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Showing posts from December, 2018

Plans for 2019

I consider myself very fortunate in my semi-retirement. In particular I get to spend lots of time with my wife travelling around the world. 2018 saw us in our French house in Charente Maritime for about 10 weeks, Ireland, the Netherlands, Canada, Florida and Mauritius. Our train trip across Canada from Toronto to Vancouver was a highlight. This year we have trips to Guadeloupe, Florida, Costa Rica, France and (maybe) Japan lined up.

In between our travels and my other pastimes, I still enjoy contributing to the world of modern language teaching. Last year I was pleased to present at MFL Alive in Ireland, take part in a podcast with American linguist Stacey Margarita, present a webinar for the Chartered College of Teaching, while presenting for AQA on A-level French and running three days for the trainee teachers at the University of Buckingham. My book Becoming an Outstanding Languages Teacher (2017) has sold well, receiving excellent reviews, while The Language Teacher Toolkit (2016…

“Disappearing Text”

Thanks to Gianfranco Conti for reminding me of an activity I used to use a lot with beginner and intermediate classes.

Let’s assume you’ve been working with a written text on the board. You’ve worked through a repertoire of interactions with the class - choral repetition, individual repetition, true/false, correcting false statements and traditional question-answer. You then want to fill around 5-10 minutes with more useful practice and input.

Just tell the class to close their eyes, remove a few words or phrases from that same text, then ask them to reread aloud the text to include the missing words. Then tell them to close their eyes again and repeat the process, removing more words each time. Keep going until all or nearly all of the text has disappeared.

Students enjoy short term memory activities like this. They get to hear and read language repeatedly, hold it in working memory and create more opportunity for that language to go into long term memory. In addition, the task is great…