Walking and talking in French

June 25, 2017

Parlez-vous francais?

Aimez-vous la campagne de Debyshire?

Walking and talking in French is a new group which meets to chat over a gentle walk.

 NEXT Event  Wednesday  28 June   6.30- 9.00

Meet at Middleton Top Car Park (DE4 4LS)  for a randonnée en français.   Let’s chat in French – beginner or expert, everybody welcome – and enjoy a lovely walk.  Bring an evening picnic and a flask.

High Peak Trail

Cost £7 per person

To join phone or text Alastair Clark 07847417027

sign-up to https://www.meetup.com/Walking-and-talking-in-French/

Derby learners work with French partners on video project

April 24, 2017

During 2016 adults learning French with Derby Adult Learning Service got stuck-in to making videos with a team learning video skills with our partners organisation in Mauriac in the rural heart of the French Massif Centrale.

Both teams made films about their own towns. All were in French and we celebrated them in June.

A Derby based team sharpened further their skills with a time-shift film about French -speaking Normans in Duffield Castle.


The Derby team travelled to Mauriac for an intensive 48 hours making another historical short film but this time theFrebch hosts were played by the English and the French peoole played English visitors.


???? Ah well! We did think we would try something a bit different in 2017. We plan to sit this year’s film into scenes and give a small group of 2 French and 2 Derby learners the chance to write the 3 minute script.

Ca vous interesse ? Initiament contactez


Quatre jours à Tunis

April 6, 2017

Grace  à mes amis du British Council et leurs partenaires tunisiens je viens de passer quatre jours à Tunis avec des formateurs tunisiens du Centre Nationale de Formation Continue et de Promotion Professionelle

Après une présentation sur les MOOCs et Moodle.  Nous avons fait  un atelier ensemble où nous avons fait des activités de création de contenu pratiques d’informer nos discussions sur les démarches vers les cours stages de quatre semaines en ligne. propose

Al-BeardNous avons parlé des méthodologies disponibles en ligne et les différences entres les xMOOCs et cMOOCs .

Le Plan d’Action proposé s’agit de 3 stages en ligne de 4 semaines sur matières différent.

J’attende nouvelles des résultats mais entre temps je propose certains liens d’aider le processus.

Une discussion au tours des MOOCs

 Open  Educational Resources


Les Ressources Educatives Libres

User-centred design
Lire cette article


Les MOOCs à decouvrir

Avec commentaire de mon collegue Vincent Poyet – Mauriac France.

‘Festival le Can’ 30 janvier – Derby Moor 19.30

January 18, 2017

A warm welcome to anyone who would like to join us for this evening celebrating the achievements of the groups creating short films as an informal way of developing language skills in French.    FREE and Open to All.




Les parisiennes et l’escalier magique

November 24, 2016

Les parisiennes et l'escalier magique from alastair clark on Vimeo.

Roaring Success for Social Enterprise

November 17, 2016

I was delighted, one again, to be invited by the University of Derby to play the role of ‘Dragon’ in an exercise where students researched and planned social enterprises to address social needs that they had identified.



Students on the Social Care degree course had worked hard to produce viable self sustaining projects only to be faced with tough questioning from me and my fellow dragons. They largely performed very well and gave confident and credible answers to most of our questions.

This year my fellow dragons were  Graham Masters, Chair of the Nottingham Play Forum and  Christine Woodhall, co-ordinator of the Student Career Hub. The excellent project was devised and run by Seniot Lecturer John Bowie.

Make a Video in Mauriac – en francais! 1-3 December 2016

September 23, 2016


A chance to visit a French community with an established partnership with learners of French in Derby.  We will visit the town of Mauriac and create a video together in the French language.

Who for?
This is open to anyone who wants to practise their French at any level. For example current or previous members of French classes and their families and friends.

What will I get from participating?
This  experience will give you a 48 hours experience in an authentic French environment.  You can practise your existing French and learn new phrases.

The trip will leave East Midlands Airport Thursday  1 December and return to East Midlands  Saturday 3 December.

How much does it cost?
The visit is run as an event coordinated but not organised by Alastair Clark. This is not an official event of Derby City Council.  We estimate that costs will be about £220 per person see below.

What are the other costs?
Participants will also be responsible for meals and for travel insurance.

How does it work?
Initially you confirm your commitment to participate with a message to Alastair Clark (see below). Once we are sure that we have a minimum number of participants this will be confirmed and you will book your own flights directly with Ryanair.  Hotel bookings and local transport will then be reserved by Alastair Clark and you will be asked to pay on arrival.

How many ?
The group from Derby  will be between 6 and 10 participants and we will work with a similar group in Mauriac.


Thursday 1 Decembre

Ibis budget Limoges (F)
14 Rue de Chinchauvaud


Friday 2 December
Auv’ Hotel

4 rue du 11 novembre

Rooms: 50 Euros plus 8 Euros breakfast
Twin Rooms 60 Euros plus 8 Euros breakfast


Once you have a confirmed place then book your flights with ryanair.com


THURS 1 December

Flight FR1632
East Midlands  18.40  CHANGED TIMES
Limoges 21.20


Saturday 3 December
Flight FR1633

Limoges   16.20
East Midlands  17.00

Recommendations to keep price low:
1) Last trip everyone managed with cabin baggage so did not pay for a bag in the hold
2)  The web site will try to encourage you to pay to book a seat. This is your choice but it is cheaper if you accept a random seat (its is a short flight) 
3) However, you should have some travel insurance for this trip. (If flights are cancelled Ryanair will pay the very minimum.) We can discuss this at the briefing meeting. 


REVISED Draft Programme (following Ryan Air change) 

Thursday 1 December –
17.00  Meet East Midlands Airport and take 18.40 flight to Limoges CHANGED

21.20 Arrive Limoges CHANGED


22.00 Hotel at Limoges  CHANGED

Friday 2 December
11.00- meet partner group at Mediatheque of Monastery  and discuss video project

12.30- – lunch

13.30- 17.00 – complete film.

17.00- free time.

19.30 evening meal.

Saturday 3 December

9.00 free time in market and town centre

12.00 depart Mauriac

14.30 arrive airport

16.20 Flight

17.00  arrive East Midlands airport.


How to confirm your interest?

email  alastair@aclark.eu or text or call 07847417027

Also please contact Alastair for any queries.



Price estimates

1 December  

East Mids 7.20

Limoges  10.05

Ryanair price

(no cabin baggage)

booked and p[aid


1 December  

transport in France

100 Euros
1 December Hotel – Limoges



44 Euros
2 December Hotel – Mauriac


50 Euros Single

60 Euros Twin

3 December Limoges 15.50

East Midlands 16.30



Ryanair price
(No cabin baggage)



Where do you stand on kilts?

July 9, 2016

Hi Alastair,

Just a note to keep you updated. I retired from Teesside Uni last year. However, as I can’t get by on a pension of £96 per month I’m freelancing including some consultancy for the Uni itself. My leaflet is attached. Please forward to all and sundry ( a well-known firm of solicitors)

On another front entirely I have come OUT of retirement – see my second attachment.

Steve Thompson
Digital Consultant


Video collaboration Derby / Mauriac Projet – Partage

July 6, 2016


Ce projet a duré de Janvier – Juin 2016. Un groupe d’adultes qui apprennent le français à Derby créé une courte vidéo en français sur Derby. Un groupe d’adultes qui apprennent des compétences en vidéo à Mauriac, France, a créé une vidéo en français sur Mauriac . Le résultat: Beaucoup d’apprentissage Relation amicale Un désir d’ en savoir plus . Aussi …. deux superbes vidéos


Le résultat:

  • Beaucoup d’apprentissage
  • Relation amicale
  • Un désir d’ en savoir plus .
  • Aussi …. deux superbes vidéos .

This project ran from January – JUne 2016. A group of adults who were learning French in Derby created a short video in French about Derby. A group of adults who were learning video skills in Mauriac, France, created a video in French about Mauriac.


The result:

  • Lots of learning
  • Friendship
  • A desire to learn more.
  • Also…. two great videos


Bienvenue a Mauriac

Mauriac+CC from alastair clark on Vimeo.



Bienvenue a Derby

Bienvenue-a-DerbyV6 from alastair clark on Vimeo.



MOOC helps me Understand Language !

May 1, 2016

I was really please to complete  the four week MOOC (Massive Open Online Course)  on Understanding  Language.

Run by University of Southampton and the British Council using the Futurelearn platform I found the four weeks of study really did get my brain-box working!



I was interested to improve my own practice as a teacher of French and to help my own attempts to improve my German and Italian.

So what did I take away? Well quite a lot confirmed stuff I was aware of but maybe had not considered so seriously until now.

  • Language is about meaning not words.  I always have learners who seek the security of a word for word translation of idiomatic English phrases. I will make more of this notion of meaning in future
  •  Classroom culture is vital. I always seek to create a fun and relaxed atmosphere but one video input did suggest that there would be ‘no gain without pain’ ! I rather resented this notion but on reading a bit more from Prof Dylan Wiliam (outside of the MOOC) I am convinced of the value of creating ‘desirable difficulty’ .     MY learners can expect me to introduce this notion in discussion (en francais bien sur)
  • Naturalistic and formal language learning.  This was a division  which seemed obvious but of course the real message is to use target language throughout the formal lesson and you get ‘naturalistic’ learning as a superb bonus.


  • A whole week was devoted to technology in teaching and some useful tools and techniques were shared.  Of course I warmed to this but did feel that the only course failing was their use of video which was patchy – some excellent well thought-out presentations but others where I just fast-forwarded the ramblings.


Now the last week! Well here we looked at English. Well I hadn’t come on the course to look at English. I neither teach or learn it.  Discussions focussed on the development of English as a Lingua Franca   (ELF) and if this is seen as a different learning goal from English to be used with native speakers then maybe ELF does not require anglophone cultural context or native English teachers. As a  non native speaker who teachers French I can sort of see the issues raised here but frankly they were of passing interest and not central to my work. The ELF issue that does impact on my work  is the  discourse that heads for the linguistic black hole of:  ‘ they all speak English anyway’ .

The best bit: Well it was the forums. There were some great discussions – I enjoyed learning from other learners,