Spiral progress

6th February 1998 at 00:00
Spirale 4. Teacher's Book. By Jacqueline Jenkins, Barry Jones, Angela Willoughby Pounds 19.99. Photocopy Masters and Assessment File Pounds 59. 99 + VAT Overhead Transparencies Pounds 50 + VAT

Confort 1. Spirale 1 Homework and cover-lesson pack Pounds 16.99.

Spirale 3. Revised Edition. Livre de l'eleve. By Jacqueline Jenkins and Barry Jones Pounds 8.50 Teacher's book Pounds 19.99.

Photocopy Masters and Assessment File Pounds 49.99 + VAT All Hodder Stoughton.

These materials represent the final components in the well-established four-part course preparing pupils of all abilities for Standard Grade and the new 1998 GCSE examinations in French.

The Teacher's Book of Spirale 4 is a formidably compendious volume, containing not only a complete language list for each module, answers to the exercises, listening transcripts and suggestions for homework activities, but reproductions of the pupil's book with helpful links from the text to exploitation guidelines.

Exemplary methodological guidance is offered for teachers, with thorough preparation in highly topical areas: grammar, dictionary skills, self-assessment profiling, information technology, differentiation and, appropriately for 1998, target language rubrics. Such exhaustive attention to detail certainly makes for "off-the-shelf" lessons, but has not rather too much been done for the teacher?

The Photocopy Masters and Assessment File contains a vast array of graded worksheets, games, role-play cards and listening activities. Pupils keep a profile record of each completed activity. The Assessment section offers differentiated tasks in all four skills with accompanying cassette. All visual and textual materials are beautifully clear, and sound quality and clarity of diction crisp and accessible.

The overhead transparency file is another lavish resource which impressesmost with its extensive menuof suggestions for use.

Confort 1 is a handy little pack of instant lessons for the cover teacher, containing graded self-study worksheets for class or homework. The idea that pupils record the time spent on activities may encourage an "I won" approach, but this is counterbalanced by the learning skills they develop. It is refreshing to see French handwriting being taught, as well as the alphabet for the deaf.

The revised edition of Spirale 3 incorporates changes in the national curriculum and contains significantly wider coverage of the "areas of experi-ence", with substantial rewriting of key topics ("school life" replacing "at the circus", "town and shopping" replacing "reality" or "fiction"), additional practice in the four skills and, most wel-come, increased coverage of grammar. Module content in the pupil's book is firmly anchored to pupils' growing maturity, and the Teacher's Book and the Photocopy Masters and Assessment File provide a wealth of imaginative and supportive core and extension activities for all abilities.

Two distinctive features particularly commend this excellent volume: the development of pupils' expression of opinions and feelings, and the no-nonsense treatment of grammar.

Nigel Norman is a lecturer in education at the University of Wales Swansea

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