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La France votée le pays préféré des retraités américains

 Et pour la cinquième fois consécutive, paraît-il.

Si vous suivez les liens fournis par Laura Lawless sur son excellent site, vous trouverez que les Français eux-mêmes ne prennent pas trop au sérieux cette étude.

Et moi, qui passe plusieurs semaines par an à vivre en Charente-Maritime avec un certain nombre d'amis français avec qui j'ai passé pas mal de temps, qu'est-ce que j'aime dans l'Hexagone?

Un peu au hasard, je mettrais en avant: sa belle langue, ses grands espaces, la variété et la beauté de ses paysages, son littoral et ses plages, son patrimoine historique et culturel, son réseau autoroutier et ferroviaire, sa gastronomie, ses liens de famille très proches, son hospitalité et sa convivialité, ses spécificités régionales, sa créativité artistique, architecturale et technologique, son attachement à la justice sociale, son climat agréable, sa démocratie, son cinéma, sa laïcité et sa relative tolérance (mais voir plus bas).

Par contre, je critiquerais: son système éducatif trop rigide, les heures d'ouverture de ses commerces, la qualité trop variable de son service clientèle (on sourit davantage chez nous), ses médias trop peu critiques de la classe politique, sa corruption politique, son manque d'ouverture vers le monde extérieur, sa télévision médiocre, ses syndicats qui refusent le changement, son racisme (quelle déception de voir le Front National gagner tant de voix aux élections) et, finalement, ses petites routes de campagne accidentées et, finalement, ses jardins - mais il faut dire que les Anglais sont très forts dans ce domaine.


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One easy way to make listening stimulating for pupils is to tell them easy stories in the target language. I was reminded of this while reading Penny Ur's book 100 Teaching Tips (reviewed here

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I am grateful to Kayleigh Meyrick, a teacher in Sheffield, for this game which she described in the Languages Today magazine (January, 2018). She called it “Swap It/Add It” and it’s dead simple! I’ve added my own little twist as well as a justification for the activity.

You could use this at almost any level, even advanced level where the language could get a good deal more sophisticated.

Put students into small groups or pairs. If in groups you can have them stand in circles to add a sense of occasion. One student utters a sentence, e.g. “J’aime jouer au foot avec mes copains parce que c’est amusant.” (You could provide the starter sentence or let groups make up their own.) The next student (or partner) has to change one element in the sentence, and so on, until you restart with a different sentence. You could give a time limit of, say, 2 minutes. The sentence could easily relate to the topic you are working on. At advanced level a suitable sentence starter might be:

“Selon un article q…

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.


_____. 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 _____ …

New GCSE resources on frenchteacher

As well as writing resources for the new A-levels, I have in recent months been posting a good range of materials to support the new GCSEs. First exams are not until 2018, but here is what you can find on the site in addition to the many other resources (grammar exercises, texts, video listening etc).

I shall not produce vocabulary lists since the exam board specifications now offer these, with translations.

Foundation Tier 

AQA-style GCSE 2016 Role-plays
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (2)
100 translation sentences into French (with answers)
Reading exam
Reading exam (2)
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Higher Tier 

AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (Higher tier)
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (Higher tier) (2)
20 translations into French (with answers)
Reading exam (Higher tier)
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I clearly recall, when I marked speaking tests for AQA 15-20 years ago, that schools whose candidates performed the best were often those who had prepared their students with ready-made short paragraphs of language. Candidates who didn't sound particularly like "natural linguists" (e.g. displaying poor accents) nevertheless got high marks. As far as an examiner is concerned is doesn't matter if every single candidate says that last weekend they went to the cinema, saw a James Bond…