Streamlining and Downsizing

Over the course of summer 2016, I am going to be streamlining my Big English Blog with a view to downsizing a little. It has become too big to handle.


You may have noticed that a large number of the tabs have disappeared. The information is still here – it has just been tidied up a bit. If you can’t locate what you are looking for, try the SEARCH box.

downsizing cartoon


I am also going to be relocating all training resources and information onto the sister blog :

You can find where to go by visiting the FORMATION tab and you will be pointed on your merry way to the correct place.

Any comments or questions always welcome via the CONTACT page.

Enjoy your visit and thanks for dropping by !!

I just created a wordle



I had heard people mentioning wordle in the past but never taken time to check it out. Here is my first wordle !! You paste text into a window and the gizmo creates a word cloud, or wordle, from your words. How thrilling  is that !!

A colleague just shared on line a collation of useful websites and links. If you would like to take a look, you need to click HERE.

Funology tomorrow

Tomorrow at 9.30 am sharp, I unleash the full power of my FUNOLOGY training course on my group of 22 unsuspecting trainees. I say “unsuspecting” but, as they are all volunteers for the experience, I guess they imagine they will be working on Pronunciation techniques in some shape or form, but I wonder what they are really expecting.

I absolutely ADORE teaching pronunciation skills to my pupils. I love when they make slight errors, turning candles into condoms, for example, and I love building on these slight slip-ups to move forwards. I consider myself privileged to have been granted an hour of “Accompagnement Personnalisé” with a class of 1èreSTI2D (not generally know for their love of languages), which I am able to spend working hard on their pronunciation skills.

I believe it to be truly the basis of language learning. We spend too little time on Listening skills, which are the key to then reproducing the sounds correctly. For a lot of phonology work, if you don’t actually understand what you are saying, it doesn’t matter as it is the sounds that count and not the meaning.

If we consider this film, found on YouTube by accident this summer, I think it is possible to see the importance of playing with sounds. This toddler is actually working on phonology but in a fun way – so, Funology. She is experimenting with the sounds, imitating her dad’s voice, trying out her own, all in the direction of becoming a speaker. For the moment, she is at the listening and imitating stage. I believe strongly that in language learning, we skip this stage and move on too quickly, burdening our learners with the written word too early.

More along these lines are part of my FUNOLOGY course and if you would like to know more, you might like to check out my FUNOLOGY blog HERE.

Blogging evolves into more blogging

I am becoming more and more interested in the role of blogging in teaching and have been enjoying reading a number of teacher blogs over this holiday period. It is actually quite addictive as everyone seems to do things quite differently and yet, at the same time, there is an echo of familiarity within the teacher blog. For me, as an English person living and teaching within the French school system, I appreciate this link with things back home and to be able to keep up to date.

The blogpost from @teachertoolkit Addiction to blogging was a true eye-opener for me this Saturday morning. Just clicking on my Twitter feed, to see what’s occurring, as they say, I got dragged into the article, thinking it looked like a good read. However, about a third of the way in, this paragraph hit me :

“If you are reading this. I am assuming the chances are, that you could be a cynosural-blogger with an addiction to social-media of sorts. Note the time you are reading this? Who are you with? Where are you you? What else could/should you be doing?”

It brought me up with a shock, making me take stock and remembering that my youngest son was waiting for me in the kitchen, with a mug of tea (in my favourite mug), some toast and the plan to make chocolate brownies together. So to answer the question “what else should you be doing ?”, well, I should be spending quality time with my youngest and not spending the time reading about blogging and blogging addiction.

I often talk about the “work-life balance thingy” and I find it one of the hardest parts of my life. Being married to a non-teacher, the time I spend preparing, marking and planning is time that I am not spending with my hubby, who is as free as a bird at weekends. I am not suggesting I am the only one who has to deal with this problem, but as the years go by, I am beginning to resent the pulls on my time more and more.

So, now the chocolate brownies are made,  the Xmas tree has been taken down. the fish tank has been cleaned out and the lunch is done and dusted, here is a bit of “me time”, a window for my blogging.Chocolate brwonies This blog is having visits from all over the globe – Malaysia and Indonesia today, Greece yesterday. I feel very proud to have such varied visitors – and of course, my students from school are popping in and out.

Blogging leads to more blogging – this post will lead to another and to another. I hope you will keep reading. And I hope I will be able to keep my eye on the ball, professionally but also, the “what is truly important” ball !! Let’s not forget what that really is.


A truly international blog

A quick glance at my blog stats tonight has revealed that my blog has been visited over 12,000 times since I first created it on July 4th 2012. That in itself is quite a mind-blowing statistic. But further clicking led me to see the following picture, which I am reproducing for you here, showing all the different countries where people have clicked onto my humble little blog.

blog stats 28 12 2013I hope you have found what you were looking for and if you would like to drop me a line, a message or just let me know who you are, you can contact me via the form below.