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Latest additions to frenchteacher

Here are the resources I have added to the site over the last month. As always if you have any requests for specific types of resources just let me know by commenting, messaging on Twitter or by emailing me via my website. I can always say no!

Intermediate level (GCSE)
  • A seven page mini-unit of work on school for Higher Tier GCSE. Various comprehension and translation exercises (adapted from a unit from The Language Teacher Toolkit TES shop). Lots of built-in recycling. based on the "narrow reading" concept (several texts reusing similar language). An answer key is provided. We have several similar units on TES.
  • A numbers lesson plan for intermediates (good Y9 to Y11). Based on the game show The Price is Right (Le Juste prix in France). All you need to add are about 10-12 slides of items for sale, e.g. from (without displaying their price). Aims: revising numbers and listening to them to develop quick recognition. This lesson would take around 40 minutes and provide lots of listening input.
  • Video listening. Another Peppa Pig to add to the collection. In this one dad once again makes a fool of himself (stereotype alert). It's called Les avions en papier. A vocab list is provided for help, then a gap-fill task with options given. Because of the relatively high vocab load here it would suit Higher Tier GCSE.

Advanced level
  • Video listening: racial discrimination in Brussels night clubs. Comprehension questions in French and sentences to translate using the recording. Yes, in the twenty-first century in Western Europe racial discrimination continues to thrive. Needless to say, this material supports the sub-themes of all the exam board A-levels, providing some useful background knowledge for AO4 (knowledge of culture).
  • Written texst on key events of the French Resistance in the Second World War. This is a set of short extracts followed by a choice of exercises which can be done orally or in writing. This is another good source of knowledge for the A-level exam (Edexcel and Eduqas/WJEC). 
  • Audio listening. This is an interview with a spokesperson for the Fondation Abbé-Pierre in which he answers questions from children about homelessness and poor housing in France and the role of the Fondation Abbé-Pierre. From the 1jour1actu online magazine. I have included various exercises including summary, translation and gap-fill. This could be used in the context of volunteering, poverty and homelessness.
  • Video listening. This is linked to a video in the 1jour1question series and is about why General de Gaulle is considered a hero of the French Republic. There is a gap-fill with transcription provided. The standard is quite easy. This fits well with Edexcel and Eduqas sub-themes. There are now five resources on this general topic area on the site, two readings and two listenings. 
  • Text and exercises about the occupation of France. Text, vocabulary to complete, gap-fill, sentence completion, creative oral work, translation both ways. Partial answers provided.


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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…

Dissecting a lesson: using a set of PowerPoint slides

I was prompted to write this just having produced for three separate PowerPoint presentations using the same set of 20 pictures (sports). A very good way for you to save time is to reuse the same resource in a number of different ways.

I chose 20 clear, simple, clear and copyright-free images from to produce three presentations on present tense (beginners), near future (post beginner) and perfect tense (post-beginner/low intermediate). Here is one of them:

Below is how I would have taught using this presentation - it won't be everyone's cup of tea, especially of you are not big on choral repetition and PPP (Presentation-Practice-Production), but I'll justify my choice in the plan at each stage. For some readers this will be standard practice.

1. Explain in English that you are going to teach the class how to talk about and understand people talking about sport. By the end of the lesson they will be able to say and understand 20 different sport…

Designing a plan to improve listening skills

Read many books and articles about listening and you’ll see it described as the forgotten skill. It certainly seems to be the one which causes anxiety for both teachers and students. The reasons are clear: you only get a very few chances to hear the material, exercises feel like tests and listening is, well, hard. Just think of the complex processes involved: segmenting the sound stream, knowing lots of words and phrases, using grammatical knowledge to make meaning, coping with a new sound system and more. Add to this the fact that in England they have recently decided to make listening tests harder (too hard) and many teachers are wondering what else they can do to help their classes.

For students to become good listeners takes lots of time and practice, so there are no quick fixes. However, I’m going to suggest, very concisely, what principles could be the basis of an overall plan of action. These could be the basis of a useful departmental discussion or day-to-day chats about meth…

Delayed dictation

What is “delayed dictation”?

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.

In our language teaching case, though, the earworm is a word, chunk of l…

GCSE and IGCSE revision links 2018

It's coming up to that time of year again. In England and Wales. Here is a handy list of some good interactive revision links for this level. These links are also good for intermediate exams in Scotland, Ireland and other English-speaking countries. You could copy and paste this to print off for students.

Don't forget the GCSE revision material on of course! How could you?

As far as apps for students are concerned, I would suggest the Cramit one, Memrise and Learn French which is pretty good for vocabulary. For Android devices try the Learn French Vocabulary Free. For listening, you could suggest Coffee Break French from Radio Lingua Network (iTunes podcasts).

Listening (Foundation/Higher) (Foundation/Higher) (Foundation/Higher)