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Je viens de me rendre compte que je fais de moins en moins de billets de blog en français. Faut que je fasse un plus grand effort....

Le fait de ne pas devoir aller au travail me permet de passer un peu plus de temps à préparer des ressources pour le site. Par exemple, dernièrement, j'ai écrit un texte avec des exercices sur les paris sportifs. Il paraît que les Français parient de plus en plus pendant la crise économique et que c'est les sociétés traditionnelles telles que la Française des jeux et le PMU qui en tirent le plus de bénéfices. Quand c'est la crise, les gens prennent plus de risques mais ils préfèrent les points de vente à proximité aux jeux en ligne.

Pour ce genre de texte ma méthode, c'est de trouver un article de journal (dans ce cas précis c'était Sud Ouest), d'y trouver les informations utiles et de réécrire les infos à ma façon. Souvent je simplifie un peu le vocabulaire, j'enlève ce qui n'est pas nécessaire et je réorganise la structure de l'article.  J'ai toujours en tête le niveau des élèves qui vont travailler dessus. Puis j'ajoute des exercices qui varient en fonction du sujet et du langage.

Un autre article que j'ai trouvé intéressant concerne des couples norvégiens dits modernes qui partagent les tâches ménagers mais qui divorcent davantage. L'auteur suggère la possibilité que quand les tâches ne sont pas clairement répartis, ça crée des disputes. Il vaut mieux alors avoir chacun son rôle bien précis et, dans la réalité, c'est la femme qui fait la plupart des corvées.

Le texte permet aux élèves de réviser tout le vocabulaire du ménage et de discuter un peu le rôle des hommes, des femmes et des enfants dans ce contexte. On pourrait imaginer une activité où les élèves jouent le rôle d'étudiants qui vivent ensemble et qui doivent organiser le ménage de leur maison.

Autrement je continue à faire des mots croisés sur divers thèmes.

A bientôt.


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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.)

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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)
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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…