9th March 2001 at 00:00
JEUX DE ROLES. By Peter Binns. Hodder amp; Stoughton pound;19.99

This book of 21 role-plays for AS-level provides practice primarily for partner work across a range of topics and linguistic areas.

A useful introduction explains how to cope with role-plays and move from a simple exchange of information to a real conversation in which the student persuades and presents convincing arguments. The essential ingredient is, of course, imagination, together with adequate linguistic ability. To minimise difficulties in case both these are lacking, the role-plays themselves supply many ideas and linguistic support.

Each has the same format - an information sheet in English and task sheets in French for pairs of students to complete using the information sheet.

Realistic scenarios are given as the basis for the pair work, such as arranging details about a conference or a French company, due to take place in England, with the partner having to supply details.

Students are supported by lists of possible questions, along with the necessary vocabulary and grammatical constructions, so even weaker students can attempt the activities.

More open-ended activities are introduced at the end of the role-plays, with ideas for discussion work and related topics and some suggestions for written work.

This is a flexible book, giving students plenty of practice in speaking skills. The role-plays can be used in any order to suit the topic area. Not all AS specifications include a role-play, but this resource will help build general speaking skills.

Nuala Leyden is head of modern languages at Carlton le Willows comprehensive school, Nottingham. More textbook reviews in this week's TES Curriculum Special: modern languages

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