Author on TES: French specialist, Betsy Belle

Sian Evans
12th May 2016
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Betsy Belle, who has uploaded over 100 resources, shares her experiences as an author and the challenges of creating language resources.

Can you tell us a bit about your professional background?

I have been teaching secondary French and Spanish for 10 years, as well as helping trainee teachers and delivering CPD. Truthfully, I have a bit of an obsession with creating resources so publishing content on TES was quite a natural thing. 

As an author, I think it is essential that I spend time in my classroom trialling, testing and developing my resources. After all, your class won’t lie to you – you can see it in their faces, their body language or quite often they'll just tell you if they aren’t enjoying it!

What have you learnt from publishing resources on TES over the last 12 months?

At the beginning, I was looking for a gap in the market so I covered topics, like extreme sports, which you don't find in the textbooks. However, I have had higher sales with more traditional content. I want to try unique subjects again because experience shows me they work in the classroom.

I have uploaded about 25 learning maps which contain all the vocabulary needed for a new topic. I think about the teachers as much as the pupils when creating resources, so when they buy a resource I want it to be good value for money. The fact that these learning maps can be used in a variety ways, for example as a differentiation tool or a supportive measure, makes them much better than a resource which only takes 10 minutes.

What is your favourite resource and why?

I wrote a story, with follow-up activities, about a little boy’s journey through space aimed at KS2. Although this is not where my expertise lies, the knowledge that most language teaching at primary school is not carried out by language specialists spurred me on.

I wanted to provide a resource with audio capability and I hope that helping teachers with pronunciation will boost their confidence. It certainly isn’t one of my best-selling resources, but it is unique and offers specialist help to non-specialists, so that's why I am proud of it. 

As an author of French resources, what are some of the challenges you face?

Making sure that the language is up-to-date! While language in a textbook is at a standstill, and only updated every five years or so, it is developing in the real world all the time. French is often adapting anglicisms due to the media and technological advancements, for example un selfie.

I regularly update my resources to make sure the content is current. As teachers have so little time, we can all be guilty of finding one resource and using it for years rather than recycling it. However, I believe that as educators we have a responsibility to give our pupils to most up-to-date content.

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