The right framework

21st May 2004 at 01:00
Thinking of updating your key stage 3 course book to support teaching to the KS3 MFL Framework? Or maybe you only need a Framework support pack? Andrea Osborne looks at what's on offer so far from the publishers

In adopting the key stage 3 Framework there is no onus on departments to change their current KS3 course book, although some will take the opportunity to update. Others may well be happy just to supplement their present course. To this end the response of publishers has been swift and well targeted to cater for all departments' needs.

The new "Framework-friendly" publications all aim to ease the refocusing of MFL teaching onto the Framework objectives. The best of these help teachers to understand and to implement explicitly the sequence of presentation-practice-application and independent reuse by pupils. Equally, they address the principles of the foundation subjects strand of the KS3 strategy, with built-in starters and plenaries, a focus on assessment for learning, thinking skills tasks, etc.

The choice is already bewildering and departments will do well to analyse their needs before they start evaluating resources. A sound understanding of the MFL Framework and of the foundation subjects strand is recommended, so that you can apply them effectively in lessons.

The guide below pinpoints likely solutions for different scenarios:

We like our current book. We only need a mapping document and some teaching ideas.

Perhaps a new course book would give staff and students a more focused and structured approach to language learning. We are less confident with the Framework but would like to address foundation subjects principles more widely.

Our department is quite conversant with foundation subjects thinking and practice. We understand how the Framework should define our teaching and now need materials which encourage our development of the principles.

FRAMEWORK PACKS

Two publishers have framework packs to support KS3 courses.

Metro 1, 2 or 3 Framework Pack. Logo! 1 and 2 Framework Packs. Heinemann pound;89.99 each

Equipe, Klasse! and Espanol de Primero Year 7 Framework Packs pound;40 each. Equipe and Klasse! Years 8 and 9 Supplementary Packs. pound;49.50 each Oxford University Press

Heinemann's Metro 1 Framework Pack was written by two KS3 consultants who rightly state that it could be used to supplement other KS3 language courses. This ring-binder overflows with brilliant ideas, overhead transparencies (OHT) masters and copy-masters, all clearly presented with teacher's notes.

For each unit the pack offers two starters and a plenary. These are varied and well thought out, with a match to Framework objectives, and each module includes a thinking skills activity. There is a nod at literacy with a writing skills lesson and spelling and pronunciation sections. The package includes a CD-Rom so teachers can customise any sheet.

Packs in the same format for Metro 2 and 3 are also available (vert - foundation; and rouge - higher). For German there are packs for Logo! 1 and 2. Heinemann's packs provide ideas for a confident department wishing to incorporate the Framework into their three-part lesson.

A mapping document is provided, with the same information given in two ways: unit by unit or according to Framework objective. The mapping document is invaluable if Metro is not your course book. The content of this pack could save teachers dreaming up activities or mapping objectives.

However, a certain level of familiarity with foundation subjects principles is assumed.

The Oxford packs get my vote for French German Spanish. Supplementary packs covering Years 8 and 9 are also available for Equipe and Klasse! These are meaty offerings and get glowing reports from schools. All three Oxford packs were written by MFL pilot consultants and in consultation with the lead trainer of the national pilot. There is a definite focus on showing how any lesson plan should derive from the Framework objectives.

Indeed the whole pack is structured to reinforce the spirit of the Framework.

The long-term plan maps out where each objective is launched and reinforced. The medium-term plan is so detailed it could almost be the basis for a scheme of work (the packs come with a customisable CD-Rom containing all plans in the pack).

The real strength of these packs, though, is in the short-term plans, which practically plan lessons for you. These are linked to a set of OHTs and copymasters, and also set out learning objectives, homework possibilities and all manner of hints on aspects of teaching and learning. The packs provide the OHTs ready-made, a consideration for busy teachers.

Departments following another course book could derive tremendous benefit from the Oxford packs, using the CD-Rom to rearrange units as necessary.

Teachers of more than one language could even cross-reference all these packs for further teaching ideas, but there is inevitably some repetition.

Course updates

ANSTOB. Teacher's Resource File (Framework edition pound;59.99. Hodder Murray

!LISTOS! Book 2 pound;11.25; Teacher's Guide amp; pound;28.99; Resource File pound;90

Heinemann

CAMINOS 1 (segunda edicion). Guide for Framework Coverage. Encore Tricolore 1-3 (nouvelle edition) Framework Coverage Free. Nelson Thornes

ACTIF! Customisable CD-Rom with a revised Scheme of Work Free, LCP

Hodder Murray produced this new Framework version of the teacher's guide for the German Ansto', their most popular KS3 course book. It was written by a head of department who was involved in the Framework pilot.

This guide has a user-friendly and practical approach alongside some excellent copymasters.

The Framework planning grid sensibly includes some Year 8 MFL objectives in the later units, reflecting the fact that often Book 1 is not quite completed in Year 7.

Ansto' users are well supported here: for example, the MFL Framework and foundation subjects thinking are echoed throughout the teacher's notes and there are copymasters for learning objectives, student action plans and profile masters to encourage Assessment for Learning.

Heinemann's two-tiered !Listos! Book 2 for Spanish was written to the Framework, unlike Book 1. The teacher's guide points out that the units have the staged teaching sequence but individual units do not necessarily make this explicit for teachers. The mapping grid contains Year 8 and 9 objectives for schools which carry Book2 into Year 9, but unhelpfully launches 9W5 in Module 1. The Resource File includes some nice generic "Skills Sheets".

For followers of Caminos 1 (segunda edici"n), Nelson Thornes has produced a guide for Framework coverage. A guide for Book 2 follows shortly. There is an objective-mapping chart and then for each unit of Caminos a task-by-task list of teaching suggestions. This is an effective document which makes a successful attempt to graft the Framework on to a book which predates it and, best of all, it's absolutely free of charge.

Spanish teachers everywhere should download it from www.nelsonthornes.com A free document is also available on Nelson Thornes' site for Encore Tricolore 1-3 (nouvelle edition) but without the teaching ideas.

LCP has likewise produced a customisable CD-Rom with a revised Scheme of Work for Actif! but it is limited to showing where each objective can be launched and reinforced.

New courses

There has predictably been a deluge of new KS3 French, German and Spanish courses, all written to the MFL Framework. All courses reviewed below comprise a pupil's book, pupil workbooks, teacher's guide, tapes or CDs, copymasters and flashcards.

Expo

Book 1 pound;9.99. Books 2 and 3 pound;10.25 each. Teacher's Guide pound;39.99. Resource and Assessment File pound;93. Heinemann

The first to appear was Expo for French. The pupil's book is clear and colourful and instructions are helpfully written in bold typeface. A system of coloured information boxes is used to highlight grammar points, vocabulary and to support sentence-building. Other sensible inclusions are the exercises sprinkled into the grammar section and the two-way glossary.

Pupils (and teachers) are encouraged to assess performance and set targets after each module. In MFL Framework terms Expo is not overly prescriptive in that the Teacher's Guide includes a customisable scheme of work on CD-Rom. Objectives can therefore be reallocated to another unit if desired.

Also, for every single pupil task the guide suggests up to three MFL Framework objectives which could be reinforced there, again affording flexibility. The optional Resource and Assessment File has vocabulary lists, starters and worksheets on grammar, learning skills and thinking skills. Initial feedback from schools adopting Expo is positive and it merits a closer look.

EQUIPE NOUVELLE. Students' Book pound;9.99. Colour OHT File pound;75 + vat. Equipe Informatique ICT package (prices on enquiry). Free activities at www.oup.co.ukequipe. Teacher's Book pound;33. Copymaster Book pound;48.50. Coursemaster CD-Rom u pound;22.50 + vat Oxford University Press

OUP has produced Equipe Nouvelle (Part 1 is out this month) to meet with Part 1 the requirements of the MFL Framework and improve on the first edition. David Buckland, co-writer of the Framework, has worked closely with the authors. Extra components include a colour OHT file and an ICT package called quipe Informatique. Audio material is on CD or cassette.

All spreads in the pupil's book set out learning objectives and offer a starter and at the end there are three differentiated plenaries, responding well to recent Ofsted criticism that this part of the lesson was often the weakest. The four skill areas are colour-coded and a system of information boxes highlights grammar, vocabulary, culture and pronunciation. A regular "guide pratique" section promotes general language-learning skills systematically and an "Etape" page recycles known language in a different context. A section called "Podium" deals with assessment for learning and extension tasks. The website contains self-study activities at www.oup.co.ukequipe. The Teacher's Book is well-written and contains a succinct but thorough outline of both the Framework and the foundation subjects principles and how these are addressed within the course. It also stresses the rationale of presentation-practice-independence and offers teachers helpful examples. For every spread there is a general planning page which offers some worthwhile teaching suggestions, as does the commentary for every activity of the Pupil's Book.

The Copymaster Book has vocabulary sheets, games, starter and plenary activities, differentiated skills practice, pronunciation and grammar sheets and assessment tasks. One valuable extra will be the Coursemaster CD-Rom, which contains the Framework grids and teacher guidance. This course should easily build on the success of quipe and assist varied, focused and structured teaching.

ESPANOL DE PRIMERO. Pupil's Book pound;12.50. Oxford University Press

OUP's Espanol dePrimero has been similarly revamped.

Now in two volumes, it fully supports the Framework. There are also plans to produce revisions of Klasse! for German.

VOILA! Pupil's Book pound;10.25. Resource and Assessment File pound;80. Teacher's Book pound;40

Nelson Thornes Praise goes to Nelson Thornes for the new Voila! French course.

German and Spanish equivalents (Na klar! and AAs!!) will hopefully emulate it. Voila!'s attractive, uncluttered Pupil's Book is sure to appeal. The structured sequence is made immediately explicit and challengesupport is everywhere. For instance the grammar boxes often ask pupils to "work it out" and Strategies sections tackle the general savoir-faire of language-learning. There are 12 quite short units. By the end of Book 1, all three tenses have been met, albeit briefly, enabling faster progress after Year 7. The Resource and Assessment File includes worksheets on the four skills and a skills page aiming to demystify language learning. Audio and visual materials are on CD only. The Teacher's Book is full of guidance and ideas for Framework teaching, listing possible objectives by each activity. A light bulb symbol regularly pinpoints thinking skills activities. At the start the two units' worth of sample lesson plans would be helpful for new teachers or the unsure. An overview page for each unit could be expanded into a scheme of work.

AVENTURA NUEVA. Pupil's Book pound;10.50. Teacher's Resource Book pound;55. Hodder Murray

For Spanish in only two parts for the whole of KS3 and a choice of cassettes or CDs, the beautifully clear Pupil's Book makes expert use of layout and colour. The lessons are arranged in three or four clear segments, moving from presentation to independence. Boxes highlight vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and culture. The learning objectives are only given in terms of topic or grammar, but do not highlight language-learning skills.

The Teacher's Resource Book is comprehensive and tells you exactly where to deal with each objective but offers limited support for those less confident about how. Also in here are the copymasters, half-termly assessments and Autoevaluaci"n after every unit for peer or self-assessment.

ECHANGE. Students' Book pound;9.99. OHTs pound;65 + vat. ICT packs (prices on enquiry). Oxford University Press

This is a completely new French course. As well as the basic components there is an OHT file and two ICT packs (for individual work and for whole-class use by teachers). After Book 1, the students' books are differentiated. The objectives for a unit are listed on its title page for pupils via four categories (vocabulary, grammar, skills, pronunciation). At the top of each double page the relevant objectives are repeated, which will focus teachers and pupils. A starter is included on each spread and a "Pause" section would provide opportunity for formative assessment and reflection on progress. Each unit ends with a Je saisI page, listing what has been learned, and an KToi section in the form of an open-ended writing task.

echange would suit a department looking to update an outdated MFL course book. The format of the students' books also encourages good practice in teaching to objectives and using formative assessment to inform teaching. There is plenty of variety and differentiation and a focus on structures.

AVANCE!. Pupil's Books k pound;8.99 each. Teacher's Resource Book k pound;59.99. Hodder Murray

Unusually for recent years, Books 2 and 3 of this new French course are not in two differentiated volumes, avoiding possible logistical issues. As well as the core components listed above there are OHT masters, copymasters and summative assessments in the Teacher's Resource Book.

Topics are based around the QCA scheme of work.

The long-term planning grid sometimes groups together clusters of objectives with a particular theme, a model which emulates the Framework for English.

Within the medium-term plan there is scope for moving, developing or lightening various objectives to suit the class.

In the pupil's books each spread is designed to last a lesson, a challenge if you have less than 45 minutes. Objectives, starters and plenaries are incorporated into the page. One supportive feature is the J'avance section on each spread - exploring or explaining various nuggets of language-learning. These would be a perfect springboard for discussions of how languages work. Early units remind pupils of the word classes they have met at primary school. The appearance of the pupil's books is rather repetitive and uninspiring but the organisation is clear.

Avance! is very geared to the Framework and treats language-learning as a serious business. It is best suited to motivated students. Well ahead of the others pedagogically, it could be too much for departments who are not this far down the road of the KS3 Strategy.

* Further information

Summing up, a sensible first move is to obtain evaluation copies of resources that sound about right for you. Then identify a few objectives you've launched recently and investigate the way each course does this.

Which one fits best with your department's needs and teaching style? But caveat emptor! No book will substitute teachers' own understanding and application of the Framework in their everyday practice. However, it's helpful to have something which will support the embedding of Framework thinking into classroom routine.

Heinemann Email: orders@heinemann.co.uk Tel: 01865 888080 www.heinemann.co.uk

LCP Email: mail@LCP.co.uk Tel: 01926 886914 www.LCPuk.co.uk

Oxford University Press Email: schools.orders.uk@oup.com Tel: 01536 741068 www.OxfordSecondary.co.uk

Nelson Thornes Email: modlang@nelsonthornes.com Tel: 01242 267275 www.nelsonthornes.com

Hodder Email: schools@bookpoint.co.uk Tel: 01235 827720 www.hodderheadline.co.uk

The MFL KS3 Framework is available on the DfES Standards site: www.standards.dfes.gov.ukkeystage3strands and click on TLFDfES Publications Tel: 0845 602 2260Email: dfes@prolog.uk.com

Andrea Osborne is a foundation subjects consultant with Essex County Council and a languages teacher

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