Montana Lingua

Author Montana Lingua
Publisher Klett
ISBN ISBN 978-3-00-020817-1
Reviewer Duncan Byrne

This journal has previously reviewed the Soccerlingua resources produced through European Union Sokrates funding in time for last summer’s World Cup in Germany. The same team has now completed another project of language activities for outdoor education. The idea seems a good one; after all, ‘cultural’ trips to neighbouring countries where all pupils stay en masse in a centre are extremely popular. The books contain 24 off-the-peg activities and language games for the outdoors to last between 30 minutes and a whole day.

I should stress that the books are not sets of copyable worksheets for pupils. Instead, they are written in adult French, German etc. and are intended to be the teacher’s guide; he or she will need to adapt instructions (written or oral) to the group concerned and produce any handouts required. The books are accompanied by a CD-ROM that explains the philosophy being the project and shows pupils actually doing the activities to give the teacher confidence that they actually work! The range of activities is extensive, from simple games where pupils follow a series of instructions to find their ‘treasure’ to physical challenges and artistic, literary and dramatic productions based on observations of their surroundings.

Having looked at the resources in some detail, I am impressed at the care that has been taken in their preparation; sound educational principles underpin each activity and the variety of language required by the learners to carry out the activities is fairly minimal to enable them to focus on the key grammatical structure at the root of the task. Of course, as with any ‘non-standard’ activity, the success of these outdoor games relies heavily on the relationship between the class and the teacher / leader, and particularly on how successful he or she has previously been in establishing the target language as a means of communication in the classroom. Nevertheless, Montana Lingua is an extremely attractive resource that provides excellent ideas either for teachers leading group excursions or for those creative souls who are keen to get their pupils out of the classroom and speaking the language around the school grounds. I could imagine the English-language resources being of use to teachers in boarding schools with EFL pupils, particularly at an early stage of their schooling.

For further details, please contact Richard Weaver at richard.weaver@soccerlingua.net.