In brief;Reviews;Modern languages;Books

8th October 1999 at 01:00
The AQA Nelson Skills for GCSE series. Grammatik Direct By Paul Rogers. Was Sagst Du? By Kate Corney. Schreib's Auf By Alan Seaton. Nelson pound;7.99 each

This set of skills-based books supports the AQA (Northern Examinations and Assessment Board) syllabus in French, German and Spanish; but could supplement any key stage 4 German course.

Grammatik Direkt is divided into two parts. The first deals with the German case system, the second with verbs, tenses and word order. The emphasis throughout is on precision and accuracy but the approach is animated. Cartoons are followed by explanations and practice exercises. Many of these are in exam format.

The exam focus is all the more to the fore in Was Sagst Du? It opens with sections on "how to do well in exams" and "useful phrases". Individual units then cover all the syllabus topics. Each topic is divided into foundation and higher tier levels. "Exam practice" supplies a series of role-plays, showing clearly what the teacher examiner is looking for.

Schreib's Auf adopts a similar format for writing. Pupils make lists and prepare phrases before undertaking timed tests. The series ensures pupils perform at their best and will be used for exam preparation.

NUFFIELD FRENCH FOR SCIENCE STUDENTS. Hodder amp; Stoughton pound;75 + VAT (audio-visual pack).

Science undergraduates preparing for their year abroad will welcome this video pack. It covers two years' work and is pitched at two levels. Niveau 1 is for students with a good GCSE pass, while Niveau 2 is aimed at students who have studied French at 16+.

Content and language-integrated learning is attracting much interest and this course shows what can be done. Units introduce the student to French university life and deal with the practicalities of living.

Later units cover a range of scientific matters and provide vocabulary to navigate in the world of French science.

Some of the situations are a little idealised. Perhaps the authors could have shown what can go wrong when a student is confronted with the French way of things. The student's book is a little grey and severe-looking,but the videos and tapes are attractive and provide a real-life picture of French science.

Michael Grenfell is a senior lecturerin education at the University of Southampton

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