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Showing posts from 2020

End of year round-up

What a year it's been! It's hard to process the amount of suffering people have endured and are still enduring. Not a day goes by without my feeling some anger at how the government has failed to deal effectively with the pandemic, the spin and lying. Not to forget, of course, the hijacking of the nation by right-wing ideologues who have dragged us into this mindless Brexit - Boris Johnson in one breath saying it would be mad to leave the single market, in the next claiming we now have the best of both worlds. And then the worst Education Secretary in memory sowing confusion all over the place. Utter madness! Okay... move on, Steve. Forced confinement, which limited our travel opportunities following an amazing holiday in St Lucia and Martinique in January/February, meant I was able to devote relatively more time to three significant projects. The first was the set of 27 screencasts about language teaching which I put together during the first lockdown for a YouTube channel. My

My five most viewed blog posts of 2020

This year has been a relatively quiet one for me on the blog. I devoted my time to other activities, such as making screencasts for my YouTube channel, researching and writing a book on memory (coming very soon) and, as always, producing new resources for frenchteacher. That said, I still wrote around five posts a month, instead of my usual dozen or so. Here are the five which were read the most, starting with the most viewed. 1. Using sentence builder frames for GCSE speaking and writing preparation In this post I gave an example of a French sentence builder (substitution table) and explained how it could be the basis for students to revise for speaking and writing tests. The use of sentence builders has taken off in the last year or two, as the ideas of Gianfranco Conti have been spread in his professional development sessions (live and via webinar), blogs and books (with help from me). Whether

Book review: Teaching and Researching Reading (Grabe and Stoller, 2019)

    The book reviewed here is the third edition of a book first written in 2002.  The writers are based at Northern Arizona University and for some years they have been considered leading scholars in the field of teaching second language reading. The book is divided into three major parts. The first looks at the nature of L1 and L2 reading, the second gets into implications for teaching, while the third part examines the idea of action research on the part of teachers.  I would say that the first part of the book is the strongest. The writers lay out in a clear and detailed manner the importance of reading and the processes involved in reading, in particular aspects such as the priority of reading a lot of easily understood texts, the vital role of vocabulary and grammar knowledge and the relationship between L1 knowledge and L2 reading ability. The traditional distinction between low-level processes (bottom-up) and high level processes (top down) is explained, along with the view that

Share Ami

  Share Ami is a super project aimed at linking learners of French (minimum level B1 - very good A-level) with elderly people in France via video link. The video above, which shows the project in action, is linked to a worksheet I made for, which I have reproduced here. The video and worksheet would be suitable for Y12 (intermediate/low advanced) and could even work with a very good GCSE class.   Share Ami   3m 17 Après avoir visionné la vidéo, quels sont les objectifs de ce projet, d’après vous ? Présentez Andrée et Saif Quelle comparaison Andrée fait-elle entre l’enseignement et les ponts et chaussées ( civil engineering – building roads, bridges etc )  ? Comment dit-on ? guess my age - __________________                       it’s the same - ___________ something written - __________________                 to cancel - ________ that means nothing to me - __________________________ thesis, dissertation - ________ / __________            water divin

Correcting a faulty transcript

This is an example of a listening resource on The source text is from Audio Lingua. If you don't know Audio Lingua already, it's a bank of short listening extracts, usually no more than 3 minutes in length, recorded by native speakers. In the French section there are currently (December 2020) around 850 recordings available, some better than others. This one is a "correct the faulty transcript" task. I like these since they demand careful listening and some engagement with vocabulary. A correct version is provided. Aurore raconte ses vacances en Corse 1m 22   Ecoutez et corrigez la transcription. Soulignez les mots incorrects et marquez les bons mots. Listen and correct the transcript.      Underline the incorrect words and mark in the right ones.   Bonjour! Alors moi, c’est Aurore. Donc je suis française, professeure de français en France et j’ai voulu vous parler de mes