While preparing a lesson for a GCSE French student this morning, I came across this excellent set of reading strategies on an Edexcel document. It’s too good not to share!
The most difficult skill?
Having seen lots of posts on social media and received a number of messages about how to improve listening skills (especially since the release of the latest GCSE results), it seems really clear that this is the skill that both teachers and students alike struggle with the most. So, how can you improve your listening skills, either to pass an exam or simply to be able to understand real-life conversations in a foreign language? How can teachers help their students to develop their listening skills, without simply doing ‘test’ after ‘test’ – i.e. describe the task, play the recording, repeat the recording, go through the answers, rinse and repeat – which, let’s face it, is pretty boring for everyone!
Ideas for good practice
I’ve reflected on my ideas for good practice in this area and what follows are some of the things I do to help both myself and my students become better listeners in a foreign language. The tips here are intended as practice in lessons, rather than what to do during the exam, but if activities like these are done regularly, an actual listening exam should be a doddle!
OK, so you might not be quite as excited as these kids… but you get the idea!
I’ve always found the start of the new academic year to be a great time for making resolutions… much more so than January, which in the world of education is in the middle of the year and dark and cold and somehow already feels too late to be making resolutions. However, in September, I’m full of energy after a lovely summer holiday, excited about teaching new classes and meeting new students and colleagues, and generally much more motivated to get the shiny, fresh, brand new academic year off to a great start!
So, with all this abundant energy, I’ve made 3 ‘September Resolutions’ to focus on this academic year…