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Showing posts from March, 2022

Video listening and reading - film/AV director

  Here is an example of a frenchteacher resource for A-Level which combines listening and reading. When students get captions they are likely to focus on those more than the spoken text, but the speech is heard and the visual content is interesting. You could at some stage get the students to listen without the transcript (eyes closed). This video talks to to two directors, one in film, one in the audio-visual sector. Lots of good film and TV vocabulary, Because the text is visible, I avoided gap-fill style work and went for questions in English. As always the answers are given. Servez-vous! Le métier de réalisateur   2m 15 Regardez, écoutez, mettez la vidéo sur pause et répondez en anglais émission de flux – a one-off show or broadcast that viewers will watch only once cadreur – camera person     scenario – script      éclairer – to light     gérer – to manage   1.     What type of programming does Gilles Marliac direct? 2.    

Aptitude for second language learning

It's sometimes said that the two key factors for language learning success are motivation and aptitude. As Li (2015) puts it: " Language aptitude has been found to be one of the most important individual difference variables in second language acquisition." Any language teacher will tell you that aptitude varies enormously in classrooms (as does motivation!). Indeed, the huge variation is no doubt the main reason why the GCSE exam comes in two tiers - Higher and Foundation. It's hard to design an exam which caters for all degrees of aptitude and resulting attainment. Although many are reluctant to use the terms 'high-ability' or 'low ability' (for fear of labelling students, limiting aspirations or simply in the belief that ability is not fixed), there is a long tradition of research in the field of second language acquisition, which shows that aptitude varies and is probably a fairly fixed trait. The most famous names in this field would be John Carro

The eclectic approach

  There is a lot of wisdom in older books about language teaching. One book I have been dipping into again is the classic, and hefty, Teaching Foreign-Language Skills by Wilga M. Rivers. Rivers was both a teacher and elegant scholarly writer. I have the second edition, published in 1981. The first edition was published in 1968, at a time when the audio-lingual method was in wide use, but was coming under fire. 1968 is also when I began secondary school. In the first term at my grammar school, we learned French using an audio-visual course, complete with slide shows, beeps and choral repetition. We quickly moved on to a different approach, based on using the target language in a structured way, using classroom objects, pictures and texts to generate question-answer practice - a sort of adapted direct method. So I had a direct experience of a method change. So Rivers was writing at a period of evolution in language learning theories and language teaching methods. By 1981, the communicat

Parent-child pairwork scenarios

I thought I'd share an old lesson idea I used on occasion with Y13 students (A-Level, CEFR B1/B2). Once your class has got a good deal of fluency with a wide range of language, as is usually the case with your students doing the second year of A-Level, you can have fun just letting them loose on conversational scenarios such as those below. The theme of these examples is family problem discussions which parents and teenagers might have. Have you got time to do this sort of thing during a busy A-level course? Absolutely! My usual argument is that much language transfers across from one topic to another, so any practice you do which involves comprehensible input and interaction is contributing to improved proficiency in general. This proficiency build incrementally, not necessarily in a linear fashion, and carries over to other tasks. And what's more, this task is enjoyable for students who enjoy listening, talking and playing imaginative roles. Nothing in the content is right or

Sentence strip bingo

Image from Dannielle Warren Strip bingo (known by other, less fun names), comes in various forms. In its basic form, you can use single words to play the game. In a previous post I described a storytelling version of the game. In this post we are looking at another version, also using whole sentences, but (possibly) more randomly - it depends what sentences you choose. It could be used as one game in a sequence within the EPI (Conti- Extensive Processing Instruction) paradigm, where the chosen sentences might be derived from a sentence builder. Just as the sentences can be used to play 'sentence chaos' or 'sentence stealers'  (two Gianfranco games), so can they be recycled (or variations on the sentences) in the strip bingo game. Within the EPI model this sort of activity would typically happen early on in a lesson sequence, when the focus is on receptive language use - no pressure to speak. Strip bingo is all about listening and reading, of course. But you could use

About independent publishing

When Gianfranco and I set about writing The Language Teacher Toolkit around 2015 we had a publishing choice. Should we seek a traditional publisher or should we go our own way and self-publish through Amazon? (At that time their independent-publishing arm was called Createspace; it's now called KDP.) We opted for independent-publishing for a few reasons: Royalties. Self-publishing offers much higher royalties (over 60% per book as opposed to around 10% when you go with a publisher). This financial incentive had to be weighed up against the possible kudos and marketing advantage associated with being with a well-known publisher. Publicity. We were well known enough on social media to be able to publicise and share our work. We had both been sharing resources freely for a few years, Gianfranco via TES, myself via my website. So we did not see the need to get support from a publisher. In the end, independent publishing has not been an issue as all our books have done very well indeed

Parallel text resources for beginners on frenchteacher

A few years ago I began a set of parallel text resources on my website. I know that many teachers have used these over the years. Some turn them into booklets which pupils can dip into. They could be used in various ways: Homework Quite reading in class Extension work for faster learners Intensive classroom oral work (though this is not their main purpose by any means) Reading aloud to the class Recently I added a few more examples, to include specific cultural references as well provide material which is just interesting in general to students. The format is a landscape A4 sheet with a text in French on the left and its translation in English on the right. These are supplemented by some simple exercises, usually true/false, cognate-finding and vocab-finding. The full list of topics is listed below. I'll share an example at the end of the post.  Remember that a main objective is to allow students to read something interesting, made comprehensible by the translation. I wouldn't