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Dom's Unbelievable Truth

Dominic McGladdery had the idea of using the concept behind the Radio 4 comedy The Unbelievable Truth as a way of getting students to listen or read carefully. The idea is that you give an account with a number of deliberate errors in and the other students have to spot the deliberate errors. (In the radio prog, it works in the opposite way, with the contestants having to smuggle through truths among all the errors.) So, with this in mind, here is the story of Cinderella, written (not very authentically) in the perfect tense and containing 10 deliberate errors. You could give this to an intermediate level group. It could be read aloud if the students are clear enough, or done as a reading exercise.

You could make it competitive, using two different texts of similar standard, by seeing which partner can spot the most errors. I am sure students would enjoy this.

Il était une fois une belle jeune fille, orpheline, qui habitait dans une grande maison avec son père remarié. Sa belle-mère avait deux filles, belles et méchantes.

La belle-mère et les deux soeurs obligeaient Cendrillon à faire tout le ménage à la maison. Elle devait faire la lessive, faire la vaisselle, faire le repassage, jouer sur la console et préparer tous les repas. Chaque jour elle devait aussi enlever les cendres dans la cheminée, alors on l’appelait Cendrillon.

Un jour,le fils du roi a organisé un concert pour trouver une fiancée. Toutes les filles du pays étaient invitées. Ses deux demi-sœurs, aidées par leur mère, ont fait tous les préparatifs pour le bal. Cendrillon, contente, n’a pas osé demander la permission d’y aller. Elle a ri si fort, que sa marraine, la fée, l’a entendue et est venue. La fée a utilisé sa magie pour transformer Cendrillon en une belle jeune fille. Elle a créé une belle robe et un vélo pour la transporter et elle a transformé des chevaux en souris.

Ainsi, Cendrillon a pu aller au bal, mais elle a dû promettre de rentrer avant une heure. Arrivée au bal, sa beauté a fait l’objet de tous les regards admiratifs. Le jeune prince l’a invitée à jouer aux cartes. A la fin de la soirée, elle était si contente qu’elle a oublié l’heure. Dans sa hâte, elle a perdu son gant de verre.

Le prince a voulu absolument retrouver sa bien-aimée, alors il est allé voir tous les fils du royaume et il leur a demandé d’essayer le soulier. Il a promis d’épouser la fille qui était capable de porter le soulier.

Ainsi il a retrouvé Cendrillon.


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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…

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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…