Motivation provided by lively activities

OK! Stage 2 By Sue Finnie and Ann Cambier Pupil's Workbooks 1-6. Pounds 6.60. Teacher's book Pounds 70.

Cassettes (set of 3) Pounds 45 + VAT.

Song Cassette Pounds 16.50 + VAT Mary Glasgow Publications

OK! Stage 1 broke new ground as the first French course which claimed to be for low attainers and actually fulfilled its promise. The format of fill-in pupil workbooks is particularly popular in special schools, where pupils need help with organising and presenting their work, and the lively activities, geared closely to national curriculum requirements in speaking, listening, reading and writing, are motivating and accessible for slow learners.

The themes of the six pupils' books in Stage 2 have an up-to-date feel: Ma famille, A la mode, L'argent de poche, On sort?, Tous les jours, Vivement les vacances. They cover all five areas of experience and contain activities which stretch pupils as far as level four, although most are pitched lower than this. Instructions are all in French, meaning that all activities have to be teacher-led. The Teacher's File contains assessment sheets, numerous ideas for extension work, cultural information, national curriculum guidance, plus overhead transparency materials. The song cassette has 12 songs set to chart-style music and a backing track to help pupils record their own versions of the songs.

No French course can cater for every teaching situation and, although OK! could be used in mainstream (possibly with withdrawal groups) it does not have either enough or sufficiently demanding activities to stretch brighter pupils. In fact, even in a mixed ability special class, there could be problems in keeping the whole group occupied and focused for 35 minutes (in my Year 9 class, songs would certainly not be high on the list of priorities).

Having said this, there are opportunities in Stage 2 for independent writing which would mean that some students would be able to progress to an examination course in year 10.

OK! Stage 2 will be welcomed by existing users and should win the course some converts.

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