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Showing posts from October, 2023

Creating stimulating content

A criticism sometimes levelled at language lessons in secondary classrooms is that the non-linguistic content of lessons is not very stimulating. Very often, the context of the language may be related to the students' lives and/or the exam syllabus (think of daily routines, likes and dislikes, hobbies, food and drink, school), but the material lacks challenging, interesting content. Textbooks do attempt to overcome this to an extent, by providing traditional cultural content and increasingly diverse and inclusive content. But the syllabus still places a large emphasis on everday material. By contrast,  in history, English or science lessons there is conceptual content which gets students thinking in a different way. It is inherently more interesting to most students than the content of MFL/WL lessons. An obvious reason for the use of mundane content is the students' lack of language development. It's hard to take on more interesting material when you have little language to

Working with an advanced level text: cyber-bullying

Below is an example resource from It's typical of the type of reading-based material I enjoyed working with and which works well with A-Level students. The general principles of language learning apply here; interesting input (also relevant to the syllabus), plenty of interaction, integration of the four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing, a good deal of recycling and acquisition of new vocabulary. In the example below, I included a pre-reading discussion (though I don't think these are always needed). the subject matter is the Fre ch government's idea to counter cyber-bullying in schools, which has come to the fore in the news following the suicide of a teenager in Poissy. The exercises I have used can partly be done orally, in writing or both. I liked to do oral questions with the whole class, then let them re-do them in pairs, or note down their answers to recycle the language. The answers to pre-reading questions could be noted down be