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Showing posts from November, 2021

A zero prep game: ‘“I have never…”

This is a simple ‘true-false’ game which I’ve adapted from Jackie Bolen’s ESL book called 39 Speaking Activities. (The book contains mainly well known communicative games, often suitable for intermediate level and above.)  The aim is to get students to practise hearing, seeing and using ‘never’ with past tense verbs. So in French you would be repeatedly hearing and using patterns like “Je n’ai jamais visité la France” or “Je n’ai jamais joué au golf”.   Model and write up some examples of your own. Translate if necessary. Explain what is happening structurally you think this is useful (or do it later). Students must guess (e.g. show on mini-whiteboards or by a show of hands) whether what you say is true or false. Choose examples from your own life to add interest, e.g. “Je n’ai jamais mangé de la viande.” (‘I have never eaten meat’.) If you can think of surprising ones, so much the better. Absurd ones are good too: “ Je n’ai jamais visité l’Antarctique.” ( ‘I have never visited the Ant

GCSE exam prep resources on frenchteacher

For your information and to unashamedly promote my website, below are the resources on the Y10-11 page which aim to help specifically with GCSE exam preparation. They are divided into two groups, the first Foundation Tier, the second Higher Tier. The most recent additions are two sets of sentence builder frames which students could use to revise for the speaking and writing components of papers. There is a bias towards AQA-style questions since AQA is by far the most popular board in England, though in reality the differences between the various awarding bodies are not great, so teachers using WJEC or Pearson/Edexcel will find the resources very useful. "Why reinvent the wheel?" so the old saying goes. I know hundreds of schools and teachers make use of these materials.  To continue my pitch, these are just a few of the 1900-ish resources on the site. My surveys of members regularly show that the A-level and Y10-11 pages of the site are the most used. They are also the riches

Who's coming to dinner?

I am grateful to Florencia Henshaw for reminding me in a recent webinar she took part in with Joe Dale of this communicative task, which is a variation on the classic balloon debate. You might be able to come up with other variations or twists. Below is how I describe it (taken from a document on The task is really aimed at advanced level students, but might work with very high-performing GCSE students (CEFR level A2/B1). Do go and check out Florencia's YouTube channel, by the way. Here is the link to the webinar: Remember that a key aspect of this type of task is to create a need to communicate and collaborate, to use language for a purpose and prioritise meaning over focus on accurate form. As a teacher, therefore, your role would be to offer support, help with vocabulary and grammar where requested, and provide correction only where error seriously hampers meaning. Who’s coming to dinner? This is a co

Review: This is Language

As part of my research for the second edition of Becoming an Outstanding Languages Teacher, I have been researching all sorts of digital technology tools for language teachers. As part of this fact-finding mission, I asked  This is Language if they would let me try out the site. I have known about This is Language for a few years, but understood that some new functionality had been added and was interested to see what's it's all about in more detail. Anna from This is Language kindly gave me a run-through of the site via Zoom and has let me try it out the French material for a few days. Other available languages are Spanish, German, Italian and English (this is not clear on the website, as far as I can make out). As well as the authentic short video interviews, for which the site is best known, there are other very useful and fun activities. Here is a screenshot from the homepage to show you what's available. The foundation of This is Language is its archive of thousands of

The latest from frenchteacher HQ

I’ve been a bit quiet in the blog for a while, but have been busy in various ways. My main project in recent weeks has been working on a second edition of my book with Routledge called Becoming an Outstanding Languages Teacher . The book was published in 2017, has sold well, but needed some updates. In particular, the sections on ‘tech tips’ have already dated in just four years and I want to make sure they don’t spoil the book. So for this second edition, I have been looking into what teachers have been using in terms of tech tools. I am very grateful to Joe Dale for his webinars which I have been watching with interest. In addition, I have been reading blogs and asking the odd question on Twitter and Facebook to see what is ‘en vogue’ at the moment. I have also been rewriting sections of the text to take account of the growing interest in lexicogrammar and Gianfranco’s EPI method. I have also tried to focus more tightly on teachers in training. I have kept an emphasis on practical id