The Raynaud English Course (Part 2)

For teachers all over the world

It was essential for me that this book should be written in English and not in French since the ideas I put forward are not restricted to ESL in France. Although some of the teaching materials in the Document Annex contain vocabulary lists with translations into French and exercises requiring translation from French into English, this digital resource book can, in my opinion, be of use to English teachers all over the world. Furthermore, teachers of other languages such as Spanish, Italian,, German, Russian and so on may find these ideas or recipes useful in making their courses livelier and more interactive. Second-language teachers all over the planet can read English, which is, at least for the time being, the lingua franca of our time.

What I hope

Even if I speak at length about the use of audio language labs or multi-media devices, I am certain most teachers would be able to adopt most of the activities and exercises proposed in this book in their courses, even if they do not have access to sophisticated audio-visual equipment.
I sincerely hope that reading about tutorials and other person-to-person activities such as the two-student interviews may incite teachers to team up and ask their institutions for much-needed funds for audio-visual equipment and the use of computer rooms with access to the Internet for instance.
It is not always easy to work with others, I do admit. But collaboration leads to real teamwork, and the latter is the second most essential key to success after motivation. I will be speaking at length about the numerous advantages of working in teams. I hope to convince more than one that teamwork enhances student motivation in the most wondrous way.

The design of the book

I would also like to point out that for the sake of clarity that I start off with my basic philosophy on teaching foreign languages, followed by the story of my personal experience as a teacher and the importance I attach to intensive pairwork. Then I go on to discuss the three basic pillars of my teaching: the tutorials, the lab program, and the core curriculum.
The remaining chapters are devoted to explanations I have often given when colleagues have come to me for advice or asked for my opinion on a particular subject. These subjects include testing, writing teaching materials, assigning written work, judging participation, enforcing class discipline, using pair work techniques or filming students, to name just a few. In the Document Annex, teachers will find original teaching material I have written on my own or together with colleagues. The names of these colleagues are to be found on the acknowledgment page. I have indicated the sources or references to documents, which I adapted so that teachers may easily purchase the original material I refer to and use them together with my adapted versions.

The hyperlinks and the Document Annex

The teaching materials in the Document Annex are not presented in the same order as they are referred to in this book. However, the references, in the form of hyperlinks on the pages of the book, will enable teachers to click on the links connected to these documents, thus opening up these files on a computer screen and then print the material directly in A4 format. If, on the other hand, teachers are searching for a particular document or type of exercise, they will find such files almost immediately, as they are grouped according to categories in the Tree Structure of the Document Annex.

Designing a syllabus

The idea behind this Document Annex is quite simple. Often teachers wish to set up a detailed program, but they do not know where or how to start. There is so much material available today that they have difficulties choosing. At the same time, they may have the urge to write their own exercises and activities to suit their students, but they don’t exactly know how to go about it. What I am offering teachers or teams of teachers is a chance to design their own personal, innovative syllabus. First, they can select from the Document Annex different grammar and vocabulary exercises, listening comprehension texts. Second, and perhaps more importantly, can make use of pages with instructions concerning tutorials, talks, thank you speeches, roundtables, "brain trainings," surveys, projects, training period reports, CVs, letters, etc. without having to photocopy, cut sections and paste parts together. They don’t need to retype any of these materials. They can make the necessary modifications, and their final files will suit their specific needs.

Creating personalized documents

Some documents cannot be modified since they are PDF files. However, most are in WORD and can thus be adapted. In other words, teachers can change in a description of their courses, the names of institutions, the number of class hours, etc. Parts of exercises can be altered or purely eliminated. After having made the desired changes, teachers will find that the personalized documents will look very professional. Furthermore, grids for written assignments such as computerized Review Sheets, which the students download from their institution’s intranet, have been included to save the teacher the time it takes to make up all those little boxes. (Reminder: Intranet refers to a local network with access restricted to authorized people.)

Examples of detailed instructions

Among the documents in the Document Annex, there are PDF files in which I describe the course I set up and its curriculum. These pages are given as illustrations. I have even included some sample assignment pages and explanations of the participation grade, as well as a few end-of-term exams (both written and oral). I hope all this material will inspire teachers to write their personal instructions according to the particular needs and wishes of these students. The instructions I give may at first seem far too long since I tend to go into detail, for instance, as far as formal talks are concerned. But these explanatory pages are intended as class material but should be read by the students on their own as assignments and extra reading practice. I can assert without a doubt that students felt reassured when we told them they could relax during class time and stop worrying, because if they had not understood everything we said in class, they could always go over the instructions in the booklets at home. This tactic was to avoid any possible misunderstandings since we spoke to our students exclusively in English, even outside of class. Students added that even if they had understood everything during class, they were still happy to have the written instructions when a week later they sat down to prepare an activity and had forgotten much of what we had said. In any case, I have always felt it is not enough to "tell" students what we require of them. It is far better to give them the same instructions in writing as well.

Personal PDF examples

Some readers may wonder why I have included items such as my first-year curriculum and examples of calendars, sign up sheets, assignment pages, evaluation grids and student review sheets in PDF. Two reasons motivated me. First, when explaining activities, I have tried to be as precise and direct as possible, and no one will deny that a picture is worth a thousand words. I have always thought that showing examples is the best way to teach or convince an audience. Secondly, I had often felt very frustrated when colleagues talked in general terms about what works for them and even given examples of exercises without explaining how they go about using them in their teaching. It is all fine and good to hear that students participate in debates or present projects, but what is interesting is learning what kind of advice the teacher should give and how they should evaluate student work. I may give the impression of being too wordy, but my intention is only to be as frank as possible with my readers.

Documents are dense

I would like to point out that the documents, particularly, the PDF files, are fairly dense, in other words, there are often many, many words per page. This layout was chosen on purpose. I have always proceeded in this manner since I believe photocopying leads to a tremendous waste of paper. I feel we should help save trees to protect our environment, and consequently, I try to use each page to a maximum. I wish to make another vital remark. The presentation of most of the documents—apart from the PowerPoint presentations and the films—is very sober and only in black and white. Teachers may regret the lack of color on these pages. However, it is far less expensive to photocopy in black and white; and furthermore, I feel students at the university level prefer to work on documents that are discrete in color and do not seem to come from high school or even junior high school manuals. The lack of Technicolor has never seemed to bother my students. In fact, it is far better when the students themselves add color to the classroom environment by projecting beautiful colored slides on overhead projectors or video projectors using PowerPoint technology, for instance. You can see examples of their work in the Document Annex.

Student artwork

Another thing I would like to add is that I have always refrained from including cartoons or drawings from magazines or books. First, this is against copyright laws. Second, what the students like to see in the booklets and what they look at and read with delight are all the drawings with captions they and their classmates have produced. I am referring to their projects, futuristic cars, invitations to seminars with hilarithaous names for guest speakers or other forms of humor they or fellow students have come up with either in their group or other groups. When my colleagues and I hand out a new booklet with reduced reproductions of the students’ artwork or amusing texts, the students laugh out loud and point enthusiastically to countless pages. Their enthusiasm is a joy to behold. In the Document Annex, I have included just a few examples of student art that teachers might want to use when starting out and before they have received contributions from their students. They are found in the Document Annex (cf. 01_Explanations_for_Students / J._Student_Art_Work / Booklet_Covers, Projects_Hand_Drawn, Solar_Powered_Car). One final point, the margins are quite wide since I have noticed students like to have space to make annotations or add stars or arrows when they are reviewing for an exam or preparing for an oral presentation.

Free photocopying

Teachers are free to photocopy and use the all material in the Document Annex with their classes as they wish, either as separate sheets or bound together as booklets, which is more convenient for students. I only ask that they keep the copyright indications found at the bottom of the page and purchase the textbooks, cassettes, or video documents that are recommended. Furthermore, I would appreciate it, if teachers would indicate to their institutions—as we do in France—the pages used and the number of photocopies made. Many institutions now have copyright arrangements with publishing houses. There is no fee for the teacher, but funds paid by universities to help authors like myself to continue publishing our work. My ultimate wish is that teachers, using the ideas in this book and the teaching materials in the accompanying Document Annex, will, in turn, share their experiences. I hope the QualityTime-ESL approach will, at least in part, inspire new generations of foreign language teachers.

Greater cooperation among teachers

Now as I have retired, I have tried in this book to convey those personal ideas I wish to pass on to teachers, young and old alike, who enjoy and love teaching as much as I do. It is my hope this book will be a step towards greater communication and cooperation among English teachers around the world.

More information about Marianne Raynaud’s book QualityTime-ESL: The Digital Resource Book 2.0.

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