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.