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New year plans for frenchteacher

In recent months I have focused on adding listening resources to the site. These have been worksheets which link to online videos. I would hope that these would make listening less of a chore since they incorporate a visual element. My main focus has been on advanced level and there is now a good stock of listening resources to complement the huge array of reading, speaking and grammar resources.

This year I would like to increase the number of listening resources at near beginner and intermediate level. Up to now I have done less on this for two reasons. Firstly they are harder to find and secondly popular course books have plenty of audio material already. However, it remains true that video is less common, so there is a demand for listening with video. The recent Peppa Cochon video worksheets are a good example of approachable and stimulating intermediate resources.

A second task for this year will be some spring cleaning of resources which have become outdated. I have been posting texts since 2002 and some have already been removed, but I am aware that others may be getting past their sell-by date. I have already, on a small scale, updated some advanced texts. That said, if a long-standing resource is removed and you still need it, just mail me and I can send it to you individually.

A third development for this year will be the addition of more translation resources at all levels. Although, in principle, I do not favour doing too much translation into the target language since it reduces the time devoted to "comprehensible input" ( I still can't resist putting this in quotation marks!), I know that teachers do enjoy setting translation (both ways) and it is also the case that in England the new national curriculum refers explicitly to translation which means it may feature, in some form, in new GCSE exams to be taught from September 2016.

So there we are. My retirement hobby is doing very well with well over 1200 member schools, teachers and tutors from all around the globe. Thank you to all subscribers and I wish you a happy new year.


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Instead of getting students to transcribe immediately what you say, or what a partner says, you can enforce a 10 second delay so that students have to keep running over in their heads what they have heard. Some teachers have even used the delay time to try to distract students with music.

It’s an added challenge for students but has significant value, I think. It reminds me of a phenomenon in music called audiation. I use it frequently as a singer and I bet you do too.

Audiation is thought to be the foundation of musicianship. It takes place when we hear and comprehend music for which the sound is no longer or may never have been present. You can audiate when listening to music, performing from notation, playing “by ear,” improvising, composing, or notating music. When we have a song going round in our mind we are audiating. When we are deliberately learning a song we are audiating.

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This is how it works:

Display around 15 sentences on the board, preferably ones which show language patterns you have been working on recently or some time ago.Hand out four cards or slips of paper to each student.On each card students must secretly write a sentence from the displayed list.Students then circulate around the class, approaching their classmates and reading a sentence from the displayed list. If the other person has that sentence on one of their cards, they must hand over the card. The other person then does the same, choosing a sentenc…

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To remind you, here is a typical sentence builder, as found on the frenchteacher site. The topic is talking about where you live. A word of warning - formatting blogs in Blogger is a nightmare when you start with Word documents, so apologies for any issues. It might have taken me another 30 minutes just to sort out the html code underlying the original document.

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A major challenge for language teachers just now is selecting and sharing work with students to do at home. Here a few suggestions on the issue to add to your own. The sites I mention are the tip of the iceberg and focus mainly on French. I have stuck to free resources, not subscription sites.

By the way, I'm not getting into the use of tech here, as I have no great expertise on that. In any case, I imagine for younger learners especially it may be a question of setting other types of work.


For advanced learners the job is not so tough. There is a plethora of listening, reading and grammar material they can use, whether it be from their textbooks, other resources shared electronically or online resources. You may have your favourites, but for a selection for French you can check out my links here and here. You may want to stick with topics on the syllabus, or free up students to read and listen more generally to what interests them.

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This type of lesson plan excites me more than many, because if it runs well, you get a classroom of busy communication when you can step back, monitor and occasionally intervene as students get on with listening, speaking and writing.