Skip to main content

Plans for frenchteacher 2015

Happy New Year to readers and frenchteacher subscribers. Thank you for using my resources and for the kind comments some of you send me.

I expect 2015 to be another busy year of writing new materials for frenchteacher.net. Having developed a number of areas over the last year, notably primary/Y7 parallel reading comprehensions, video listening and adult student resources, what will 2015 have in store?

I am bound to be influenced by changes to British GCSE and A-level exams, which may involve my producing (reluctantly) more translation resources and reading resources with a more story-telling emphasis. I like my resources to be based on what I consider to be sound methodology, but I also have to bear in mind what my subscribers may need to help prepare pupils for public examinations.

As I shall be doing some work for AQA on the new A-level specifications, my frenchteacher work may reflect what I learn from that process. As I have written before, there is no certainty that the new A-level French will be taught from September 2016, so I cannot yet take a steer from this as far as the website is concerned. Things will be clearer after the general election.

I would still like to add more video listening resources, especially for younger learners. The latter are hard to source online, however, so I would not expect to be able to create that many.

I would like to develop further my handbook for language teachers, in particular with a section on target language teaching which I shall put together to accompany a webinar I am doing for the ALL (Association for Language Learning) on January 25th at 3.00 pm (UK time).

I would also like to produce some more model lesson plans to help young teachers develop their practice.

Expect to see plenty more reading comprehension at all levels, including parallel reading for near beginners.

I shall also be increasing the number of A-level translations and grammar manipulation worksheets with model answers.

In addition I shall be making sure all my reading comprehensions are up to date. This may involve deleting the occasional resource.

I have no plans to change the price of a subscription. To start with, I want the resources to be as widely used as possible; secondly, I am aware many teachers and schools are repeat subscribers so £20 a year builds up for them and me! I believe that the resources are good, based on a sound methodology for many students. I believe they contribute to good French teaching practice.

The large majority of my subscribers work in the UK, but I would like to attract more customers from North America and "down under" so I would welcome any ideas on topics and exercise/assessment styles which might appeal to Canadian, American, Aussie and New Zealand teachers. Contact me if there is material you would like me to work on.

Finally, I shall try to keep my links pages up to date. Do let me know about any really good online resources. I am happy to review new materials as well.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The latest research on teaching vocabulary

I've been dipping into The Routledge Handbook of Instructed Second Language Acquisition (2017) edited by Loewen and Sato. This blog is a succinct summary of Chapter 16 by Beatriz González-Fernández and Norbert Schmitt on the topic of teaching vocabulary. I hope you find it useful.

1.  Background

The authors begin by outlining the clear importance of vocabulary knowledge in language acquisition, stating that it's a key predictor of overall language proficiency (e.g. Alderson, 2007). Students often say that their lack of vocabulary is the main reason for their difficulty understanding and using the language (e.g. Nation, 2012). Historically vocabulary has been neglected when compared to grammar, notably in the grammar-translation and audio-lingual traditions as well as  communicative language teaching.

(My note: this is also true, to an extent, of the oral-situational approach which I was trained in where most vocabulary is learned incidentally as part of question-answer sequence…

A zero preparation fluency game

I am grateful to Kayleigh Meyrick, a teacher in Sheffield, for this game which she described in the Languages Today magazine (January, 2018). She called it “Swap It/Add It” and it’s dead simple! I’ve added my own little twist as well as a justification for the activity.

You could use this at almost any level, even advanced level where the language could get a good deal more sophisticated.

Put students into small groups or pairs. If in groups you can have them stand in circles to add a sense of occasion. One student utters a sentence, e.g. “J’aime jouer au foot avec mes copains parce que c’est amusant.” (You could provide the starter sentence or let groups make up their own.) The next student (or partner) has to change one element in the sentence, and so on, until you restart with a different sentence. You could give a time limit of, say, 2 minutes. The sentence could easily relate to the topic you are working on. At advanced level a suitable sentence starter might be:

“Selon un article q…

Google Translate beaters

Google Translate is a really useful tool, but some teachers say that they have stopped setting written work to be done at home because students are cheating by using it. On a number of occasions I have seen teachers asking what tasks can be set which make the use of Google Translate hard or impossible. Having given this some thought I have come up with one possible Google Translate-beating task type. It's a two way gapped translation exercise where students have to complete gaps in two parallel texts, one in French, one in English. There are no complete sentences which can be copied and pasted into Google.

This is what one looks like. Remember to hand out both texts at the same time.


English 

_____. My name is David. _ __ 15 years old and I live in Ripon, a _____ ____ in the north of _______, near York. I have two _______ and one brother. My brother __ ______ David and my _______ are called Erika and Claire. We live in a _____ house in the centre of ____. In ___ house _____ …

Preparing for GCSE speaking: building a repertoire

As your Y11 classes start their final year of GCSE, one potential danger of moving from Controlled Assessment to terminal assessment of speaking is to believe that in this new regime there will be little place for the rote learning or memorisation of language. While it is true that the amount of learning by heart is likely to go down and that greater use of unrehearsed (spontaneous) should be encouraged, there are undoubtedly some good techniques to help your pupils perform well on the day.

I clearly recall, when I marked speaking tests for AQA 15-20 years ago, that schools whose candidates performed the best were often those who had prepared their students with ready-made short paragraphs of language. Candidates who didn't sound particularly like "natural linguists" (e.g. displaying poor accents) nevertheless got high marks. As far as an examiner is concerned is doesn't matter if every single candidate says that last weekend they went to the cinema, saw a James Bond…

Worried about the new GCSEs?

Twitter and MFL Facebook groups are replete with posts expressing concerns about the new GCSEs and, in particular, the difficulty of the exam, grades and tiers. I can only comment from a distance since I am no longer in the classroom, but I have been through a number of sea changes in assessment over the years so may have something useful to say.

Firstly, as far as general difficulty of papers is concerned, I think it’s fair to say that the new assessment is harder (not necessarily in terms of grades though). This is particularly evident in the writing tasks and speaking test. Although it will still be possible to work in some memorised material in these parts of the exam, there is no doubt that weaker candidates will have more problems coping with the greater requirement for unrehearsed language. Past experience working with average to very able students tells me some, even those with reasonable attainment, will flounder on the written questions in the heat of the moment. Others will…