La pauvreté en France | (Steve Smith)

Here is a text with exercises taken from Help yourself!

La pauvreté en France

En France on estime que sur 65 millions d’habitants plus de 8,5 millions de personnes sont pauvres. Et on pense que 1,5 million sont des enfants ou des adolescents.

Selon un sondage plus d’un enfant sur deux a peur d’être pauvre. Huit enfants sur dix disent aussi que ce n’est pas la faute des familles, si elles sont dans cette situation, mais que c’est dû à un manque de chance. La majorité considère que la situation n’est pas juste. Enfin, tous les enfants sont d’accord pour dire qu’il est…

Continue reading at:


Book reviews | (Steve Smith)

You never know quite how a new book will be received, so I am pleased to see the following early reviews on Amazon for my new handbook Becoming an Outstanding Languages Teacher.

“In an increasingly jargon-heavy and initiative-laden educational landscape, Steve Smith’s approach is refreshingly straightforward. This book contains a wealth of common-sense advice and well thought-out strategies which actually work in the MFL classroom. It is pleasing that the focus is on learning and that the basics are not neglected – the chapter on “Running a Room” should be required reading for every NQT….

Continue reading at:

Worried about the new GCSEs? | (Steve Smith)

Twitter and MFL Facebook groups are replete with posts expressing concerns about the new GCSEs and, in particular, the difficulty of the exam, grades and tiers. I can only comment from a distance since I am no longer in the classroom, but I have been through a number of sea changes in assessment over the years so may have something useful to say.

Firstly, as far as general difficulty of papers is concerned, I think it’s fair to say that the new assessment is harder (not necessarily in terms of grades though). This is particularly evident in the writing tasks and speaking test. Although it…

Continue reading at:

GCSE reading: a Syrian refugee family finds a home in Belgium | (Steve Smith)

This is a text with exercises from

Help yourself if you think it would be useful with your classes. It would suit students aiming for higher tier and could be exploited in a range of ways.

Une famille syrienne réfugiée en Belgique

Le journal DH a rencontré la première citoyenne belge qui héberge des réfugiés dans sa maison, à Schaerbeek en Belgique.

Arrivée il y a deux semaines après un voyage très difficile de deux mois, la famille Mezrab a trouvé refuge chez Marcelle Bennick, une retraité de 73 ans. Elle habite toute seule et elle possède un appartement vide et…

Continue reading at:

A-level knowledge portfolios | (Steve Smith)

A-level MFL teachers will know that cultural knowledge forms an integral part of the specifications and mark schemes. This element is known as AO4 (Assessment Objective 4).

One idea which we have discussed during AQA presentations with teachers is for students to gradually build up, over the course, a portfolio of knowledge points which they could attempt to bring into their speaking test. These could prove to be very useful hooks on which to hang statements and opinions during the oral. I would suggest that there is a good case for learning some of these almost by rote so that, in the heat…

Continue reading at:

Latest additions to frenchteacher | (Steve Smith)

Here are the resources I have added to over the last month.


1. A new article and exercises on the French music industry and streaming in particular. Text, vocabulary to complete, multi-choice comprehension, oral work, gap-fill, written summary and translation into French. The works! Most suitable for Year 2 of the A-level course.

2. I am grateful to Chris Tanner who sent me updated versions of two A-level documents on the site: notes on the political system and the left and right in French politics. These are marked as updated on the A-level page.

3. Video…

Continue reading at:

AIM revisited – corrections and clarifications | (Steve Smith)

In my new book Becoming and Outstanding Languages Teacher, one of my themes was the idea that there is no need to be too dogmatic about language teaching methodology and that different approaches (within a principled framework) can lead to success for learners. So much depends on generic teacher qualities and the quality with which any approach is delivered. With that in mind, the final chapter featured descriptions of three quite contrasting approaches: AIM (Accelerated Integrated Methodology), TPRS and the bilingual approach developed by Barry Smith and used at Michaela Community…

Continue reading at: