Indefinite articles

25th April 1997 at 01:00
Primary foreign languages still inhabit a twilight zone where nothing is definite enough on government (or opposition) programmes to warrant a major leap by publishers.

However, Nelson and Longman both have new materials which should be available in September. These are in the form of flashcards, cassettes, workbooks, games and teacher-notes rather than fully-fledged courses. This may not be a problem, as primary teachers may prefer to have a broad range of items from which to select according to the needs and interests of their pupils.

It is the smaller publishers who mainly continue to offer popular primary age materials. The video-based Pilote (French) is now supplemented by 3-2-1Los (German). Developed by Kent County Council and KETV Videos for Education, each is in three parts, supported by printed materials, and, in the case of Pilote, by a teacher in-service pack.

Miniflashcards Language Games offer a French pack aimed at primary beginners (which might also be useful with older special needs pupils). It is always interesting to look at materials produced for younger learners abroad, for example, those in the European Schoolbooks catalogue which includes Italian, Portuguese and Russian.

The German company, Klett, distributed via Chancerel, offers a tape of songs and stories in German and two courses for young beginners: these are much more grammatically underpinned than most materials for young learners in the UK, and represent a very different approach, perhaps because they are aimed at the German for foreigners market in Germany. PH u Modern languages in primary education, page 16

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