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Flexible game plans

ICI ON PARLE FRANCAIS. French for Beginners. Hilary McColl with Susan Thomas. Miniflashcard Language Games Pounds 49.

The Ici on parle francais package consists of several sets of picture cards, two cassettes, various dice, a board game and a hefty ring-bound volume containing teacher's notes and photocopiable material. It can be used alone or with other courses and by teachers in primary, secondary and special schools.

The topics cover the predictable themes of "myself", the "classroom" and "leisure", but contain, in addition, material relating to special needs such as pictures of walking aids and how to say "I use Makaton".

There are ideas for making and using flashcards, using overhead projectors, for games, for songs, mime, drama, puppets - you name it. The pack provides excellent support for non-specialist teachers and has sound advice on modern teaching methodology for those who are relying on their own, possibly distant, memories of foreign languages at school.

It does not patronise, however: at all stages it allows and encourages flexibility and adaptation to local needs.

This language pack isn't cheap and most of the materials need further work (copying, cutting, enlargement, colouring) before they can be used in the classroom. However, as a source of lively ideas and down-to-earth advice, it is highly recommended.

Richard Marsden is head of modern languages at Minster School, Nottinghamshire

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