Skip to main content

Parent-child role-plays

Here's a resource I posted on a long time ago. I recall this task working really well with A-level classes. It works as a one-off lesson, or you could shoehorn it into your family topic.

Imaginez les conversations. Une personne joue le rôle du parent, l’autre de l’adolescent(e).

  1. Le parent vient de recevoir un coup de téléphone du directeur de l’école. Celui-ci a dit que l’adolescent a raté quelques cours et qu’il ne fait pas ses devoirs. Il risque de rater le bac.

  1. En rangeant la chambre de sa fille, le parent a trouvé des pilules contraceptives dans le tiroir d’une table de chevet.

  1. L’adolescent explique au parent qu’il est victime de cyber-intimidation. Un autre élève envoie des SMS offensifs et le prend en photo sans permission.

  1. L’adolescent annonce à son parent qu’il ne veut plus aller à l’université.

  1. L’adolescent veut faire un petit job tous les weekends. Le parent n’est pas d’accord.

  1. Le parent sent l’odeur du cannabis dans la chambre de l’adolescent et décide d’aborder le problème avec son enfant.

  1. Le parent rentre en fin de soirée pour trouver que la maison est très en désordre après une fête.

  1. Le parent et l’adolescent discutent si l’enfant devrait étudier les langues ou les sciences à l’université.

  1. L’adolescent a décidé qu’il veut faire le tour du monde avant d’aller à la fac. Le parent n’est pas d’accord.

10. L’adolescent rentre tard dans sa voiture en état d’ivresse. C’est la
         deuxième fois que cela s’est produit.


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…

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…

"Ask and move" task

This is a lesson plan using an idea from our book Breaking the Sound Barrier (Conti and Smith, 2019). It's a task-based lesson adapted from an idea from Paul Nation and Jonathan Newton. It is aimed at Y10-11 pupils aiming at Higher Tier GCSE, but is easily adaptable to other levels and languages, including A-level. This has been posted as a resource on

This type of lesson plan excites me more than many, because if it runs well, you get a classroom of busy communication when you can step back, monitor and occasionally intervene as students get on with listening, speaking and writing.

Have a repertoire, lighten your workload (part one)

The next four blogs I'm going to post are the equivalent of one of those TV clip shows - you know, the ones where they need to fill a weekly slot by showing the best bits, or deleted scenes, from the series. But these four blogs have a theme. The clue is in the title. Like you, I worked hard when I was teaching, but I was pretty good at keeping things in proportion using a combination of economical planning, rapid marking and experience. The extra time those things created even allowed me to stay relaxed and have fun (most of the time) and to come up with the occasional innovative idea.

So, what I'm going to suggest here is that, if you have a little repertoire of go-to classroom activities, you can save yourself a lot of time and stress, and, what's more, all for the benefit of your classes. You see, I think (actually, I know) pupils like routines, but they also appreciate a bit of variety. So if you apply your repertoire of lesson/activity types sensibly you can satisfy b…