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En cours de terminale (A2) nous sommes en train lire L'Etranger de Camus. J'ai l'habitude de lire La Peste avec mes élèves de terminale car j'y trouve plus de sujets à discuter, mais L'Etranger est habituellement considéré comme le chef d'oeuvre de Camus. On comprend bien pourquoi. Le style est à la fois original expérimental. Le fond représente une des plus célèbres contestations de la foi chrétienne. C'est un livre qui associe une simplicité de style à une profondeur de sujet.

Mais, cette fois, en lisant les premiers chapitres, nous y trouvons beaucoup d'humour aussi. Les réactions impassibles de Meursault peuvent choquer certains, mais nous y trouvons de quoi rire. Nous venons de lire l'épisode où le vieux Salamano a perdu son chien, celui qu'il traite de "Salaud, charogne" et qu'il châtie sans pitié. En fait, Salamano adore son chien et il est complètement désemparé par sa disparition. Le lecteur est ému par la tristesse de Salamano, mais, son histoire racontée, au début du paragraphe suivant Meursault bâille! Meursault est un homme qui sait écouter, mais ne sait pas écouter. Il entend, mais il ne juge jamais et il ne comprend que vaguement le vrai sens des événements. Il voit le monde du petit bout de la lorgnette, comme on dit.

On peut facilement trouver du plaisir à la façon dont il répond à la demande de mariage de sa petite amie, Marie. Meursault ne peut pas dire qu'il l'aime, mais il veut bien l'épouser, si elle le veut. Quand elle lui demande s'il l'aime, il répond qu'il ne comprend pas la question, mais sûrement pas! C'est Mr Spock ou Mr Data de Star Trek, et ces personnages font rire grâce à leur froideur.

Bref, les élèves semblent bien apprécier le texte, mais le plus difficile viendra dans la deuxième partie.


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

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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…