Skip to main content

Review of Panorama francophone 1 by Danièle Bourdais and Sue Finnie



Panorama francophone is a CUP course designed specifically for students preparing for the ab initio International Baccalaureate exam. With an international audience in mind, you won't find any English in the student and teacher books, nor in the accompanying cahier d'exercices. Another possible audience might be general studies students in England who wish to do beginners' French.

The course consists of 14 chapters, beginning with Je me présente, then working through Tu es comment?, la vie quotidienne, Bon appétit, En ville, Mon paradis sur terre, Temps libre, Projets de vacances, Au lycée, Faites la fête!, La santé pour tous, L'Evolution du shopping, Nous les jeunes and Le français dans le monde.

Each chapter covers a general topic, sub-topics within and one or more grammar points, beginning with articles and ending with negation and government of verbs (two verbs together). Tenses are covered in the sequence present, near future, perfect, future, conditional and imperfect. Each chapter ends with a revision page.

To take one chapter as an example (Chapter 5, En ville): the opening page features a sign showing the entrance to Marseilles with a list of its twinned cities. This is the basis for some simple oral questions, which include revision of knowledge of la francophonie, covered at the start of the course. There follows some simple vocabulary building based on five pictures of French-speaking cities around the world. This is followed on the next page by a reading task to match short paragraphs with the correct city. There is then a grid to complete to show reading comprehension and a listening task (with audio coming from an accompanying CD).

Simple speaking and writing tasks are followed by further vocabulary building with the aid of authentic pictures and a game of vocabulary bingo. A matching reading task follows, putting simple definitions with places around town. At this point simple prepositions are introduced and practised by means of a memory game about describing part of a town centre. A street map of Vannes is the basis for a listening gap-fill, learning how to give and understand directions and use imperatives.  More listening and pair work follows.

The final double spread begins with factual information about Terre-de-Haut and Marrakech. This is used for a reading matching task and simple oral exploitation. information about the town of Clermont is then used to get students to eventually speak and write about their own town or village. Students are then asked to choose a twin town for their own and justify their choice. The revision page features information about Dakar with comprehension and writing task.

If this material feels a little immature, be reassured that later in Book 1 students are reading about vegetarianism, technology, online shopping, rights and duties of young people, bullying, friendship and voting at 16. No doubt Book 2 moves into more challenging territory.

The comprehensive teacher's book includes transcripts, solutions to exercises, ways to exploit the material and further information for teachers, including, for example, a description of how the imperative works.

I should mention the cahier d'exercices too. This is a separate booklet for students, in black and white, with a wide of exercises, some of them illustrated. You get gap-fill, word-searches, matching, odd-one-out, sentence construction from grids, multi-choice, crosswords, questions in French and more.


When I look at a book my first questions tend to be: is it interesting? Is it usable?How much would you not want to use? Does it need supplementing?

In this case, if you were working with IB students, this could be your sole resource and would provide ample material for classroom exploitation and homework. Inevitably, the easier material would be somewhat below the maturity level of 16-17 year-olds, but I'd assume they would be happy to play the game and recognise that basics need to be covered. Generally the content is interesting and informative, clearly aimed at an international audience, while the large format pages are clearly laid out, colourful without being gimmicky, with pictures serving a useful purpose. Where they are needed for specific teaching points they are clear.

The methodology is traditional topic-based supported by a grammatical progression with the main emphasis on vocabulary acquisition and comprehension. By the end of the book students are reading full pages of text. Teachers would need to decide how much time they would need to spend on the written tasks. If you know more about the IB than I do, you'll know where to lay the stress.Exercise types are all familiar, mainstream stuff by very experienced writers. Pretty much everything looks "do-able". This comes through in the teacher's book too.

In sum, this course looks very useful indeed for teachers and students doing ab initio IB and I would recommend it unreservedly.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

New GCSE resources on frenchteacher

As well as writing resources for the new A-levels, I have in recent months been posting a good range of materials to support the new GCSEs. First exams are not until 2018, but here is what you can find on the site in addition to the many other resources (grammar exercises, texts, video listening etc).

I shall not produce vocabulary lists since the exam board specifications now offer these, with translations.

Foundation Tier 

AQA-style GCSE 2016 Role-plays
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (2)
100 translation sentences into French (with answers)
Reading exam
Reading exam (2)
How to write a good Foundation Tier essay (ppt)
How to write a good Foundation Tier essay (Word)

Higher Tier 

AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (Higher tier)
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (Higher tier) (2)
20 translations into French (with answers)
Reading exam (Higher tier)
How to write a good Higher Tier essay (ppt)
How to write a…

What teachers are saying about The Language Teacher Toolkit

"The Language Teacher Toolkit is a really useful book for language teachers to either read all the way through or dip into. What I like about it is that the authors Steve Smith and Gianfranco Conti are totally upfront about what they believe to be good practice but back it up with research evidence." (Ernesto Macaro, Oxford University Department of Education)

"I absolutely love this book based on research and full of activities..  The best manual I've read so far. One of our PDs from the Australian Board of Studies recommended your book as an excellent resource.  I look forward to the conference here in Sydney." Michela Pezzi, Teacher, Australia, Facebook)

"Finally, a book for World Language teachers that provides practical ideas and strategies that can actually be used in the classroom, rather than dry rhetoric and theory that does little to inspire creativity in ways that are engaging for both students and teachers alike." (USA teacher, Amazon review)

5 great zero preparation lesson ideas

When the pressure is on and there are only so many hours on the week, you need a repertoire of zero preparation go-to activities which promote input and/or practice. Here are five you might well find useful.

1. My weekend

We know that listening is the most important yet often neglected skill for language learning. It's also something some pupils find hard to do. To develop listening skill and provide tailored comprehensible input try this:

You tell the class you are going to recount what you did last weekend and that they have to make notes in English. The amount of detail you go into and the speed you go will depend on your class. Talk for about three minutes. If you spent the whole weekend marking, you can always make stuff up!

You then make some true or false (maybe not mentioned too) statements in the target language about what you said in your account. Class gives hands up (or no hands up) answers. This can then lead into a simple pair work task where pupils make up their own tru…

Three AQA A-level courses compared

I've put together my three reviews of worthy A-level courses which you might be considering for next September. They are all very useful courses, but with significant differences. The traditional Hodder and OUP book-based courses differ in that the former comes in one chunky two year book, whilst OUP's comes in two parts, the first for AS or the first year of an A-level course. The Attitudes16 course by Steve Glover and Nathalie Kaddouri is based on an online platform from which you would download worksheets and share a logon with studenst who would do the interactive parts (Textivate and video work). The two text books are supported by interactive material (Kerboodle) or an e-text book.

Attitudes16





An excellent resource which should be competing for your attention at the moment is the Attitudes16 course which writers Steve Glover and Nathalie Kaddouri have been working on for some time. You can find it here at dolanguages.com, along with his excellent resources for film and li…

The Language Teacher Toolkit review

We were delighted to receive a review of The Language Teacher Toolkit from eminent applied linguist Ernesto Macaro from Oxford University. Macaro is a leader in the field of second language acquisition and applied linguistics. His main research interests are teacher-student interaction and language learning strategies pupils can use to improve their progress.

Here is Professor Macaro's review:
The Language Teacher Toolkit is a really useful book for language teachers to either read all the way through or dip into. What I like about it is that the authors Steve Smith and Gianfranco Conti are totally upfront about what they believe to be good practice but back it up with research evidence. So for example the ‘methodological principles’ on page 11 are supported by the research they then refer to later in the book and this approach is very similar to the one that we (Ernesto Macaro, Suzanne Graham, Robert Woore) have adopted in our ‘consortium project’(http://pdcinmfl.com). The point i…