Haven't posted for a while! Haven't been having a rest though - have been working on some really interesting projects. One that is really getting going is our Linked Up project (for more information visit the Links into Languages website) and follow the green link on the left. It's a really excellent opportunity to work together with a few other schools locally on an aspect of language teaching that you want to pool ideas, resources and energies on. Ours is called Talking to Learn and we're focusing on generating more spontaneous target language talk in our classes, developing a range of tasks that we're trying out and then evaluating with classes. There are 5 schools involved and we're putting all of our materials up on a wiki - there are lots there already - please do feel free to download and use them - it would be great to know how well they work for you if you do, so please leave a comment here on the blog.
The project is gathering a lot of useful student voice data too. In the intial question from the project, students had to define what 'unplanned' or 'spontaneous' talk meant to them. The wordle above is made from the responses of about 300 students. As well as the resources we hope that by the end of the project we will have developed some useful ideas and strategies to help teachers develop spontaneous talk more systematically.