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Showing posts from January, 2018

Three ways to practise reading aloud

Having students read aloud in class meets with varying reactions from teachers. Some have been trained to avoid it all together, based on the idea that it is embarrassing for students, is often done badly and does little to assist language acquisition. Others believe the activity has value, allowing students to practise pronunciation and intonation, providing an alternative to the teacher's voice and helping students embed knowledge of language through their "phonological memories".

I was not at all averse to giving pupils the opportunity to do some reading aloud for the reasons given above. I would use it specifically to teach intonation patterns, get feedback on students' pronunciation and give them a chance to show off how well they could do it, building their sense of confidence in using the language, their "self-efficacy" if you like.

For reading aloud to be successful it generally needs to be scaffolded, for example through choral repetition with text…

A game for practising jobs vocabulary

This is a variation of the classic 20 Questions game (animal, vegetable, mineral - you remember the one?) Partner A thinks of a thing and partner B has to work it out by asking Yes/No questions. It's a really good oral fluency games for relatively advanced learners.

My version here relates to job vocabulary. Assuming you have taught, say, 25 jobs using word lists, pictures, definitions, written and spoken texts and so on, let's say you want to embed this knowledge a week or two later, this is what you could do.

Partner A chooses a job which has been learned. Partner B is given a list of 15 questions he or she can ask in any order. Partner B can guess the answer at any time. If partner B uses all 15 questions up they score 15 points. If they correctly guess the job in less than 15 questions they get a number of points equivalent to the number of questions they needed, i.e. 10 questions for a right answer gets 10 points. If they make an incorrect guess at any point they get an e…

ELT Research Bites

If you have an interest in research into second language acquisition but don't have the time, money or need to look at original journal articles, you may like this very good site which contains articles about notable research issues in the field. ELT Research Bites.

In their own words:

"The purpose of ELT Research Bites is to present interesting and relevant language and education research in an easily digestible format. Academic journal articles and research reports tend to be long, perhaps even long-winded. And rightfully so – there is a lot of theoretical and often statistical work that must be clearly explained and a journal article is the best place for that. We hope, with this new blog, to help all language teachers benefit from the insights gained through academic research, whilst not taking too much of their time away from where it is needed most – the classroom.

ELT Research Bites serves you the substance and context of the full article at the length of an abstract,…

Google Translate beaters

Google Translate is a really useful tool, but some teachers say that they have stopped setting written work to be done at home because students are cheating by using it. On a number of occasions I have seen teachers asking what tasks can be set which make the use of Google Translate hard or impossible. Having given this some thought I have come up with one possible Google Translate-beating task type. It's a two way gapped translation exercise where students have to complete gaps in two parallel texts, one in French, one in English. There are no complete sentences which can be copied and pasted into Google.

This is what one looks like. Remember to hand out both texts at the same time.


English 

_____. My name is David. _ __ 15 years old and I live in Ripon, a _____ ____ in the north of _______, near York. I have two _______ and one brother. My brother __ ______ David and my _______ are called Erika and Claire. We live in a _____ house in the centre of ____. In ___ house _____ …

Plans for 2018

When I retired from teaching in 2012 I never thought that I would remain so busy in the field of language teaching. Since that time I have authored or co-authored two books, written over 10 blogs a month about language teaching, written and frequently presented for the AQA exam board, taught PGCE students at York and latterly Buckingham University, produced hundreds of resources for frenchteacher.net and taken part in a number of MFL teacher conferences, including three for ISMLA, two for the Chartered College of Teaching, and one for ResearchEd.

I can’t seem to take my mind off language teaching.

So this year, although I shall try to limit what I do (I have other fish to fry), I hope to achieve some or all of the following:

Continue to engage and share experience with teachers online via Twitter and Facebook.Keep refreshing frenchteacher.net and weeding out some of the old resources as new ones are written. (The site risks becoming unwieldy and hard to navigate.)Accept occasional invi…