Skip to main content

The survey results are in

Every few months I carry out a subscriber survey using Survey Monkey. This is to help me know which resources are being used, receive feedback and suggestions on how to improve the site. This time 77 subscribers responded over the four weeks the survey was live. That's roughly 5% of members.

There were ten quick questions. This is what I learned this time:

Have you used any of the Y10-11 instant listening tasks (not video listening)?

40% said yes.

Have you used Y7-9 PowerPoints?

43% said yes.

Have you used any sentence builder tasks?

70% said yes. This reflects the current enthusiasm for sentence builder tables (aka substitution tables). Some teachers are putting the Y10-11 examples together as a GCSE revision booklet.

Have you used any Y7 parallel reading resources?

57% said yes. I am aware that some teachers put these texts together and make a booklet of them for pupils.

Have you used Y10-11 video listening, e.g. Peppa Pig?

53% said yes.

Have you used the grammar explanation handouts (not worksheets)?

67% said yes.

Which sections do you often use? (More than one answer possible.)

As usual, the most used pages, in order of use, are: A-level, GCSE, Y9, Y8, Y7/Primary. 75% included A-level as an option, 62% the Y10-11 page.

Have you used the situational dialogues in the Y8 section?

19% said yes.

Which worksheet types do you make most regular use of? Choose up to 3.

The most popular resources of the options I gave were:

Written texts with exercises (78%)
Translation tasks (58%)
Grammar worksheets (49%)
Video listening tasks (40%)

Finally, I asked for specific feedback and suggestions. Here is a selection. (I keep all of these in mind and respond as far as I feel able to - e.g. I have already more adult learners resources.)

"Your website is precious to me as a teacher - you can rely on the quality of the exercises so it is a real time saver. I have used it for years and it represents amazingly good value for money. The wealth of authentic texts covering all of the exam topics is not matched by any other site. Thank you for all of your hard work!"
"I love the sentence builders and use them all of the time. I find some of the activities for Y7/primary too advanced." 
"I would like to use the crosswords, but they are rather small." (I know the crosswords are popular, but I had not had this feedback before.) 
"I would welcome more resources for adult learners, situational dialogues for tourists and reading exercises on topics of cultural interest for adults . Thank you Steve for an excellent site which is always my “go to “ when planning." (See above.)

"Well worth subscribing, your work is much appreciated!"

"The resources on the site are fantastic. Only criticism would be that the search feature doesn’t really work very well. I still have to look through everything to find what I need." (Yes, it's a standard Google-based search button which can be hit and miss.)

"Just wish that the answers were supplied with ALL worksheets (I know they are with some). It would save me even more valuable time. Thank you for a fabulous service though- love it!!!!" (Yes, older worksheets don't always come with answers. Sorry!)

"I work with the NZ curriculum now and still find your resources great. Use less translations than I did in the U.K. but dip I to it all from time to time. I love your listening resources. Merci."
"Fantastic resources. You can use them, recycle them and inspire yourself from them. There is nothing as good for other languages."
"I love Could we please have some more resources on Un sac de billes?" (Sorry, but the huge time that would take for a very few users make it not worthwhile from my point of view. I'd look at by Stephen Glover.)
"Fab site - probably some of the KS3 stuff is a bit too hard for a mixed ability comp. Great quality resources though." (Yes, when I first set up the site it was for the resources I used at my selective school. Over recent years I have been attempting to provide a greater, more accessible range.I should do more!

Thank you to those who responded. I am delighted that the site is thriving with around 1400 schools. individual teachers or tutors who subscribe, often year after year. I shall continue to keep the site refreshed with new resources and I welcome ideas for any new types of resource.



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…

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…

Using sentence builder frames for GCSE speaking and writing preparation

Some teachers have cottoned on to the fact that sentence builders (aka substitution tables) are a very useful tool for helping students prepare for their GCSE speaking and writing tests. My own hunch is that would help for students of all levels of proficiency, but may be particularly helpful for those likely to get lower grades, say between 3-6. Much depends, of course, on how complex you make the table.

To remind you, here is a typical sentence builder, as found on the frenchteacher site. The topic is talking about where you live. A word of warning - formatting blogs in Blogger is a nightmare when you start with Word documents, so apologies for any issues. It might have taken me another 30 minutes just to sort out the html code underlying the original document.

"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.