Prepared for anything
The publication of Equipe 4 sees the completion of this four-part French course, offering comprehensive preparation for GCSE and Standard Grade exams. It retains many of the features of the previous three books and builds on their extensive coverage of grammar. The course is best suited to the middle and upper ability levels and differentiated materials (most evident in the workbooks and repromasters) make it accessible to the middle range of set classes, while challenging higher ability pupils.
The pupil's book is bright and inviting, with topic areas which complete the study of the GCSE and Standard Grade syllabus. It deals with topics in a way which should appeal to adolescents, and presents much of its material through the story of four teenagers and their friendships.
Each broad topic is divided into smaller units, with key vocabulary highlighted as the unit progresses. The "Zoom Grammaire" provides a comprehensive examination of the grammar points arising out of each unit, and here is extra reading practice (including song lyrics) in the "Pause Lecture" sections.
The revision sections provide a welcome opportunity for consolidation before moving on to new material and the "Encore" and "En plus" sections at the back of the book provide extra, and extension, materials for each unit.
There are now several additional materials: the Coursemaster CD-Rom contains ready-made schemes of work and pupil progress record sheets, all referenced to the national curriculum. This is obviously going to save a huge amount of time and effort on the part of teachers, and the Scottish Welsh versions are promised soon.
For parts 1 and 2 of the course there are collections of OHTs which, again, save a lot of work and provide a professional and colourful addition to the teaching materials.
The CDs give teachers the security of being able to find any given recording instantly. They are made by young French speakers, at a realistic but accessible pace. The best songs from the series, attractive, modern pieces of music as well as teaching accessories, are also available on one CD.
The Equipe website (www.oup.co.ukequipe) is also worth a visit, and provides endless opportunities for private study, links with France, etc.
This is an exciting and challenging course for any department to invest in.