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Outside the Café Français in Surgères

Outside the Café Français in Surgères

I am Steve Smith and I taught French for over 30 years in English secondary schools. I did my first degree in French and Linguistics at the University of Reading (UK), my PGCE at the west London Institute of Higher Education (University of London), later an MA at the Institute of Education in London. I was trained in the London University "oral approach" (once described as "death by question and answer") which goes back to Henry Sweet. I wrote my MA dissertation on conscious and unconscious second language learning, with a particular focus on the work of Stephen Krashen.

I began my career at Tiffin School for boys in Kingston upon Thames. I then worked at Hampton School before becoming a Head of Modern Languages at Ripon Grammar School in North Yorkshire where I worked until I retired in 2012.

I began in 2002 as a means of sharing worksheets and links with colleagues around the world. Before retiring I had decided to turn the site into a low price subscription service so that I could continue making resources, something I enjoy doing very much.

The resources reflect my belief in a structured oral approach to language teaching based on considerable, if not exclusive, use of the target language. I believe in a combination of the "comprehension" approach espoused by Krashen and a commitment to structured grammar teaching through presentation and controlled practice. I have always believed that teachers can combine a communicative approach with explicit grammar teaching.

Subscribers to come from all over the world, although mainly from British secondary schools. If you are new to the site, do have a look at the many free samples, teacher's guide, blog and links pages.

Apart from writing and blogging, I am currently working with AQA on new A-levels, I help moderate the MFL Resources Yahoo forum and I have led training sessions with the PGCE students at York University.

I am married to Elspeth Jones, Emerita Professor of Internationalisation in Higher Education and have a son, Joel, recently graduated in physics at Manchester University and now working for the Students' Union there. In my spare time I sing in barbershop choruses and play the drums in a local pub band. We make regular visits to our house in the Charente Maritime département in France.