Hispanic without the panic

30th May 1997 at 01:00
Ahora Mismo! Nueva Edicion. By Phil Turk and Mike Zollo. Hodder Stoughton. Student's Book Pounds 14.99. Teacher's Book Pounds 29.99. Cassette set Pounds 40

The original version of AAhora Mismo! was an excellent prototype, with all the vital ingredients for an A-level course. It was a first in its field and a godsend to teachers of Spanish at this level.

This revised edition is even better. For a start it looks appealing. (It's remarkable what a difference colour makes.) Second, the package is more practical and easier to use, with the teacher's book and resource book now in one volume. The solutions, teacher's notes and worksheets and transcriptions are all in chronological order, corresponding to the units in the student's book.

The topics are all those explored by standard A-level texts, such as: el mundo del trabajo; el medio ambiente, and so on. To its credit, AAhora Mismo! also takes students to South America to offer an added breadth of Hispanic culture and language.

As the authors stress, efforts have been made to update materials as much as possible. This is, of course, an impossible task with Spanish sportsmen and women and politicians rising and falling all the time. None the less, even though Felipe Gonz les smiles out at us from several pages of chapter 15, Jose Mar!a Aznar is there too, if not front stage!

The accompanying cassettes are authentic and challenging but with enough variety to differentiate for class or homework tasks. Even with the more difficult recordings, the authors have devised manageable, varied exercises such as matching of phrases, gap-filling and so on.

The new edition of Ahora Mismo! is a gentler introduction to the world of A-level, homing in on already familiar areas such as Tu y yo and nuestra generaci"n. There is a clearly explained grammar summary at the end of the student's book and helpful hints on how to use the course effectively.

AAhora Mismo! is worth serious consideration by any teacher of A-level Spanish.

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