Title Avance
Author Anneli McLachlan, Colin Christie and Eleanor Mayes
Publisher Hodder Murray
ISBN 0340811641
Reviewer Samantha Ryan
   

ďAvanceĒ is a new course for Key Stage 3 French which has been designed to cater for the KS3 MFL Framework as well as following the QCA Scheme of Work for KS3 French.

Each book is divided into six units. Within each unit, there are approximately seven chapters, each occupying a double-page spread within the book. At the start of each new chapter, the Framework objectives addressed are listed in accessible English for the pupils. The teacherís book contains the same information, but in the format in which it appears in the Framework itself.

The double-page spread incorporates activities for all skills, and there are additional activities at the end of the textbook, again for all four skill areas. The pupilís book is colourful and up-to-date, focussing mainly on France but with due regard to other Francophone countries, especially in Avance 2 and Avance 3. The content does however become more sparse as the books progress, and able pupils in Years 8 and 9 would require supplementary material from the teacher. Instructions are given in both French and English in Avance 1 Units 1-3. From Avance 1 Unit 4, instructions are only given in French. This practice is replicated in the pupil workbooks, published in an A and B format to allow differentiation.

The teacherís book is divided into four sections; teacher notes, OHTs, worksheets and summative assessment. Assessment tasks are well differentiated, allowing good Year 9 pupils to achieve Level 7 in all skill areas. The teacher notes are effectively a sample lesson plan, with a starter, main activity and plenary suggested for each chapter. Relevant worksheets and OHTs are referred to within these notes rather than separately at the end of the unit. This approach makes the teacherís book a user-friendly resource.

Whereas the pupil textbook and teacherís book are attractive and user-friendly, the supplementary resources (OHTs, worksheets and interactive whiteboard software) are somewhat disappointing. The OHTs are published in the teacherís book in a photocopiable format rather than being printed separately in colour. The worksheets closely resemble the pupil workbooks and contain limited quantities of French. The interactive whiteboard software is a little better, being printed in colour and much more visually stimulating. However, it too contains only short extracts of French. As with the pupil textbooks, the additional resources would need to be supplemented with other materials for good groups.

Overall, this course would be most suitable for middle-ability pupils. Adaptation for high-ability pupils would require great effort on the part of the teacher. The additional resources are not particularly stimulating in any case. The course is sold on the basis that it has already fully incorporated the KS3 MFL Framework objectives, clearly a time-saving device for MFL departments who still need to address these, but my personal opinion is that Avance is not substantial enough in content.