August, 2010

Comparing French results with other subject areas

The issue of "severe grading" is well-known to language teachers in England and Wales. At GCSE French is roughly 0.4 of a grade harder than subjects such as maths and English and about a whole grade easier than certain subjects. At A-level, French and German almost the hardest, with just biology, physics and general studies being a little harder (based on 2004 data). English literature and geography are about half a grade easier and busines studies easier still. The government acknowledged that this is the case, but decided not to do anything about it, largely for political reasons. Helen Myers of the London branch of the ALL (Association for language Learning) has kindly posted an update with regard to the latest situation on grading and numbers. If you are interested here is the link: In particular, there may be an issue with the number of A* grades awarded at A-level French. Only 7.7% got an A* this year, a lo

Should pupils give up doing French?

That's the title of a BBC web site article following the annual hand wringing as GSCE results show a continued decline in numbers of students taking languages. GCSE French numbers have fallen 45% in eight years, whilst German struggles even more and Spanish holds it own. (We shouldn't forget that there there are a good number of pupils doing other courses such as Asset languages.) I would be curious to know where we stand compared to the 1970's, when only a minority of pupils did French to age 16. My hunch would be that more children are still learning up to 16, but that fewer are doing A-level as more and more options have been offered for less brilliant students. Incidentally José Picardo has written a nice blog post on language learning and the class divide. The two main factors involved in the decline are the government's decision to make languages op

Donkeys wearing trousers

Picture: Just got back from three relaxing warm and generally sun-drenched weeks in Puyravault. Been doing the annual analysis of exam results too with the very good Enhanced Results service from e-AQA. It's brilliant. Means you don't have to go in to school to look at results and tells you more than ever before. Anyway, something which amused me in St Martin on the Ile de Ré this year was the sight of a line of donkeys wearing what looked like pyjama bottoms. Well, it turns out that the trousers used to be worn by donkeys to protect their legs from insect bites as they wandered the salt marshes. Monsieur Régis Léau looks after 60 donkeys, including 20 Baudet du Poitou donkeys which are, it seems, a rare breed. They are now a minor tourist attraction where they can be seen ridden by children.

Les Anglais mal habillés, les Français peu sympathiques

Article tiré de Le site TripAdvisor a mené une enquête auprès de 2376 internautes comprenant des questions relatives à l’image que se font les touristes Européens des autres touristes Européens et des pays/villes qu’ils visitent. Avec certaines surprises à la clé… L’avantage de voyager en Europe, c’est qu’en à peine quelques heures d’avion, vous pouvez changer de décor. Et en matière de décor – ou d’image – on fantasme parfois sur certaines villes, réputées pour être les villes de l’amour (Venise, Paris…) ou celles où la vie est la moins coûteuse (Prague, Varsovie..). Bref, à chaque ville son image d’Epinal. Et à chaque pays son touriste. C’est ainsi que les touristes Anglais sont considérés comme les moins bien habillés d’Europe par leurs homologues européens (pour 20% des sondés) suivis des Irlandais (6%) et des Russes (6% également). A contrario, les Français (26%), les Italiens (23%) et les Espagnols (8%) sont considérés comme les touristes les mieux

Normandy trip

Got back yesterday from Normandy. Brilliant trip with the second formers, all 106 of them. This group were a lot of fun to be with and very sensible. We stuck to a tried and tested routine: Bayeux Tapestry, Longues gun battery, Omaha Beach American war cemetery. (If you get the chance go there. The Visitors' Centre is outstanding - very touching.) The Mémorial in Caen, where they have extended the secton on the holocaust, the Mont St Michel, St Malo and Riva Bella beach at Ouistreham. My highlight was the talent show night when almost the entire group spontaneously got up to do a kind of conga as they sang a song dedicated to Daisy Newsome. Thanks to all the teachers: Marq, Chris, Helen, Sharon, Mike, plus Giles, Daisy and Charlotte. John M couldn't be with us as he was ill. I'm hoping to get some photos soon. I really recommend the Château du Molay run by Travelbound in Brighton. Off to Puyravault on Thursday.