Title Équipe Dynamique
Author Danièle Bourdais and Sue Finnie
Publisher Oxford University Press
ISBN 0199126003
Reviewer Geoffrey Plow

Équipe Dynamique is designed to be pursued over the final two years before GCSE, either to follow on from Équipe nouvelle or as a free-standing course. There is a Higher level course book with associated materials, aimed at C to A* grade students, and Foundation level equivalents, designed for C to E grade students. The teaching and learning materials at each level comprise: a course book, a Cahier d’activités (with reading, writing and grammar exercises, well suited to being set as homework), a Teacher’s Book, an En Solo self-study pack for each learner (containing a book & CD with rôle-play practice, general conversation drills, pronunciation exercises and a grammar review with progress check questions), Practice and Assessment Packs for each of AQA, Edexcel and OCR designed to be used by the teacher, CD-Roms and audio CDs. If one has to make a choice, it looks as if the En solo pack is a resource each pupil needs to keep, whereas they can be loaned the course book itself.

The course aims to free itself from being ‘the OCR GCSE course’ or the ‘AQA GCSE course’, and its aim to be as generally applicable as possible is furthered by the Cahier d’activités, which helps to allay the problem we have all experienced in years 10 or 11 when homework has had to rely on handouts from past papers or other books. Thus, the course looks as if it will do good service in keeping pupils (and teachers?) organised. The vocabulary lists provided both in the course of the ten units and in the En solo self-study book seem practical and manageable. In the latter book,they are user’s lists, geared towards what is going to help in the Speaking exam (for example). They have a real practical value for that reason.

Of course, any course book that offers advice about drafting and redrafting coursework, as this one does, runs the risk of becoming a hostage to fortune. However, for current circumstances – however long they run for – the book has useful tips.

I can’t work out why the En solo book has not got substantive listening comprehension practice as well as pronunciation and general oral work. Having a separate learner’s book for private exam-orientated study (as opposed to homework, which is covered in the Cahier d’activités) is an attractive idea, but it looks as if an opportunity has been missed.

That apart, the book seems to be the complete GCSE primer it claims it is. This will be helpful for heads of department who want to be sure that given teaching sets are getting what they need, and it will help teachers plan effectively.