Skip to main content

My latest subscriber survey results

Thank you to the 67 frenchteacher subscribers who responded to me latest survey. Here is a summary of what I found out.

Nearly 30% said they used the instant listening tasks on the Y0-11 page.

45% said they made use of the PowerPoints on the KS3 pages. these are a relatively recent addition so I'm pleased to see they are being used. I have made good use of as a source of copyright-free images.

Nearly 60% are using the new sentence builder frames. These are quite widely used, it seems, and made popular by Gianfranco Conti on his blog and in his workshops. I am quite a convert to them.

55% use the Y7 parallel texts, which have been on the site for a long time.

46% said they used the video listening worksheets on the y10-11 page, e.g. Peppa Pig.

45% said they use the grammar handouts - these are notes, not worksheets. It's clear that teachers are still hooked on grammar.

The pages used most often are the A-level and GCSE pages (about 70% each). this represents a gradual change over the years, with the Y10-11 page becoming gradually more popular and rivalling the A-level page for usage. I was hoping this would be the case (partly for commercial reasons, as there are far more pupils doing GCSE than A-level).

10% of respondents use the situational dialogues on the Y8 page.

Finally, as regards the type of resource which teachers use most, based on this sample - in order of popularity:

1.  Texts with exercises (a long term staple of the site.
2.  Grammar worksheets.
3.  Translation exercises.
4.  Grammar drills.
5.  Video listening worksheets.

Teachers gave one or two suggestions for improvement: one user commented that many of the resources are too hard. I have tried to address this over the years with more Foundation GCSE and easier grammar resources, easy listening tasks, notably the sentence builder frames. I always keep this issue in mind.

One respondent asked for more songs and videos. I have tended to steer clear of song lyrics for copyright reasons, but I'll see what I can do on this. I am always on the look-out for good video material to link too. I cannot host my own, however.

In general, I note how "traditional" teachers seem to be in their liking for grammar and translation material. They may be a bit more trad than me!

Apart from that, many teachers left kind and complementary comments. Thank you. It all motivates me to keep updating and improving the site. More feedback is always welcome.


Popular posts from this blog

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…

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…

Sentence Stealers with a twist

Sentence Stealers is a reading aloud game invented by Gianfranco Conti. I'll describe the game to you, then suggest an extension of it which goes a bit further than reading aloud. By the way, I shouldn't need to justify the usefulness of reading aloud, but just in case, we are talking here about matching sounds to spellings, practising listening, pronunciation and intonation and repeating/recycling high frequency language patterns.

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…

The age factor in language learning

This post draws on a section from Chapter 5 of Jack C. Richards' splendid handbook Key Issues in Language Teaching (2015). I'm going to summarise what Richards writes about how age factors affect language learning, then add my own comments about how this might influence classroom teaching.

It's often said that children seem to learn languages so much more quickly and effectively than adults. Yet adults do have some advantages of their own, as we'll see.

In the 1970s it was theorised that children's success was down to the notion that there is a critical period for language learning (pre-puberty). Once learners pass this period changes in the brain make it harder to learn new languages. Many took this critical period hypothesis to mean that we should get children to start learning other languages at an earlier stage. (The claim is still picked up today by decision-makers arguing for the teaching of languages in primary schools.)

Unfortunately, large amounts of rese…

Dissecting a lesson: teaching an intermediate written text

This post is a beginner’s guide about how you might go about working with a written text with low-intermediate or intermediate students (Y10-11 in England). I must emphasise that this is not what you SHOULD do, just one approach based on my own experience and keeping in mind what we know about learning and language learning in particular. Experienced teachers may find it interesting to compare this sequence with what you do yourself.

You can adapt the sequence below to the class, context and your own preferred style. I’m going to assume that the text is chosen for relevance, interest and comprehensibility. The research suggests that the best texts are at the very least 90% understandable, i.e. you would need to gloss no more than 10% of the words or phrases. The text could be authentic, or more likely adapted authentic from a text book, or teacher written. It would likely be fairly short so you have time to exploit it intensively, recycling as much useful language as possible.

So here w…