This new French course, with its bold colours, modern pictures and up-to-datecartoon features promises to be an entertaining and motivating asset to many lower secondary language classrooms.
The pupil's book contains six colour-coded chapters, divided into three units, each covering a different aspect of the main theme. There is a welcome grammar in-put in the "Sur la piste" sections, in which students are encouraged to make their own deductions about how the language works, before the teacher's presen-tation. This should help more able students to experiment with, the language, rather than just reiterating previously learned phrases.
Reading skills will also be developed in the "Club lecture" sections, which feature boldly coloured double-page cartoons, quizzes and authentic texts. Grammar and language sum-maries and French-English and English-French vocabulary lists are at the back of the book. Where exercises or letters are hand-written, the authors have reduced comprehension problems by standardising the script, but these tasks could still be a problem for some pupils. Instructions in the target language can also require a lot of clarification from the teacher.
Instructions given only in the target language might alsopreclude some lower ability learners from benefiting fully from the Cahier d'activites, a workbook which gives students "personal ownership" of their work. The cassette tape that accompanies some of the workbook activities is copyright-free, so students can have their own copies for use at home. Both this cassette, and those which accompany the coursebook, provide good listening materials recorded at a realistic pace.
The teacher's book contains photocopiable "Fiches", which can be used as worksheets or as OHP slides. They contain vocabulary presentations, dictionary exercises and grammar work. There are also pupil check sheets and three official assessments in the four skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing.
Carolyn McInness is assistant principal for modern languages at Eastbank Academy, Glasgow