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A colleague in the English department recently invited an eminent French poet to give a talk to his second-year class. For 40 minutes the guest gave an interesting discourse, in near-perfect English, on the fascination of poetry, the stimulation of travel and the importance of experiential learning.

At the end of his talk he offered to answer pupils' questions. There was a pause before one young boy picked up the courage.

"Sir," he asked respectfully. "How much did your trainers cost?" We pay Pounds 30 for each Soundbite we publish. Send yours, of about 150 words, to Sarah Bayliss, 'The TES',Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY. Fax: 0171 782 3200.

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