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Showing posts from May, 2022

Another parallel text on frenchteacher

Some years ago I began putting together parallel text reading tasks for beginners or near beginners. I blogged about this back in March too. The idea is to help students access interesting reading material through the use of parallel translation. Of course, without supporting exercises, students would just read the English text and barely process the French at all. The exercises I add require students to do some processing, while keeping the focus largely on comprehension. So the format is true/false, underlining cognates and completing a short bilingual vocabulary list. the latter is made possible by the English text, so overall the exercises are feasible by a large majority of students, provided their English literacy is reasonable. Recently I have been adding further examples to the existing set of 20 or so texts. I have put some more emphasis on culturally significant content, rather than just general interest reading. You can see the format below - just imagine this on two landsca

The illusion of mastery

 Do you ever get your classes to chant or sing verb conjugations or endings? Later in my career, I certainly did, influenced by colleagues, and seeing that pupils enjoyed singing verb paradigms to tunes. My favourite was singing the present tense of the verb ‘aller’ to the Mission Impossible theme. The Pink Panther was good for some verbs too. In the same vein, I was happy for students to enter the class singing the alphabet to a US marching melody. It was an upbeat, organised start to beginner lessons. Why did I do these things? Was there value in them? First, let me remind you of something from cognitive science. It's the TAP effect. TAP stands for Transfer-Appropriate Processing. It’s the idea that when we encode a memory of something we learn, we also encode the context of the learning. For instance, if you teach the phrase ‘I have a headache’ along with a gesture, the student will encode both the language and the gesture. It has been found that when you later ask a student to