Skip to main content

Frenchteacher survey results

Every few months I carry our a Surveymonkey survey of my subscribers to check on which parts of the site are being used most and to get feedback, including ideas for improving the site. Thank you to the 98 respondents (out of around 1450 subscribers). Here are the the questions and the responses:

1.  Which sections of the site do you use most; A-level, GCSE or KS3?

Just over 53% said A-level, 37% said GCSE and 9% said KS3. Compared with previous surveys I see that rather more subscribers seem to be using the GCSE and KS3 sections. This may be because I have made a conscious attempt for the site not to be seen as for A-level only. Although I keep adding new A-level resources, I have made a particular attempt to beef up the KS3 section with PowerPoints and other resources.

2. Do you make regular or occasional use of the KS3 PowerPoints?

35% said yes. I'm pleased that these newer additions are being used. I have written a lot of largely vocab-based presentations, including Kim's Game PowerPoints. I think it's easy to overuse PowerPoints, but exploited cleverly they allow for lots of recycling of language in an interactive way, often beyond the isolated word level too. I always recommend for pictures. For me they are great because they are free to use even commercially.

3.  Have you ever used the "instant listening tasks" in the Y10-11 section?

39% said yes. I wrote these to try to cater for teachers who are seeking more easy to implement listening activities, both at Higher and Foundation Tier. Do check them out if you've missed them up to now. The can be read aloud or recorded if you prefer.

4.  Do you make use of the video listening tasks at GCSE?

55% said yes. From previous feedback I know these are popular, particularly the cartoon videos such as Peppa Pig and Petit Ours Brun. I recently blogged about the advantages of using these as a source of enjoyable authentic input. In response to one respondent I have been through all the sheets and updated some of the links which had gone dead or been moved. Do let me know of any more if they occur.

5.  Do you make use of the grammar drill exercises from Y7 to Y11?

79% said yes. It looks like old-school audio-lingual and other grammar drills remain popular. I haven't added to these in a while. Let me know if you would like more for particular areas.

6.  Do you make use of the resources written specifically for A-level exam preparation?

68% said yes. These resources include vocab booklets, speaking booklets, stimulus cards, translations and summaries. One respondent asked if I could do more on literature and film, but I am afraid I cannot devote the large amount of time to a specific work which would only benefit a small number of subscribers. Another asked for something on Les Choristes. I could do no better than the excellent resources written by Steve Glover on his dolanguages site anyway.

7.  Do you ever adapt or edit resources you download?

75% said yes. This is fine and written into the terms and conditions of the site. I am quite happy with this as long as they are nor shared with other schools or resold elsewhere! This alas happens to some resource writers. I occasionally see my own resources appear online in another guise. I would just like a credit if they are occasionally shared free by accident.

8.  Are you a primary teacher?

2% (2 people) said yes. My Y7 page is actually labelled Year7/Primary as I know many of the resources would work with Y5 or 6. I have never seriously tried to market my site to primary schools, given the array of other free resources out there, e.g. Clare Seccombe's resources at Light Bulb Languages. Given the low cost of my site I do think more primary practitioners would get good use out of the resources, even though I am not a primary specialist.

9.  Do you teach outside England and Wales?

16% said yes. I am aware that I have subscribers all over the world, including in international schools following a British curriculum. One Irish respondent reminded me that there is nothing specifically aimed at the Leaving Certificate. While I presume many of the A-level resources would be useful, I shall look at that issue and see what I can do.

10.  Do you have any other feedback or ideas?

One respondent requested materials specifically for pre-U. I shall look at this.
One asked for WJEC film and literature resources. As I mentioned above, I won't be doing anything on this. I assume the Eduqas resources written by Steve Glover would fit the bill in that case.
One Scottish respondent asked if I could label the site more clearly since terms like KS3 and GCSE are not used in Scotland. I'll look at this again, though I do use the terms Beginner and Intermediate as well.
  • One teacher asked for more lower ability resources for GCSE. This has been mentioned before. When I set up the site i uploaded worksheets aimed at my grammar school pupils. I have tried to add more easier material (e.g. the easy listenings) , but I agree that there could be more. Watch this space.
  • One teacher requested role-play scripts for KS3. I have moved a whole bunch of these across from my Adults page in case they have been missed.
  • One teacher requested more translations at all levels. I shall (begrudgingly!) continue to add more guided translations. Some of you know I'm not a huge fan of translation, but I know most teachers like them.
  • One teacher asked for more morphology exercises on the A-level page. Noted.
  • One asked for more dates of articles so that students could be sure data was accurate. (Apart form the year I deliberately keep things a little vague to ensure some shelf life for the resources. As far as I know, though, all the information is accurate and newer resources have focused more on cultural information (AO4 in A-level-speak). 
  • One person asked for something on a media topic for Y8 (near beginner). Noted.
  • One teacher asked for more war/occupation/resistance materials. I have already added one new resource on this, but will look for more.
  • Two people commented on the sheer size of the site and the time it takes to locate resources. I am aware of this, although to be fair most people have previously reported that navigating the site is fine. I will soon need to do some more weeding. In addition, I deliberately do not label materials by exam board, since there is a good deal of overlap and different wording of topics depending on the board. I won't be changing this approach. Whetehr you use AQA, Edexcel or Eduqas/WJEC you should be able to find what you need easily enough. I tested the search box and it does work (ne person said it didn't).
  • Lastly, one person requested some more literary extracts for KS3. That's a tough one for copyright reasons and the fact they are nearly all too hard for KS3 (and mostly GCSE too for that matter). the ones the exam board use are old and hugely adapted. I always thought it was a daft idea to force these into the exam. I bet the exam boards feel the same way.

Finally.... thank you for the many appreciative comments you left me. These help me maintain my enthusiasm for the site, as does the fact that many teachers come back year-on-year to subscribe. I do make some additions to the site based on feedback. Merci infiniment.


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…

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…

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…

Five great advanced level French listening sites

If your A-level students would like opportunities to practise listening there are plenty of sources you can recommend for accessible, largely comprehensible and interesting material. Here are some I have come across while searching for resources over recent years.

Daily Geek Show

I love this site. It's fresh, youthful and full of really interesting material. They have an archive of videos, both short and long, from various sources, grouped under a range of themes: insolite (weird news items), science, discovery, technology, ecology and lifestyle. There should be something there to interest all your students while adding to their broader education. Here is one I enjoyed (I shall seriously think about buying tomatoes in winter now):

France Bienvenue

This site has been around for years and is the work of a university team in Marseilles. You get a mixture of audio and video material complete with transcripts and explanations.This is much more about the personal lives of the students …

Responsive teaching

Dylan Wiliam, the academic most associated with Assessment for Learning (AfL), aka formative assessment, has stated that these labels have not been the most helpful to teachers. He believes that they have been partly responsible for poor implementation of AfL and the fact that AfL has not led to the improved outcomes originally intended.

Wiliam wrote on Twitter in 2013:

“Example of really big mistake: calling formative assessment formative assessment rather than something like "responsive teaching".”

For the record he subsequently added:

“The point I was making—years ago now—is that it would have been much easier if we had called formative assessment "responsive teaching". However, I now realize that this wouldn't have helped since it would have given many people the idea that it was all about the teacher's role.”

I suspect he’s right about the appellation and its consequences. As a teacher I found it hard to get my head around the terms AfL and formative assess…