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Here is a nice little filler game for advanced students. It comes from BBC Radio 4's long-running panel show I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue. They sometimes naughtily call it Swankers. Maybe "boasters" would be clearer to students. In French? 

Students work in small groups or pairs. One person boasts about something they have done recently. The next person, or partner, then engages in one-upmanship, and so it goes on around the group or between partners. It might go something like this:

Je suis allé en Australie en vacances l'année dernière.
Ah bon? Moi, je vais en Australie tous les ans.
Moi, je ne vais plus en Australie. J'en ai marre. Nous allons faire un voyage en Antarctique l'année prochaine.
Moi, je suis déjà allé au pôle sud; je vais faire un voyage dans l'espace. Nous allons à la Lune l'été prochain.
La lune? Nous, on va aller à Mars.
Mars? C'était beau quand on y est allés, mais on aime mieux Jupiter.
Toit ça, c'est bien, mais nous, on préfère voyager dans le temps dans notre Tardis.


It would probably best to give an example first before providing some starter statements to get things going. How about:

Mes parents m'ont acheté un iPad pour Noël.
On m'a demandé d'être figurant dans un petit film local.
Quand j'étais petit on avait si peu d'argent qu'on ne sortait jamais au restaurant (merci Monty Python)
Pendant mes vacances de ski je me suis cassé la cheville après une chute.
Je suis très content. J'ai fait les 100m en 11 secondes.
J'ai appris qu'on va faire construire un nouveau cinéma en ville.
Notre chien est très intelligent. Il aboie quand je lui demande de le faire.
Génial! Je vais dîner au nouveau restaurant de Jamie Oliver.


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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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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…