Language class shouldn’t be too hard read these tips

Language class

In a language class, especially in a language class for non-specialists in higher education in France, students’ motivation from the first meeting between teacher and learners is essential. The activities proposed in this sheet represent fun and communicative approach based on a solid pedagogy. Getting students to talk in the first two hours of the class has a dual objective: first, to break the ice and, second, to prepare the ground for a new pedagogy for most French students, learning by tasks and a communicative approach. You can also teach your kids about vocabulary words that start with c from our website.

The first contact

The first contact The presentations (name, first name, etc.) are expected at the beginning of the year and can be reassuring for some learners. They can also be traumatic for others and are often repetitive. Put yourself in the shoes of a first-year DUT student who is graduating from a Baccalaureate. He has barely opened his mouth in a language class who, from day one, has to talk in front of a chamber full of visitors. It may be safer to make the call, check the pronunciation of names, etc., and possibly ask a question or two of the less shy students.

Promotes a good atmosphere

During this time, pass-around card stock cards (A6 format) and a few large markers. The students fold them in half and write their first names on them. It seems to me that most language teachers agree that the use of first names is one of the elements that promote a good atmosphere. Students can keep these cards for a month while waiting for the teacher to memorize all the first names.

The place of the target

The place of the target language in the language room is a topic that often provokes discussions among teachers: most say that they only speak the target language in class, but few do. I think that the target language should be used exclusively, with a few exceptions, at the discretion of the teacher (administrative information, very complex explanations, jokes, discipline). For one hour or one and a half hour lessons, if the course is varied enough, learners should concentrate and limit themselves to speaking English. A five to ten-minute break for the two-hour classes will allow them to talk to French and relax. Article good

The first lesson

The first lesson usually consists of a short speech of two main parts: administrative expectations (program, grades, exams, etc.) and teacher expectations (We will cover learner expectations in the next part). Regarding the second part, it seems to me that there are three principles to communicate to learners, three principles that they must understand and remember:

Opportunity to speak and listen

It would help if you took every opportunity to speak and listen to the target language (in the language room and on the Internet, subtitled movies and DVDs, etc.). Second, if they understand everything, they have nothing more to learn! Third, we learn from our mistakes, in life as in a language room; a mistake can even help the whole class to learn, it is necessary to make it!

Needs analysis

7It may be true that we, as teachers who have often been in the same school for years, feel like we know the needs of our audience. Yet, it is likely that we do not know everything! In any case, the needs analysis is an excellent way to make the learners speak (in pairs, in small groups, or class) and to value their opinions. The document proposed in appendix 1 can be dealt with in part, depending on the time available. When it comes to, for example, continuing education or business English courses, this step is essential.

Find Someone Who.

This activity is a great classic and at other times of the year. By way of introduction, stress the importance for a language learner in the classroom (or a non-native in general) to ask questions. Then revise the closed questions ( yes / no questions ); the degree of complexity of the explanation can vary greatly depending on the class. You can add a description and a demonstration of the activity, a time limit, or a minimum / maximum number of names to search. Annex 2 is intend for learners who are teaching for the first time. Annex 3 is designing for students in the two years of computer science: everyone can create one according to their specialties.

Classroom English

During the previous activity (or when everyone is speaking), circulate discreetly around the room, noting the French words that the learners use. They often ask questions and give answers in English, but they also speak to each other in French. After the activity, ask them to translate the French statements into English. That is easy English or English most of the time, which will be very useful in the following lessons. While support writing is not always necessary for the classes of a more advanced level, some students in most classrooms are in need, especially in 1 year. We can find an example lexicon in appendix 4.

Questions/answers in pairs: Interview your Neighbor / Holidays

This time it’s open-ended questions ( Wh-word questions ). After a more or less detailed summary, ask the learners to get into pairs and fill in the boxes (see appendices 5 and 6). It is essential to point out that it is not a question of writing down one or two words in each box, but of finding a subject that interests the person opposite, and to fill in boxes by asking a lot of questions. After the activity, if time permits, a few students can talk about their pairs in front of the class. The two examples of activities in the annexes. Find someone the first is for students of 1 the year and the second to 2 e and three e year.

Possibility for working with open-ended questions

Another possibility for working with open-ended questions and for breaking the ice is to ask the class to ask you personal questions (not too many!), After having drawn up a list of words in WH – on the board. This activity allows learners to get to know the teacher a little bit, which can be exciting. So, as with all the others presented here, is to adapt it to the class.


The ideas presented in this sheet result from training in England and France and ten years of experience in private, secondary, and higher education. The approach adopted is, above all, communicative, which will often destabilize students in France. I believe that this is a positive thing and that before changing certain student habits. We must destabilize them. Although these activities constitute a complete sequence. So, nothing prevents the teacher from adapting them or sorting them according to their audience and pedagogy. What works well with a teacher and a given audience may not work. With another teacher and another audience.

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