Category Archives: Languages

“The computer is not working”: being let down by technology

I have always hated to rely on technology. Maybe it is because I grew up in a place where computers and electric devices never seemed to work properly, and repairs took ages to complete. Before you start making assumptions about … Read More »

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A lecture is a performance: do not forget your audience

Giving a lecture is not very dissimilar to a performance. In both activities, it is not only important what you say, but how you deliver it. Your movements, your body language, the way you project your voice… they can never … Read More »

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Using film in the language class

One of the biggest advantages of teaching foreign languages is that you can include “fun” learning resources, such as songs or videos. Listening exercises always make the lesson more entertaining. There is plenty of audiovisual material specifically designed for the … Read More »

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Do not panic. It is just grammar

As soon as I uttered the sentence, the classroom became the setting of a horror film. Thunder and lightning were heard in the distance. My language students’ faces were invaded by terror. What had I said? What horrible threat had … Read More »

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What happens when everything goes wrong with your teaching?

I am lucky enough to have taught French language, history, politics and culture at three separate institutions over the past four years in different guises. I am passionate about France, the French and pretty much every aspect of modern French … Read More »

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Latin lingua viva est: why the Classics are necessary

I recently read an article on a national newspaper, mocking the suggestion of the Minister of Education that state school pupils should study Latin and Greek. The author (a comedian acting as a journalist for one day) lists the (apparently) … Read More »

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“What for?”: when languages were an unpopular option

Around fifteen years ago, I met a girl whose friends deemed crazy because she decided to study Arab (“What for?”). She ended having the last laugh when an oil company hired her as a translator, immediately after graduation. We live … Read More »

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