Des idées de problématiques pour présenter les notions

Question Mark and Thinker

Vous êtes nombreux à me demander de vous aider à trouver des idées de « problématique » (key questions) pour vos oraux. Il n’est pas évident de proposer une problématique qui pourrait être utilisée par tout le monde car vous avez tous étudié des textes et documents différents. Je vais donc plutôt vous donner quelques idées de problématiques simples par notion… à vous de les adapter à vos textes et documents utilisés en cours.

Je vais mettre à jour l’article régulièrement – comme toujours sur le blog n’hésitez pas à proposer d’autres problématiques dans la partie « commentaires » – ça pourrait toujours inspirer les autres!

Myths and Heroes

What is a modern-day/contemporary hero? What impact do they have on our lives?

How can an ordinary person make the world a better place?

Why are sports heroes so important in today’s society?

To what extent does Barack Obama represent the black American dream?

To what extent did Rosa Parks/ Martin Luther King/Malcolm X contribute to the improvement of black American’s rights?

To what extent do myths represent society’s values?

In today’s society to what extent is there a need for myths, something to believe in that is greater than we are?

What is the role of the media in the making of heroes?

Is it useful for society to have « superheroes »?

What is the role of the media in the rise and fall of certain « heroes »?

Why are myths and heroes so important to our society?

In what way are heroes portrayed in Hollywood movies? How does this reflect our society today?

From rags to riches: Self-made men/women – how did they do it?

The Queen of England : why do the British love her so much?


Spaces and Exchanges

What drives people to leave their country to go and live in another country?

Is the American Dream still alive? What attracts immigrants to live in the USA?

Has the Olympic ideal of fair play and tolerance been now replaced by money, drugs and politics?

What are the different conflicts that have shaped the US society? What effect have they had on the USA as we know it today?

What are the advantages of moving to another country to study or find work?

To what extent does travelling to a foreign country broaden our horizons?

What impact does globalisation have on international exchanges?

Why do refugees choose to leave their countries? What difficulties do they face?

In what way does travelling broaden the mind?

What difficulties do immigrants face when they arrive in a new country?


Idea of Progress

To what extent does new technology isolate people?

Are social networking sites a threat to our private lives?

How has the internet modified our social behaviour and changed the way we communicate?

To what extent does progress change our vision of the others and of the world?

To what extent has technological progress made an impact on our environment?

Working from home – is it the end of productivity or the future of work?

How does modern technology affect today’s society? Does it have a positive or a negative effect?

To what extent has social progress over the past century led to an improvement in women’s rights?

What sort of social progress was made in the 20th century? How did it come about?

In what ways has progress made modern-day life better?

How has the internet changed today’s world?

How did the Civil Rights movement bring about progress in the USA?

What major technological/scientific breakthroughs have been made in the last decades and how have they changed our lives?

Are peoples rights progressing or regressing?


Places and forms of power

In what way does sport have the power to unite people in a way that little else can?

« Whoever controls the media controls the mind (Jim Morrison) » – how much power do the media have over us?

When power is misused how do people rebel against it?

In what ways do the social networks have power to influence public opinion?

To what extent can we say that schools and universities are instruments of power?

How powerful is the NRA (National Rifle Association)? How has it consistently succeeded in defeating new gun control legislation in the USA?

How have civil rights activists used nonviolent protest to bring about change in the USA?

Money is power and rare are the heads that can withstand the possession of great power (Benjamin Disraeli) : how far is this quote true?

What are the limits to power? In what ways can power be abused?

To what extent can education be a key to power?

With social networks and internet is it possible to limit the power of the media?

How do people exercise their power? What are the different tools used?

Is progress always positive?


Thank you « chbo78 » for suggesting these videos! They really help illustrate the negative aspects of the idea of progress: what negative impacts can progress have on our society and on our planet?

« Can we auto-correct humanity? »

« Dear future generations: sorry » 

« Why I think this world should end »

This is what I want this blog to be about: helping each other and sharing ideas (without paying!!)

Keep contributing!!

Another interesting report on the bad effects a smartphone can have on your sleep:

Documents pour l’épreuve à l’oral


On me demande souvent des idées d’articles ou de documents pour l’oral. Je vais essayer de rajouter des articles/documents régulièrement (en précisant pour quelle notion ça pourrait servir). Si vous avez des documents intéressants vous pouvez également les partager dans la partie « commentaires ».

1. « International Happiness Day » (20th March) – et le fait que L’ONU va publier une liste de chansons pour rendre les gens « heureux » – Watch the video with Ban Ki Moon here  (cliquez sur les photos pour voir les vidéos)

(Notion: Spaces and Exchanges – trying to improve life in other countries)

2. World Water Day (22nd March)

Watch this video and learn about the world water crisis. What can we do to help change the situation?

Read the article here

(Notions: spaces and exchanges/idea of progress – how our environment is affected by climate change)

3. Living on Mars

Mars One is a project to send people to live on Mars. Watch this video to learn more about the mission

(Notion: idea of progress – what does this mean for our future? What can we learn from this mission?)

Vos avis sur vos épreuves orales

Vous avez déjà passé l’épreuve orale? Vous pouvez partager vos avis et commentaires sur le déroulement de votre épreuve ici!! Ca peut être utile pour ceux qui doivent bientôt la passer et qui se posent encore des questions sur le contenu.

Comment ça s’est passé? Avez-vous trouvé ça difficile? Quelle partie était la plus difficile? Avez-vous pu répondre aux questions?


Some quotes to illustrate the different notions


Believe in yourselves 😉

Here are some other useful quotes  – food for thought!

Myths and Heroes

– “The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example. » – Benjamin Disraeli, British Prime Minister and Novelist


Quote by Christopher Reeve – otherwise known as Superman – who was paralysed after a horse-riding accident.

– « Myths which are believed in tend to become true » – George Orwell, English novelist and journalist


Spaces and Exchanges

–  » the exchange of students…should be vastly expanded…Information and education are powerful forces in support of peace. Just as war begins in the minds of men, so does peace »  – Dwight D Eisenhower, 34th President of the USA

– « A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many want in.. And how many want out » – Tony Blair, British Prime Minister

– Everywhere immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American life – John F Kennedy


Idea of Progress

– « All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem » – Martin Luther King Junior

– « Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything » – George Bernard Shaw, Nobel Peace Prize for Literature 1925

– « Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people » – George Bernard Shaw, Nobel Peace Prize for Literature 1925

– « Disobedience in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man’s original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and rebellion » – Oscar Wilde


Places and Forms of Power


“Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent than the one derived from fear of punishment.” Mahatma Gandhi

“The day the power of love overrules the love of power, the world will know peace.” Mahatma Gandhi



téléchargement (3)                                             téléchargement (2)

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Les questions à l’épreuve d’expression orale


Pour la deuxième partie de votre épreuve d’expression orale l’examinateur vous posera des questions en lien avec la notion que vous avez choisie.

It is impossible to know exactly what questions you could be asked but you can think about the sort of questions that could be asked and prepare your answers beforehand. If you are more at ease with a notion, try to mention it in your conclusion!

Here are just a few ideas :

Myths and Heroes

Who do you consider to be your hero? Why?

Is it a sportsperson, an actor, an artist, a pop star, a member of your family, an ordinary hero such as a fireman? Why is this person considered a role model?

What are his/her qualities?

Why are myths and heroes important to our society?

Do you think that myths and heroes can teach us a lesson?

Can you think of an anti-hero? Can you talk about their behaviour?

What myth does your document remind you of?


Places and Forms of Power

How do people exercise their power? What tools can they use?

What in your opinion is the most dangerous form of power?

Can you give an example of a power struggle?

What are the limits to power? How is power abused?

Why do people need to exercise their power on others?

How do people exercise their power on others? (revolution, riots, demonstrations, disobedience)


Idea of progress

In what way has progress made life better? Can you give examples?

Do you think that progress is always positive? Can there be a negative side to progress?

What do you think are the most important inventions of the past 50 years?

How has internet changed today’s world?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of progress? Illustrate your ideas/give examples.

Would you like to be able to travel in time? Would you prefer to move forward to the future or travel back in time?


Spaces and Exchanges

Would you like to travel abroad? Which country would you like to live in? Why?

Have you ever travelled abroad? Which countries have you visited?

What did you learn from your trips abroad?

What kind of exchanges are there in today’s world? (trade, financial, sport, social networking, education…..)

What impact does globalisation have on exchanges?

How are these exchanges influenced by modern technologies? Do the new technologies make exchanges easier?

What do we gain from these exchanges? What do people to immigrate to another country bring to the new country? (examples)

Who benefits the most from these exchanges?

What is the American Dream? Is it still true today?


Vous trouverez quelques fiches de conseils pour l’épreuve sur ce site:

Sites utiles pour vous aider

– Sur le site d’Annabac vous trouverez toutes les informations sur l’épreuve d’anglais au BAC

– Sur le site de l’Académie de la Martinique vous trouverez un « kit de survie » pour l’épreuve écrite

– Des conseils sur toutes les parties de l’épreuve sur le site de l’atelier d’anglais du Lycée Margueritte

– You will find lots of interesting ideas and links for all the different notions on this blog: Food for thought from Bucharest

Si vous en connaissez d’autres n’hésitez pas à les proposer en commentant cet article!!

Modalités de l’épreuve d’expression orale


Qu’évalue-t-elle ?

La capacité de l’élève à exposer un point de vue pertinent durant la première partie de l’épreuve et à prendre part à une conversation durant la deuxième partie.

La première partie

  • Brièveté : Format bref. Il n’est pas attendu un exposé sur la notion, mais une présentation des documents relatifs à cette notion qui auront été étudiés en classe en faisant le lien entre eux de manière intelligente.
  • Structuration : Présentation succincte, mais construite.
  • Contenu : Le candidat exprime un point de vue pertinent par rapport à la notion présentée en évitant les généralités, en mentionnant les aspects abordés en cours et en amorçant une réflexion personnelle sur la notion. Cela implique notamment qu’il maîtrise les champs lexicaux correspondants.
  • Documents : Il n’est pas prévu que l’élève apporte des documents, sauf en série L et pour la LV3.
  • Dérives : Attention au bachotage !

La deuxième partie

« Cette prise de parole en continu sert d’amorce à une conversation conduite par le professeur, qui prend appui sur l’exposé du candidat. Cette phase d’interaction n’excède pas 5 minutes. Pour chaque candidat, le professeur conduit son évaluation à partir de la fiche d’évaluation et de notation correspondant à la langue (LV1 ou LV2) présentée. Cette fiche a le même statut qu’une copie d’examen. À l’issue de cette évaluation, le professeur formule une proposition de note et une appréciation. Cette proposition de note ainsi que l’appréciation ne sont pas communiquées au candidat. »

Au cours de cet échange, le professeur pourra par exemple demander au candidat de clarifier des points restés obscurs dans l’exposé, de préciser certains aspects, d’illustrer son propos par des exemples…

L’évaluation de la prestation du candidat

Le jour de l’épreuve, le candidat sera mis en confiance. Sa capacité à parler de la notion sera valorisée quand bien même il ferait des erreurs.
- « Toutes les épreuves doivent être conduites dans un esprit positif, en mettant le candidat en situation de confiance et en évitant de le déstabiliser.
- Pour chaque épreuve, l’examinateur établit son évaluation à partir de celle des fiches d’évaluation présentées en annexe qui correspond à la langue (LV1, LV2, LV3), à la nature et au statut de l’épreuve (épreuve orale obligatoire, enseignement de spécialité, enseignement obligatoire de littérature étrangère en langue étrangère, enseignement facultatif).
- Dans tous les moments d’expression orale en langue étrangère, il est attendu du candidat qu’il s’exprime clairement dans une gamme de langue suffisamment étendue pour pouvoir décrire, donner brièvement des justifications ou des explications et développer une argumentation. On valorisera la capacité à varier la formulation. Le candidat devra pouvoir communiquer avec une aisance raisonnable dans une langue simple. Il devra s’exprimer dans une langue grammaticalement acceptable en fonction du niveau d’exigence de l’épreuve et avoir acquis une prononciation claire et une intonation pertinente.
- Pendant la phase de prise de parole en continu, l’examinateur doit laisser le candidat aller au bout de ce qu’il souhaite dire, même si sa présentation comporte quelques hésitations, voire de brefs silences. »

Pour en savoir plus sur les épreuves de LV au BAC Session 2014 :

FICHES EVALUATION baccalauréats général et technologique (hors séries L, TMD, STAV et hôtellerie)

FICHES EVALUATION des épreuves du BAC oral de la série L

DOSSIER Questions-Réponses publié sur EDUSCOL janvier 2014

 L’organisation de l’épreuve

Le moment de l’évaluation :

- Il sera choisi par l’établissement au cours du 3ème trimestre dans le cadre d’une réflexion partagée.
- L’épreuve d’expression orale sera annoncée suffisamment à l’avance aux élèves. Son organisation en termes de locaux, de personnel et de mise en cohérence avec les emplois du temps des élèves et de leurs professeurs devra être anticipée.

L’interrogateur :

- Il pourra s’agir de l’enseignant de l’élève ou non, en fonction de qui aura été décidé au niveau de l’établissement.
- « S’agissant d’une évaluation encours d’année qui se situe pendant le temps scolaire, il est logique qu’elle soit conduite par le professeur de la classe. On ne peut pas exclure cependant, que dans le cadre d’un travail d’équipe au sein de l’établissement, elle soit conduite par des professeurs d’autres classes du même établissement sous forme d’échange de service. » FAQ sur Eduscol :…

La note :

« Les notes attribuées dans le cadre de cette évaluation en cours d’année ne sont pas communiquées aux élèves. Elles sont définitivement arrêtées par le jury du baccalauréat. »


Source: Portail Langues, Academie de Versailles

Nelson Mandela : one of the most inspiring figures of the 20th century


Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

 Rolihlahla Mandela was born in Transkei, South Africa on 18 July 1918 and was given the name of Nelson by one of his teachers. His father Henry was a respected advisor to the Thembu royal family.

ANC involvement

Mandela was educated at the University of Fort Hare and later at the University of Witwatersrand, he qualified in law in 1942. He became increasingly involved with the African National Congress (ANC), a multi-racial nationalist movement trying to bring about political change in South Africa.

In 1948, the National Party came to power and began to implement a policy of ‘apartheid’, or forced segregation on the basis of race. The ANC carried out a campaign of passive resistance against apartheid laws.

In 1952, Mandela became one of the ANC’s deputy presidents. By the late 1950s, faced with increasing government discrimination, Mandela, his friend Oliver Tambo and others began to move the ANC in a more radical direction. In 1956, Mandela went on trial for treason. The court case lasted five years, and finally Mandela was acquitted.

In March 1960, 69 black anti-apartheid demonstrators were killed by police at Sharpeville. The government declared a state of emergency and banned the ANC. In response, the organisation abandoned its policy of non-violence and Mandela helped establish the ANC’s military wing ‘Umkhonto we Sizwe’ or ‘The Spear of the Nation’. He was appointed its commander-in-chief and travelled abroad to receive military training and to find support for the ANC. On his return he was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison. In 1963, Mandela and other ANC leaders were tried for plotting to overthrow the government by violence. The following year Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment. He was held in Robben Island prison, off the coast of Cape Town, and later in Pollsmoor Prison on the mainland. During his years in prison he became an international symbol of resistance to apartheid.

In 1990, the South African government responded to internal and international pressure and released Mandela, at the same time lifting the ban against the ANC. In 1991 Mandela became the ANC’s leader.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize together with FW de Klerk, then president of South Africa, in 1993. The following year South Africa held its first multi-racial election and Mandela was elected its first black president.

In 1998, he was married for the third time to Graça Machel, the widow of the president of Mozambique. Mandela’s second wife, Winnie, whom he married in 1958 and divorced in 1996, remains a controversial anti-apartheid activist.

In 1997 he stepped down as ANC leader and in 1999 his presidency of South Africa came to an end.

In 2004, Mandela announced his retirement from public life, although his charitable work continued. On 29 August 2007, a permanent statue to him was unveiled in Parliament Square, London.

He died on 5 December 2013, aged 95.

To learn more about Nelson Mandela’s life you can visit these pages:

– Watch the video on the BBC Website: Obituary

– Watch the video on the Guardian newspaper website:

– Learn about the timeline of Mandela’s life with videos : BBC News

– Learn some of Mandela’s popular quotes

– Watch the video on the History channel

– How would Mandela have used social media if it has existed? Watch the Video here – thank you to for the link!

To learn more about apartheid:

– You can visit the excellent Apartheid museum website

To improve your listening comprehension :

– Online exercises here

To improve your reading comprehension:

– Learn all about Mandela and apartheid here

Tips for your oral presentation!

Do you consider Nelson Mandela to be a modern-day hero? What has he achieved for black South Africans? How has their life become better today? Does this make him a hero?This topic can not only illustrate the notion of myths and heroes but also the idea of progress: after racial segregation during colonial times in South Africa, the struggle that led to the abolition of apartheid has brought about a great number of changes for the black population.Finally this topic could be the perfect illustration for the notion of places and forms of power:

Apartheid caused significant internal resistance and violence, and a long arms and trade embargo against South Africa. There were many uprisings and protests leading to  the imprisoning of anti-apartheid leaders. As unrest spread and became more effective and militarised, state organisations responded with repression and violence. Along with the sanctions placed on South Africa by the international community, this made it increasingly difficult for the government to maintain the regime. Apartheid reforms in the 1980s failed to stop the mounting opposition, and in 1990 President de Klerk began negotiations to end apartheid. There were multi-racial democratic elections in 1994 that were won by the African National Congress under Nelson Mandela.