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Showing posts from June, 2019

Curriculum planning

Image: Many MFL departments are talking about planning in response to whole school initiatives related to Ofsted's latest emphasis: CURRICULUM. This post is about how a department might respond to such an initiative. It's fairly broad-brush, given the nature of the issue, but not too airy-fairy, I hope. Here is Ofsted's definition of the curriculum: “The curriculum is a framework for setting out the aims of a programme of education, including the knowledge and understanding to be gained at each stage (intent) ; for translating that framework over time into a structure and narrative, within an institutional context (implementation) and for evaluating what knowledge and understanding pupils have gained against expectations (impact/achievement) .” (My highlighting.) So Ofsted wants schools to: • know their curriculum – design and intent; • know how their curriculum is being implemented; • know what impact their curriculum is having on pupils’ k

The GILT Facebook group

GILT stands for Global Innovative Language Teachers. It's the Facebook professional group for language teachers around the world, although in truth it is dominated by teachers working with GCSE, IGCSE and A-level so far. Thanks largely to Gianfranco Conti it stands out from the other excellent Facebook groups such as Secondary MFL Matters and MFL Teachers' Lounge in so far as it is not just about sharing resources and finding answers to problems, but also a place to discuss theoretical and methodological matters. Because Gianfranco set it up and is a regular contributor it has also spread the word among teachers about the lexicogrammar approach to teaching. To put it concisely and perhaps crudely, this research-informed approach is founded on the principle of chunking language within highly comprehensible texts and exercises, using, in particular, sentence builder frames and narrow reading and listening tasks. If used with skill and belief, the approach can produce lessons do

Helping students prepare for language they will hear outside the classroom

This is a short extract from our forthcoming book Breaking the Sound Barrier: Teaching Language Learners How to Listen. Expect to see this on Amazon in early July, or from other retailers some time after.  **************************************************** We all know how often our students struggle to understand authentic speech when they encounter it for the first time. "It's not like the language we hear in class." "They speak so fast!" "The accent is really weird." "They seem to miss words out." As you have gathered, we do not believe in presenting and practising a diet of fast, authentic speech to beginner-to-intermediate students, since this goes against principles of comprehensibility, scaffolding new language, slowing things down to make them easier, moving from easy to harder, avoiding cognitive overload and so on. However, with this approach, it is possible to neglect preparing students for cases where the natural spoken f

GCSE resources on frenchteacher

There was a time when was best known for its A-level resources, but each time I have carried out a subscriber survey, the usage of the Y10-11 pages has risen. In the latest survey it appeared that the GCSE page is accessed roughly as many times as the A-level page. So, in case you don't know my site (which is extraordinarily good value at £25 for over 1750 accurate resources!), here is a summary of what you can find for your Y10-11 pupils. Don't forget that all resources are in Word and therefore editable, e.g. you can add your own school logo or departmental identity as long as the original source is identified and not shared with other institutions. You'll also find that there plenty of resources on the y8-9mpages which might work well with your y10-11 classes, depending on their attainment. 1.  Grammar worksheets These cover the main aspects of grammar you would expect to cover and can be supplemented by the numerous sheets form the Y8-9 pages

Truth or lie oral game

Here’s a fun game for advanced level students. Just some listening and speaking fluency practice. Students work in pairs and ask each other questions from the list below. The student answering must always say they did the activity. Then the questioner can ask any number of follow-up questions to try to establish if their partner actually did the activity or not. The questioner then has to decide if their partner has told the truth. 1.  As-tu jamais  volé  quelque chose? 2.  As-tu jamais fait un sport dangereux ? 3.  Es-tu jamais resté dans un hôtel quatre étoiles ? 4.  As-tu jamais fait du camping en France ? 5.  As-tu jamais rencontré un personnage célèbre ? 6.  As-tu jamais gagné une médaille ou un trophée ? 7.  As-tu jamais mangé des escargots ? 8.  As-tu jamais paru dans un article de journal local ? 9.  As-tu jamais bu un vin très cher ? 10.  As-tu jamais raté un vol d’avion ? 11.  As-tu jamais copié les devoirs de quelqu’un d’autre ? 12.  As-tu jamais

D-Day lesson plan

D-Day landings lesson plan for two one hour lessons Aim: to familiarise pupils with basic information about D-Day and to see and hear from some people involved.   Lesson 1 Intro background. 1944 France occupied, US, British, Canadians and some Free French prepared to retake France from the Germans. Operation Overlord. June 6th 1944. Began at dawn, even though poor weather nearly put it off. Operation involved: bombers, paratroopers, towed gliders, troop ships, warships, landing craft. In advance small groups of soldiers had landed to survey the beaches and cliffs.   Why here? Germans expected a landing in Calais where beaches were flatter, fewer cliffs, closer to Dover. This area less well defended. Show this animation from here: Any questions so far? Then go to the “Voices of D-Day” and open a couple to listen to (requires Java and Flash player)

The Rosenshine principles applied to MFL

Image from Tom Sherrington's blog If you haven't heard of Barak Rosenshine and his Principles of Instruction you can find your introduction here . Rosenshine was a professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois, where his research focused on learning instruction, teacher performance, and student achievement. When you see his principles, you may think they seem obvious, and it's worth noting that they may not be a perfect fit with how languages are acquired in general. But they do fit quite neatly within the PPP paradigm (Presentation - Practice - Production) which is often criticised in the scholarly literature, so if you are comfortable with this way of working the principles will make added sense. Begin a lesson with a short review of previous learning. Present new material in small steps with student practice after each step. Ask a large number of questions and check the responses of all students. Provide models. Guid

Making input comprehensible

Teachers are often urged to use the target language more often in class. There are good, evidence-informed reasons for this, but we all know that that there are times when it doesn't seem right to persist with TL because pupils just don't understand what's being said. The following extract from Chapter 6 of our forthcoming book about teaching listening, Breaking the Sound Barrier, focuses on ways to make input comprehensible. Input comes in various forms. Kumaravadivelu (2005) makes the distinction between three types: ●      interlanguage input: the developing language of the students and their peers, including both accurate and deviant language forms; ●      simplified input: the language used by teachers, textbook writers and other speakers when they are talking to language learners; ●       non-simplified input: the language of competent speakers and the media. In most classrooms it is the first two which are most commonly encountered. Non-simplifie