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One of the most enjoyable and inspiring books I have read this year has been Sir Ken Robinson's "Out of our Minds"  and my ref...

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Real writing

Why get your language students used to navigating web pages which are largely populated by native speakers of the language they are struggling to comprehend? Isn't the use of techncial language and the culturally specific content only going to confuse them?


But don't forget, many will be very familiar with finding their way around a website, they will have the contextual understanding to work out which button does what. And they can and will help others. Encourage some exploration.

You never know what they may discover and it is all happening in real time!

I have used the French jobs portal ANPE as the starting point for a very real work related vocabulary activity and for a deeper dive into the skills necessary for students wanting to prepare themselves for life in the real world. The short video clips such as this one may be linguistically challenging but they are well sign posted for key words and the similarities between French and UK jobs clear. This opened up their minds to considering placements abroad  and these students had the equivalent on GCSE level French. 

Collecting shopping vocabulary using a supermarket site makes a lovely homework task, you can rest assured that browsing in French will continue longer than the usual 5 minutes! Use the Pointless quiz game metaphore and see who can bring back the item that no-one else found. 

So don't assume that all language your learners come across has to be carefully pre-screened. Our brains are hard wired to work out language, we may only bother if the task is real and sufficiently relevant. 

Ayez confiance!


  1. and here I thought you taught English! you teach French?

    1. yes indeed! I have also taught Spanish at various points in my career but I never wanted to teach English, it is just my mother tongue :)