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Showing posts from August, 2020

The Motivated Classroom podcast

Liam Printer’s podcast The Motivated Classroom has been going for a few weeks now and is well worth a listen. Liam teaches in Switzerland and has a real knack for sharing research findings and lesson ideas in a clear, fluent and engaging fashion. As I write this, he has recorded six episodes which can be listened to on various platforms. Here’s a link: Liam’s website is here: Each podcast is easily digestible, lasting around 25 minutes, just right for a journey to or from work. The thread running through the programmes, as the title suggests, is motivation, so his starting point is a self-determination theory of motivation based on the notions of competence, relatedness and autonomy. Liam favours a comprehension/communicative-based (“CI”) approach to teaching (in contrast to a very traditional grammar and vocabulary based, structural approach) and believes that approach is more likely to foster positive motivation and

Listen and translate. La Corrida by Francis Cabrel

This is a third post featuring songs I like and this one is a real favourite which I enjoyed using with A-level classes. If you don’t already know it, La Corrida is Francis Cabrel’s powerful song about the evil of bullfighting - the corrida. He brings a Spanish flavour, and even a little Spanish language, into the song. The music itself is dramatic in its ebbs and flows and, as usual, Cabrel’s voice and delivery make him a good source of language input. So here is a translation into English which students would have to retranslate into the original French. It’s therefore a listen and transcribe task. Quite a challenge for a good class, and a possible alternative to gap-fill. On a technical/pedagogical note, I often mention the importance of comprehensible input. When you provide a translation like this, the language is instantly understandable. Since I’ve been waiting In this dark chamber I hear fun and singing Down the hall  Someone opened the lock And I burst into the daylight I saw

Zaz - Je veux

A lot of teachers seemed to like my last post, so here is another song by Zaz. Students listen and translate the lyrics. Best done in class, of course, otherwise the temptation to cheat may be too strong. These are extremely quick to prepare with the help of Google Translate or Deepl. Give me a suite at the Ritz, I don't want one! Jewelry from Chanel, I don't want any! Give me a limo, what will I do, papalapapapala Offer me staff, what would I do with them? A mansion in Neufchâtel is not for me Give me the Eiffel Tower, what will I do with it, papalapapapala I want love, joy, to feel happy It's not your money that will make me happy I want to put my hand on my heart, papalapapapala Let's go together, discover my freedom So forget all your c,ichés, welcome to my reality I'm sick of your good manners, it's too much for me! I eat with my hands and I'm like that! I speak loudly and I say what I think. Sorry! No more hypocrisy, I'm out of here I'm sick of

Zaz - Si jamais j'oublie

My wife and I often listen to Radio Paradise, a listener-supported, ad-free radio station from California. They've been playing this song by Zaz recently. I like it and maybe your students would too. I shouldn't really  reproduce the lyrics here for copyright reasons, but I am going to translate them (with the help of another video). You could copy and paste this translation and set it for classwork (not homework, I suggest, since students could just go and find the lyrics online). The song was released in 2015 and gotr to number 11 in the French charts - only number 11! Here we go: Remind me of the day and the year Remind me of the weather And if I've forgotten, you can shake me And if I want to take myself away Lock me up and throw away the key With pricks of memory Tell me what my name is If I ever forget the nights I spent, the guitars, the cries Remind me who I am, why I am alive If I ever forget, if I ever take to my heels If one day I run away Remind me who I am, wha

Running a room

The little phrase "running a room" is one I picked up from behaviour consultant Tom Bennett a few years ago. I notice he uses it as the title of his forthcoming book on behaviour. I'm sure that book will be worth reading. When I wrote Becoming an Outstanding Languages Teacher in 2017, I chose to begin the book with a chapter called Running a room. This is part of that chapter and may be a useful read, particularly for trainee (pre-service) language teachers. Starts and ends of lessons Jane is an outstanding teacher. Before the lesson begins her students are lining up outside the classroom. They’re quiet or talking calmly. She stands by the doorway as they enter in single file. She says bonjour to each student. Because her school has a clear uniform code, she sometimes has the odd word with them about their appearance, maybe a little ça va? , a bit of personal chit-chat in English here and there: “What lesson have you had?   How was it?” “How did that piano exam