North of the border

9th October 1998 at 01:00
FRENCH TO STANDARD GRADE. By Teresa Huntley, Eleanor Caldwell and Sue Finnie. Oxford University Press Students' book (144 pages) Pounds 8.50(20 or more Pounds 7.65 each)(100 or more Pounds 7.22 each) Cassette Pounds 17.50 + VAT

This new publication should be an invaluable asset to modern languages departments in Scotland as well as to teachers and students elsewhere.

It starts with a helpful explanation of the Standard Grade exam: what it entails, how to organise revision, and how best to cope on the day.

This section includes advice on the types of speaking assessments which students will meet and gives examples of the kind of vocabulary and phrases which they should be using.

There are 12 units in the book, which cover the main Standard grade topics. Each contains practice in listening, speaking, reading and writing,graded in difficulty from foundation level to credit - although the book will be best suited to generalcredit classes.

The units are presented in a bright and attractive way, and deal with topics which are of interest to teenagers. A particularly helpful and comprehensive vocabulary list features at the end of each unit, and the "Un peu d'entranement" sections provide exercises on the grammar points which come up in each chapter. There is an extensive grammar summary at the back of the book, covering all the points needed for the Standard Grade course.

The book also features four mini-tests which each revise the work of three units. The answers to these and to all the exercises appear at the back, as do the transcripts of the tape.

The listening material is recorded at a realistic pace, and the transcripts can obviously be used in many ways.

Throughout this book there are several helpful suggestions about how best to go about a particular exercise: what to listen for, how to use the speaker's tone of voice to aid comprehension, how to focus on the key points.

This, and its many other positive features, should make the book an attractive and welcome course companion.

Carolyn McInnes is assistant principal teacher of modern languages, Eastbank Academy, Glasgow

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