The Practical Things for TAPIF: Lesson planning secondary style

Am I the only one out here who thinks that the English language program in French high schools is based around some really vague and random ideas? Spaces and Exchanges, Myths and Heroes, the Notion of Progress, and Places and Forms of Power. I’m not saying these aren’t relevant topics, but… Wait, hold on. What do these even mean??!? Sometimes you just reach a point when you don’t have a clue how to come at these topics. Here are some resources to help get over your potential lesson planning blocks.

Kind of like Westley trying to figure out how to come at Fezzik

Websites:– A blog by an English teacher where you’ll find vocabulary, audio clips, and main ideas to cover on “spaces and exchanges,” “myths and heroes,” “the notion of progress,” and “places and forms of power.”

The Guardian– English newspaper, the link takes you to the section on teaching English

CNDP– Ellis Island and immigration (spaces and exchanges)

Carousel of Progress– That ride in Disney can be educational. The video is long, so you’ll have to choose a segment. (the notion of progress)

l’Académie de Versailles- Gives a definition of the notions and lessons to go with them. Progress, Myths and Heroes, Spaces and exchanges, Places and forms of power

La Clé des langues– Gives a definition of each topic breaking them down into more tangible ideas. There are sources on the site for English teaching less geared to the terminals as well.


Really, just go browse your library’s English as a foreign language section

La Grammaire anglaise pour les nuls- Geraldine Woods and Claude Raimond

My English is pathetic- Florent Gustaf and John Wisdom

An even better book I don’t currently have checked out which I can picture but name neither the title nor author. Sorry, guys.


Realia are teaching materials which are “real.” and authentic. They are actual objects and documents you might encounter in everyday life situations, making them very engaging because they are at once practical and a novelty. Try to think about these before leaving home, but you can always ask your friends and family to use the comic section of the Sunday paper to cushion your packages.

You can read Finding the North Star in France‘s post about using realia here.

Comic strips such as the Peanuts

Pictures and videos- Were you ever in marching band? Played football (américain)? They don’t really have those in France. Bring photos and videos. Talk about team work. Show them what an American high school looks like. Talk about extra-curriculars and the daily schedule.


TV guide

Maps- NYC subway or DC metro, map of your town or city


What are some of your lesson planning tips and sources?


About Quiche Lauren

A blog by an English teaching assistant in Nîmes (Académie de Montpellier) through the TAPIF program.
This entry was posted in Practical Things, Preparations, TAPIF, teach abroad, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Practical Things for TAPIF: Lesson planning secondary style

  1. Kelsy says:

    Great tips! I agree, the topics are really vague; Places and Forms of Power?! I use a couple of “Cambridge Copy Collection” books by the Cambridge University Press, but most of my ideas are found online. (Side note: I adore the Princess Bride. I always tell my students to watch it when they ask what my favorite movie is.)

    • Places and forms of power and spaces and exchanges are the most difficult for me because they’re just so vast. I’ll have to check out those books. The Princess Bride is my favorite movie as well!! Good taste ; )

  2. Nika says:

    Useful! Thanks for sharing. I just applied for next year and am waiting to hear back from Tapif.

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