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Showing posts from December, 2023

Most popular posts 2023: NCLE, EPI, GCSE, grammar and a nifty starter.

Most years I do a round-up of the blogs I have written over the year. It’s a chance for me to look at the stats and to see what most interests readers. Although I post less furiously than I used to (blogs are less in vogue just now, it seems), I still write about four a month on average. It used to be around 10. Personally, I find blogs more digestible than podcasts, since I like to read at speed and can assess what I think of a post pretty quickly. The only podcast I occasionally listen to is Liam Printer's engaging The Motivated Classroom . as I write this, he has done 112 episides - quite a commitment! So here are the FIVE most viewed posts this year, starting with the most viewed at number one. 1.    From NCELP to NCLE After NCELP's contract to improve GCSE take-up and language teaching pedagogy came to its end, the DfE put out a tender for a new more generously funded initiative. This is the  National Consortium for Languages Education  (NCLE), now in operation. They say o

No best method, but…

You often read in the literature about second language learning there is no best method. It came up again in Elspeth Broady’s opening chapter of the recently published Practical Guide to Teaching Foreign Languages in the Secondary School (Pachler and Redondo, 2023). I reviewed that book here . The general claim is surely true. Indeed, you might think if there were a best method, we would have discovered it by now. Despite centuries of reflection and over half a century of modern research, we still rehearse the age-old debates around the relative merits of natural approaches and those based on building automatised skill through explanation and practice. Yet, while no best method has been established, many teachers are quite passionate and even tribal in their defence of the method or approach they use. They may have some good reasons for this. More of that below.  I think it’s quite legitimate to justify and defend one’s favoured pedagogy. There are some widely accepted general principl