Friday, 26 February 2016

Resources for new French AS and A-levels

UPDATE: 2nd June 2016

Now uploaded to TES: family (Pearson, AQA) , work (Pearson) and how criminals are treated (AQA)

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Just to let you know that Gianfranco and I are working on a set of resources for the new A-levels for first teaching in September of this year. Gianfranco wanted to produce some translation-focused resources which reflect the practice we described in The Language Teacher Handbook (particularly the recycling of grammar and vocabulary).

We are working on the basis of a source text in French with comprehension and grammar tasks (similar to the sort of thing I write for frenchteacher.net), followed by a set of exercises which lead up to a final translation or graded translations (similar to exercise types which Gianfranco often uses). We would hope these resources would supplement any textbooks soon to be published.

We have mapped out a broad structure of about 20 units of this type (10 for AS-level, 10 for A-level), based on the draft content of the new A-levels. Each unit would have about 8 pages of tasks which would include speaking, reading and writing.

Our current plan includes the following topics:

AS level
Family (done)
Cinema
Cyber-society
Cultural heritage
Voluntary work
World of work (done)
Music and TV
Youth trends, issues, personal identity
Literature/arts
Education

A-level
Diversity and integration
Life for marginalised people
How criminals are treated (done)
Cultural enrichment/celebrating difference
Technology - effect of working lives
Occupation
Resistance
Teenagers/votes/political engagement
Politics and immigration

Thursday, 25 February 2016

A-level French revision links 2016


Here are this year's interactive and other for A2 Level French revision. I would not overload students with long lists of links. These are fine.

With regard to listening, if you subscribe to frenchteacher.net already, you could make a stapled booklet of video listening worksheets. Students will prefer active listening to just general listening to the radio or websites. You could also put together Gianfranco Conti's set of Revision Quickies from TES Resources.

First stops
http://mfl.jimdo.com/resources/french-a2-level/
(a mine of all sorts of material: essay planning, vocabulary and vocabulary)

Interactive grammar

Listening

Reading

Essay writing
http://www.alevelfrench.com/home/file.php/1/sample_resources/LET-EDEXCEL-milieu_social.pdf (literature essay with tips)

There is also plenty of free reading material with exercises on frenchteacher.net, bien sûr.


Tuesday, 23 February 2016

AS level French revision links 2016

Here is a handy list of revision links for students preparing for AS level French examinations in England and Wales, though I daresay it would be useful to students preparing for other assessments. I particularly recommend MFL Online from Jim Hall. Nearly all the links are free and some are interactive.

I always felt it was best to give students just a few really good links rather than overwhelm them. I've left the URLs visible in case you want to print this off and edit for students.

Grammar

http://www.class.uh.edu/mcl/fll/french/frexercises/chapitre5/index.htm
http://avosplumes.org/students/

Listening

http://ielanguages.com/frenchlistening.html
http://www.audio-lingua.eu/spip.php?rubrique1
http://www.rfi.fr/lffr/pages/001/accueil_exercice_ecoute.asp

Reading

http://www.languagesonline.org.uk/Hotpotatoes/Index.htm

Vocabulary

http://mfl.jimdo.com/resources/french-as-level/

Essays

http://mfl.jimdo.com/resources/french-as-level/
(not error-free, but very useful examples)


Speaking test

http://mfl.jimdo.com/resources/french-as-level

GCSE and IGCSE revision links 2016

It's that time of year again. In England and Wales, when those blessed GCSE controlled assessments are over, you can focus totally on comprehension and vocabulary building for the remaining exams. Here is a handy list of some good interactive revision links for this level. These links are also good for intermediate exams in Scotland, Ireland and other English-speaking countries. You could copy and paste this to print off for students.

I do recommend the free print-off from frenchteacher.net (see Reading link below). I designed it for pupils working at the grade A-C level at GCSE. Good for individual work and students like the booklet format.

As far as apps for students are concerned, I would suggest the Cramit one, Memrise and Learn French which is pretty good for vocabulary. For Android devices try the Learn French Vocabulary Free. For listening, you could suggest Coffee Break French from Radio Lingua Network (iTunes podcasts).

Listening
Reading
http://www.bonjourdefrance.com/index/indexappelem.htm(Foundation/Higher)  
http://www.frenchteacher.net/free-resources/samples/ (Foundation/Higher) - look in Y10-11 section for GCSE reading booklet to work through and common signs to interpret.
http://platea.pntic.mec.es/~cvera/hotpot/exos/index.htm (Higher)

Listening and reading 

http://www.frenchrevision.co.uk  (Foundation and  Higher - £5 to sign up)

Vocabulary
http://www.goethe-verlag.com/tests/EF/EF.HTM (Higher)

Saturday, 20 February 2016

12 principles of second language teaching

This is a short, adapted extract from our book The Language Teacher Toolkit.

"We could not possibly recommend a single overall method for second language teaching, but the growing body of research we now have points to certain provisional broad principles which might guide teachers. Canadian professors Patsy Lightbown and Nina Spada (2013), after reviewing a number of studies over the years to see whether it is better to just use meaning-based approaches or to include elements of explicit grammar teaching and practice, conclude:

Classroom data from a number of studies offer support for the view that form-focused instruction and corrective feedback provided within the context of communicative and content-based programmes are more effective in promoting second language learning than programmes that are limited to a virtually exclusive emphasis on comprehension.

As teachers Gianfranco and I would go along with that general view and would like to suggest our own set of general principles which are examined in detail in our book. We would put them as follows:

v  Make sure students receive as much meaningful, stimulating target language input as possible. Place a high value, therefore, on interesting listening and reading, including extensive reading. As Lightbown and Spada (2013) put it: “Comprehension of meaningful language is the foundation of language acquisition.”

v  Make sure students have lots of opportunities to practice orally, both in a tightly structured fashion led by the teacher and through communication with other students. Have them repeat and recycle language as much as possible.

v  Use a balanced mixture of the four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing.

v  Promote independent learning outside the classroom.

v  Select and sequence the vocabulary and grammar you expose students to. Do not overload them with too much new language at once. Focus on high frequency language.

v  Be prepared to explain how the language works, but don’t spend too much time on this. Students need to use the language, not talk about it. Research provides some support for the explicit teaching and practice of rules.

v  Aim to enhance proficiency – the ability to independently use the language promptly in real situations.

v  Use listening and reading activities to model good language use rather than test; focus on the process, not the product.

v  Be prepared to judiciously and sensitively correct students, and get them to respond to feedback. 

v  Translation (both ways) can play a useful role, but if you do too much you may neglect general language input.

v  Make sensible and selective use of digital technology to enhance exposure and practice.


v  Place a significant focus on the target language culture. This is one way of many to increase student motivation and broaden outlooks."

Reference: Lightbown, P.M. and Spada, N. (2013). How Languages are Learned (fourth edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Thursday, 18 February 2016

Behaviour management tips

When we put together the overall structure for The Language Teacher Toolkit we hesitated a bit before deciding to put in a chapter on behaviour management. I was probably a bit keener than Gianfranco to include it. On balance, we decided that since surveys show that it's usually the number one concern of trainee teachers, readers might appreciate some guidance. We drew on our own experience and advice from elsewhere, notably the esteemed Doug Lemov of Teach like a Champion fame and Tom Bennett who some of you will know as England's "behaviour tsar".

Our editor (my wife, Elspeth Jones) thought it was one of the best chapters in the end. Anyway, here is a brief extract from one of our boxes of tips. Old hands will recognise much of this as common sense classroom management technique. Newbies should find it useful advice.


TIPS FOR BEHAVIOUR MANAGEMENT

Ø  Avoid confrontation as far as possible, but when you need to confront do it clearly and unapologetically. Then move on (‘redirect’) quickly so it does not become a spectacle or test of power to be observed by the remaining students.
Ø  If a lesson does not go well you will worry about it much more than the students who have other lessons and plenty more on their minds. You cannot win them all. Keep in mind the ‘clean sheet’ idea.
Ø  Do not allow students to speak whilst you are speaking. Use whatever method suits you to insist on this (‘deadly stares’, non-verbal cues such as a raised eyebrow or hand, a system of warnings).
Ø  Avoid shouting. If you keep your voice down students may listen harder and avoid competing with you. A rare raised voice on your part, when needed, will be all the more effective.
Ø  Language lessons have many transition points. Have a clear sign for transitions between one activity and the next. These are frequently points in the lesson when momentum can be lost and students go off task. Teachers use countdowns, hand claps, raised arms, a tap on the desk – whatever works. Set time limits for independent or pair/group tasks.
Ø  If you have asked for silent independent work, insist on it and apply a sanction if necessary to enforce your expectation.
Ø  If you fear control is breaking down consistently seek help sooner rather than later. Schools are usually very collegiate institutions full of people ready to support you.
Ø  Be assertive. Tell students clearly and politely what to do; do not ask them. Make all instructions crystal clear, one thing at a time.
Ø  Make time to speak to them individually and get to know them. See if you can remember one interesting thing about each student.
Ø  Moving around the room can be effective, but avoid pacing like a lion. Be the centre of attention when you need to be.
Ø  The most effective way to handle any disrespect is to simply and dispassionately follow your classroom management plan and enforce a consequence. Try to avoid anger, even if it is your natural reaction. Behave with calm and poise.
Ø  When addressing the whole class keep good eye contact and expect it from students.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Cloud Writer

This is a guest blog by Peter Smith who is keen to promote the Schoolshape Cloud Writer app. It looks useful to me and may appeal to some language teachers, particularly those who like to make use of digital technology..

"This is a new writing activity to improve accuracy through inductive learning: In this post, I suggest an app which give your students a helping hand by writing their answers online at https://schoolshape.com/write

The new GCSEs feature both translation and composition. These can both be one step too far for students. Teachers can find themselves overwhelmed by written work littered with disastrous errors requiring correction. There is also the question of motivation. Even the most gifted of teachers can fail to infuse enthusiasm for translation and composition exercises. 

Cloud Writer helps students improve their writing accuracy via a hint system, guiding them towards the correct answer. Grammar corrections and annotations help the student with a combination of multilingual grammar software and teacher/mentor/penfriend input. A running total of percentage accuracy is displayed, and on iPads, Android tablets and Smartphones, the most common foreign accents are available directly from the screen keyboard. This encourages students to write more and improve their accuracy, thus increasing their percentage accuracy over time. 

Students can thus do regular writing on their devices, improve accuracy through inductive learning, and collaborate securely with native speakers. Further details available at https://www.schoolshape.com/cloudwriter"

Sunday, 14 February 2016

What makes a good text?

The written text in the target language remains the stimulus par excellence for language teachers. It's a source of what eminent ELT writer Michael Swan has called "intensive input-output work". It is the starting point for a whole range of language activities involving all the four skills.

Some teachers worry about whether the texts they use are authentic. In my opinion they should not. What are we looking for in a good text?

  1. It should (ideally) be inherently interesting.
  2. It should be at the right level.
  3. It should be teachable.
1.  Once you get to intermediate level and above the best texts should have inherent interest value. At this level, whilst still a challenge, you can source stimulating material on all sorts of topics. Authentic texts may be interesting, they may be not. Teacher-adapted or artificial texts may be interesting, they may be not. Authentic does not mean better. Interest in the subject matter of the text should raise motivation and, ultimately, increase acquisition.

2.  You need a text which is at roughly the level of the students or, preferably, a bit beyond. It's what Stephen Krashen vaguely referred to as i +1 (where i = the student's current level of 'interlanguage' and +1 =... er, a bit above that). This is the problem with many authentic texts. They are frequently too hard or contain items of vocabulary which are not easily transferable to other situations. Another way of putting this is to say that the text should be 'roughly-tuned' to the student's current level.

3. By 'teachable', I mean that a text may be interesting and at the right level, but you can't actually do much with it. For instance, an intermediate text about the discovery of a new planet may be inherently of interest, but how can you turn it into a communicative lesson with intermediate level students which goes beyond comprehension and language analysis? Contrast this with a blander text about healthy living, which can be used for comprehension and language practice, but can then also be exploited by relating it to the student's own life experience. Which text will generate the most classroom communication and, therefore, language acquisition?

      The issue of teachability is relevant when you bear in mind some of the topics which will feature in the new A-level exams in England. The committee set up by the DfE to guide the exam boards on new subject content (ALCAB) suggested some fascinating topics (I always mention 'French mathematics' as the most bizarre example), but how would these translate into communicative lessons featuring that 'intensive input-output' work Michael Swan referred to?

     One further point: for beginners we always face the conundrum of finding stimulating material for pupils with little linguistic knowledge. One solution is to adopt a content-based or project-based approach, where you throw out the traditional i + 1 approach and present students with harder language which can be exploited at a mature cognitive level, but superficial linguistic level. This may be stimulating to students to a degree, but it is unlikely, in my view, to be the best path to long-term acquisition. So, we fall back on concocted simple texts which allow us to teach high frequency vocabulary and simple structures in an ordered way. This continues to make sense to me. You still try to make the texts stimulating and, above all, you deliver them in an engaging way, because, as you know, so much in language teaching is about the quality of delivery.

      On frenchteacher.net I have a teacher's guide page on how to exploit texts. We also deal with this issue (blatant plug alert) in The Language Teacher Toolkit, now available on Amazon.com and Canadian and European Amazon stores.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Exploiting simple pictures for creative language use

This is an extremely simple, zero preparation and fun idea for creating conversation lessons with high intermediate or advanced level classes. You take a simple picture featuring one or more people and use it as the basis for some imaginative storytelling. Here is an example with suggested questions - I'll write them in English so you could adapt them for any language.


What's her name?
What's his name?
Where are they? What country? What town?
What's their relationship?
Did they meet recently?
Are they work colleagues?
How old are they?
What are they eating?
What are they talking about?
What is she like as a person? What's he like?
What are their interests?
Why do they look so happy?
How did they meet? When? Long ago?
If they are married, have they been married before?
What were they doing before they met at the restaurant?
What are they going to do next?
What do they do for a living?
What do they think of their jobs?
Have they always done that?
What did they used to do?
Do they have any guilty secrets from their past?
Have they been on holiday together? Where? When?

Now, how the conversation develops depends on just how imaginative your students are. You would do well to tell the students at the outset to be as daring as possible. They may take you in some interesting directions; or you may need to prompt them to use their imaginations a bit more by suggesting some more outrageous ideas, e.g. he has two wives, she is a spy, he is an ex convict, they are having an affair, and so on.

I would probably do this a teacher-led task, but with some classes you hand out a list of suggested questions and get the students to work in pairs or small groups. This would lead to a variety of stories which can be compared later on.

When you do this type of activity students come up with different scenarios. This can generate further debate. If you are leading the lesson, you may have to lead them along what seems like the most fruitful linguistic and creative path.

It's easy to encourage the use of different time frames - past, present and future - and to go on from speaking to writing or more listening. For example, you could make up your own back story to the couple, describe it in TL to the class, whilst they take notes, then feed back the account to a partner or the whole class.

How about getting them to write an imagined dialogue between the couple, once their story is established? Or how about getting the students to find their own picture and build an imaginative story around it, either spoken, written or both.

All in all, you can end up with a low prep lesson which generates bags of spontaneous TL input and output along with some creative fun. It's the kind of lesson which makes a change from grammar bashing or another text on that same old topic!

Thursday, 11 February 2016

How we wrote The Language Teacher Toolkit

The Language Teacher Toolkit available from Amazon.

I have been blogging about second language learning since 2010 and about a year ago I came across Gianfranco Conti's blog about what research can tell us about language acquisition and classroom practice. I was struck by how informative and interesting Gianfranco's posts are. You very rarely come across teacher blogs which refer to research so explicitly. We made contact via Twitter. Gianfranco mentioned that he had been following my blog for some time and was happy to get to know me. Then, if I recall correctly, someone on Twitter (@mflguru, I think) asked why we didn't write a book together for language teachers.

We both thought this was a good idea, got together on Skype and Twitter and quickly pieced together the general structure and content of a handbook. We were keen to try to maker a strong link between research and classroom practice, but to try to keep the focus mainly on practical advice and classroom techniques. We were particularly keen to make the book as clear, interesting and readable as possible.

Over the next few months I wrote drafts based on material I had previously written, lots of material from Gianfranco's blogs and newly researched material from a range of online articles and language teaching textbooks I acquired. During this process I became more interested in and knowledgeable about skill acquisition theory and 'meta-cognitive strategies', which are a special area of interest for Gianfranco and formed part of the work for his doctorate. As for myself, my interest had previously been in direct method (oral situational) teaching and the comprehensible input hypotheses of Stephen Krashen, which I had focused on for my MA thirty years ago. It's fair to say that we have both been fascinated by second language acquisition theory and research over the years. I hope the book reflects various strands of thought fairly: we refer to TPRS, AIMLANG, comprehensible input, skill acquisition, direct methods, communicative language teaching and learning strategies.

Gianfranco read drafts and suggested changes and additions, whilst, at a later stage, my friend Steve Glover (of dolanguages.com) offered to do an initial detailed edit of the chapters. That was tremendously useful, particularly as Steve was able to add his own suggestions from many years of experience. My former teaching colleague - and the best teacher I have ever known, Anne Swainston, read a few chapters and gave us some feedback, as did Carmel O'Hagan, a teacher trainer in London. In addition, Sarah-Elizabeth Cottrell (musicuentos.com) gave us some useful feedback on selected chapters from the point of view of an American teacher. (Writing for a diverse readership is a challenge.) We are grateful to all these wise people.

Finally, as the book took shape and grew longer and longer, we had to take some decisions on what to cut - we dropped a specific chapter on learning strategies and could have done more on phonology and teaching pronunciation. My wife Elspeth Jones, an experienced book editor, did a painstaking and critical final edit and format before we sent the book off to Createspace (Amazon). The Kindle version of the book will be available very shortly.

Incidentally, Gianfranco and I discussed whether to try to go with an established publisher or to do our own thing by self-publishing. We chose the latter for a few reasons: it would be much quicker, we knew we had a good editor, the royalties are considerably higher when you self-publish and we have enough contacts, we hope, to market the book for ourselves. For anyone interested in self-publishing we can strongly recommend Createspace.

Gianfranco and I hope that the book achieves its objectives: to show that there is no one best way to teach languages; to reveal what the latest research and theory suggests and what classroom strategies that would imply (read Gianfranco's blogs for good examples of this); to establish some clear principles for effective practice based on research and our own experience; to encourage teachers to reflect on what they do and critically question what they are told; to explain some interesting aspects of language learning; to offer lots and lots of practical classroom tips on language teaching, behaviour and motivation; and finally, to offer example lesson plans for French, German and Spanish.

Gianfranco has also written about this from his point of view. Needless to say, we are quite excited about the whole project!




Monday, 8 February 2016

Developing GCSE speaking skills

This is a PowerPoint presentation I shall be using this Friday at the GwE Global Futures Conference in Llandudno, Wales. The key issues will include:

  • The new exams mark an evolution, not a revolution (in fact, largely a return to what went before).
  • Greater pupil spontaneity will be required, but smart exam preparation, including rote learning, will still be vital.
  • There are no quick fixes for achieving student autonomy, but a departmental strategy, TL teaching, plenty of input and interaction, spaced learning (including homework), rigorous controlled and free practice will all play their part.


Sunday, 7 February 2016

The importance of recycling language




This post was written in conjunction with Gianfranco Conti  of language-gym.com and is a short extract of our book The Language Teacher Toolkit, which is about to be published. One area we were keen to emphasise was the importance of recycling language, both with a lesson or sequence of lessons and across a whole course.

With the recognised importance of "spaced" or "distributed" learning, there is barely any need to justify recycling vocabulary, grammar, phonology and learning strategies, but there is a danger that it gets neglected, especially in view of the poor timetabling arrangements which exist in many schools which mean you may only see your classes as little as once or twice a week. This is what we wrote in our book (slightly adapted):


Recycling in one lesson or sequences of lessons

In our opinion the best way of  building in recycling opportunities within lessons is by using the same language in different, varied activities. Within the PPP model (Presentation – Practice - Production) this is easy, as you provide examples of new language through listening or reading, practise them though controlled oral and written exercises, then further recycle them in free writing, for example as a homework task.

You can return to the same language, and maybe a bit more, in a subsequent lesson, either re-using similar activities (because familiarity is important to students) or with new ones (because students also enjoy variety). Below are a range of tasks which could be used within a single lesson or lesson sequence when presenting and practising the past (preterite) tense. Each task might take only a few minutes. You will note how the same language is recycled multiple times, even though the precise activity changes. Every repetition gives the students' brains more chance to form long term memories of sounds, vocabulary and structures which can form the basis of independent use at a later time.

Listening to teacher while watching a sequence of pictures (or flashcards) depicting activities (e.g. I played tennis, I watched a movie, I listened to music, I sang a song).

Repeating the same language while watching the pictures.

Hiding the picture while students guess what it was, re-using the language already heard.

Revealing the written version of the language used.

Having the whole class read it aloud together.

Putting the whole sequence together and reading it aloud.

Hiding the language, then the teacher reads aloud the sequence with gaps for the students to complete orally or in writing.

Revealing the written version once more and giving false statements about it for students to correct.

Asking questions about the sequence in L2.

Hiding the language and dictating phrases for students to write on paper or mini-whiteboards. 

Revealing the text and asking students to try to explain in L1. Then give students some new verbs which follow the same pattern and ask them to make up new phrases or whole sentences.

Present a longer narrative with further meaningful examples of the verb.

It is worth noting how tightly controlled the release of language is, how carefully the language is selected for difficulty. By limiting the focus in this way, the cognitive demand for students is reduced and they can focus on the key elements being taught.

Recycling over a whole course

A well-planned course will have built in numerous opportunities to recycle language, especially high frequency language. In the so-called spiral curriculum model used by many textbooks, an area of vocabulary or grammar will be revisited at least once a year, perhaps more often. One criticism levelled at this model is that the gap between each ‘revisit’ is so long that many students have forgotten what they previously learned, so, in effect, you need to start teaching the whole thing again. This is a common complaint of language teachers.

The solution is to ensure that from week to week you attempt to incorporate key language as often as possible in new contexts and also to recycle it in classroom talk by, for instance, asking students in L2 what they did at the weekend in order to revise the preterite/perfect tense. If you do not do so and just move on to a new topic, leaving the previous one behind completely, students are more likely to forget what they have done.  If you have your own classroom, retaining key elements of each point taught throughout the year on a ‘teaching wall’ could enable you to ensure that knowledge is retained.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Thoughts about GCSE role plays

With the new GCSEs now approaching (first teaching from September 2016) we see the triumphant comeback of the role-play which, since 1987, had been an integral part of the speaking test. I imagine that the justification for their return is based on two things: firstly, they require a degree of spontaneous language on the part of candidates; secondly, they provide for some 'real life' situational tasks.

Role-plays are not without their issues. For example, producing authentic situations is not very easy. AQA, the only awarding body so far to have produced accredited exams, has adopted the approach of mixing up real-life situations with conversational style role-plays with friends. In their specimen Foundation Tier role-plays, for example, they include friends talking about school, talking with a waiter in a restaurant and an employee at a theatre (the latter is far-fetched for a teenager). I believe they are right to maintain an emphasis on conversational language with friends. this has the added benefit for teachers an students in that any preparation for conversation and photo cards also contributes to the role play test.

The second issue I have already blogged about concerns the fact that the Foundation role-plays have to have their prompts in the target language. This will cause problems for weaker students and calls into question the validity and reliability of the test.

Thirdly, it has always been hard to maintain the same level of difficulty across different questions. Old hands will remember feeling that some questions were always harder than others. Although the awarding bodies are aware of the issue, it remains a challenge to produce role-plays of the same standard.

Next comes another question which also calls into question the reliability of the role-play as a question type. Consider this AQA role-play question and possible script which might ensue. The candidate's responses are in bold and optional items are in brackets.

Tu parles du travail et des ambitions avec ton ami(e) français(e).
• Travail en ce moment (un détail).
• Emploi – préférence (un détail).
• !
• Habiter où dans le futur - raison.
• ? Petit job.

            Tu as un travail en ce moment ?
            Oui, (je travaille) dans un café.
            Quelle sorte de travail préfères-tu ?
            (Je préfère) (le travail) en plein air.
            Tu as fait un stage en entreprise au collège ?
            Oui, (j’ai travaillé) dans un bureau.
            Où est-ce que tu voudrais habiter à l’avenir ?
            (Je voudrais habiter) (en) Australie (parce qu’) il fait beau.

            Tu as un petit job ?

Now, the smart candidate who has been advised by their teacher to give the shortest answer possible to get the marks will provide the above responses without the redundant material in brackets. Remember that marks are for communicating messages unambiguously.

Many candidates, mixing up present and past tenses, will give responses such as:

Je travaillé (sic) dans un café or J'habité (sic) en Australie.

These responses will lose marks because the wrong verb form has introduced ambiguity. This type of issue is very familiar to teachers who have done role-plays before.

When the time comes for teachers to prepare students for these tests, they will need to thoroughly practise as many examples as possible and give advice on how to extract the best marks possible while saying as little as possible!

I seem to recall than when role-plays disappeared from GCSE assessment I was not unhappy, for some of the reasons mentioned above. Very good candidates lost marks by saying too much, whilst many situations seemed artificial and much time was spent in the classroom practising rather uninspiring material. However.... the new tests must be an improvement on controlled assessment!




Monday, 1 February 2016

Frenchteacher update

Here are the resources added to the site over the last month.

A second adapted and abridged extract from Le Petit prince, this time with a vocabulary list to complete and questions in English. About the futility of amassing wealth.
Y10-11 (Intermediate)

A short extract from Le Petit prince (adapted) with a true/false/not mentioned exercise and translation. In line with new GCSE content. A good Y9 class could do this.
Y10-11 (Intermediate)

A second set of Higher Tier AQA GCSE photo card practice examples. There are now four sets of photo card stimuli on the site, with a total of about 36 examples. All for the new specification starting next year.
Y10-11 (Intermediate)

A second set of photo card stimuli for oral work. These are based on the AQA speaking test model (first teaching September 2016) and include five questions each. There are three sets of these photos, two Foundation Tier (easier), two Higher Tier. You could include these in your future schemes of work.
Y10-11 (Intermediate)

Texts and exercises about voluntary work. An example of "narrow reading" - several short texts with recycled vocabulary, followed by various tasks: matching, "find the French", lexical study, gap-fill, translation both ways and oral work. For English and Welsh teachers this topic fits perfectly with AQA's new AS-level syllabus (low advanced level.
Y12-13 (Advanced)

Parallel reading and exercises on zombies. Text, true/false/not mentioned and gap-fill. Answers provided. You could make a booklet of the parallel reading material for independent reading.
Y10-11 (Intermediate)

For beginners two simple gapped translations into French (My dog and My town). These could be used as follow-up tasks to their equivalent translations into English. These may suit teachers who wish to develop their pupils' translations skills from an early stage.
Y7 (Beginner)

Video listening for low advanced level (AS level). A 2 minute TV report about working for Les Restos du coeur. Questions in French and "find the French". Answers provided. I wrote this with an eye on the new AQA AS specification from September.
Y12-13 (Advanced)

Article and exercises about integration in France. Based on a recent in-depth report, the article looks at how successfully France is integrating migrants and their descendants. Exercises include identifying true sentences, lexical work, translation, questions and oral work.
Y12-13 (Advanced)

Two resources for the new AQA GCSE Photo card section of the Speaking test. Photos with questions and model answers for Foundation and Higher tiers (10 each). For teaching from September 2016, but could be used before that.
Y10-11 (Intermediate)

Reading task with exercises based on reviews of the TV series Les Revenants (the one about zombies). Probably how you're feeling after Christmas and the new year. Six short texts with a range of exercises, including matching, "find the French", vocab completion, gap fill, speaking and writing.
Y12-13 (Advanced)