An intermediate reading task: a holiday in the Charente Maritime | (Steve Smith)

Here is a resource from, from the Y10-11 page. It would suit Higher Tier GCSE pupils (intermediate level), and also provides a nice model for an adapted piece of writing.
Eric décrit ses vacances en bord de mer en famille en Charente Maritime
(1) Bordée par l’Atlantique, la Charente Maritime est une destination (2) qui nous fait rêver depuis longtemps pour nos vacances en famille. Et c’est maintenant chose faite puisque l’été dernier, nous y avons passé un (3) merveilleuxséjour entre les îles de Ré et d’Oléron.
Comme ces îles étaient notre destination de vacances, (4) j’ai…

Continue reading at:


My most viewed posts of 2018 | (Steve Smith)

Year on year, I write between around 100 to 150 blog posts. Most years I do a round-up of the ones which have been most viewed. I say “viewed” because I have no guarantee that they were actually read! On the whole, though, I try to keep my posts clear and concise, recognising the way many readers flit from one thing to another online (as I do myself).

Here are my top five most viewed posts, with the most viewed first.

1.     The latest research on teaching vocabulary

This post was a summary of a chapter in The Routledge Handbook of Instructed Second Language Acquisition (2017) edited by…

Continue reading at:

How do teachers use their interactive whiteboards? | (Steve Smith)

Image: pixabay.comThis post was originally sparked by a Twitter comment that language teachers don’t use their interactive boards. This surprised me. While it’s no doubt true that a vast number of IWBs were installed in British schools in the higher spending era of 2000-2010 and that plenty are little used in many subjects, I was curious to find out how many language teachers actually use their boards interactively, not just as a projector screen. For the record, I used to use my pen-based IWB with, and Boardworks.

So here are some of the responses I got…

Continue reading at:

Anxiety in the second language classroom | (Steve Smith)

Image: pixabay.comAmong Stephen Krashen’s well-known hypotheses about second language acquisition is what he called the Affective Filter Hypothesis. For me this always felt like a fancy pseudo-scientific name for something very simple: when students are not emotionally minded to learn a language they do it less well. This lack of motivation to learn can stem from a number of factors, for example lack of perceived usefulness of the subject, poor teaching, dull content or even antipathy towards the target language people or culture. But one factor which researchers have also examined is the…

Continue reading at:

Is teaching is 90% crowd control? | (Steve Smith)

Image: MercatorNet”Teaching is 90% crowd control.” I don’t know who first coined that statement, but it’s been around for years and I think there’s a lot of truth in it. In this blog I nearly always write about lesson ideas and pedagogy, but have never directly addressed the issue of classroom behaviour. I think it’s been a bit of an oversight, because for me ensuring good classroom behaviour in an atmosphere of attentiveness and mutual respect trumps any issue of language teaching pedagogy. Thankfully, these days teachers are much more open about issues they have in class and often share…

Continue reading at:

The age factor in language learning | (Steve Smith)

Image: pixabay.comThis post draws on a section from Chapter 5 of Jack C. Richards’ splendid handbook Key Issues in Language Teaching (2015). I’m going to summarise what Richards writes about how age factors affect language learning, then add my own comments about how this might influence classroom teaching.

It’s often said that children seem to learn languages so much more quickly and effectively than adults. Yet adults do have some advantages of their own, as we’ll see.

In the 1970s it was theorised that children’s success was down to the notion that there is a critical period for language…

Continue reading at:

Easy sentence builder frames | (Steve Smith)

I’ve uploaded to a number of easy sentence builder frames for near-beginners. These are aimed at the full range of ability and could be exploited in a number of ways to maximise recycling of high frequency verbs and chunks. The example below is followed by a possible teaching sequence. You could probably find alternative ideas. See what you think. Other examples on frenchteacher so far are: last weekend, school, holidays and pastimes.

On fait des phrases – LE WEEKEND PROCHAIN
Je vais aller (I’m going to go) au parc (to the park)au cinéma (to the cinema)aux magasins…

Continue reading at: