Reviews and Testimonials

Review from Spring 2012 edition of ISMLA journal (Independent Schools Modern Languages Association)

It is very refreshing indeed to come across a resource that focuses on support for the teaching of literature at A Level. This site (ALF for short) provides at very reasonable cost comprehensive materials for eight of the most popular literary texts used in French A Level. The premise is that the study of the work is not just an end in itself but the opportunity to work on language skills in context. A detailed scheme of work is provided for each text, helping the less  experienced teacher of literature structure the course – something I, for one, still find difficult to do with a lengthy novel. Each chapter is split up into suggested teaching chunks, identifying key passages for close class reading and possible homework consolidation. An imaginative range of integrated language thematic exercises is supplied for each chapter of the work. There is translation, grammar practice, comprehension and exercises on essay technique and advanced written style. The scheme of work also provides a list of useful links to existing web resources, such as interviews with the author, videos on historical background etc.
It is clear from the outset that these are materials that have been tried and tested in the classroom. A lot of thought has gone into each worksheet and exercise, many of which will provide a stern test for our most able learners. As with all web resources, plans are to extend the resources on offer. (One rather hopes that the team behind ALF might be interested in working with ISMLA members in adapting and developing their existing resources so that an even wider selection of A2 texts can be made available.) Recently, the first four films (Berri and  Truffaut) have been added, and an online AS French coursebook called (rather cornily) A*ttitudes is available. This focuses on the interminable 12 AS units, and provides varied, attractive resources across the full range of language skills, following the pattern described above.
The cost seems very reasonable: £25 per text required, and £250 for the entire AS output of A*ttitudes. I recommend that you have a look at the website to see which texts are covered. However, my feeling is that
these resources will enhance literature teaching at the very least, and provide a very robust framework for those who have a certain fear of choosing literature over the ‘safer’ cultural topic options.

Unsollicited (and very welcome) comment on literature materials from Peter Smith of Haydon Bridge school, Northumbria.

"As a teacher of MFL for nearly 40 years, I have never come across such stimulating and well thought out material, especially for A level literature and I am really looking forward to using your materials with Y13."

I couldn't have put the following better myself. Email from Emily Malaval, Hedingham School in Essex

"Good morning, The letter I received from ALF came as a very good surprise. I was looking for resources to help me teach “Un Sac de billes” which I will use for the first time with my A2 students as part of the cultural topic and here they were, perfect resources to help me. I was amazed at the quality of the sample resources (as well as your biographies)! Thank you very much for creating so useful resources and selling them at an affordable price! "

Sandra Talia

Brilliant resources! Will save me hours of planning . Thanks Sandra

The reviews below were from the autumn edition of the Association for Language learning Francophonie review section. Do consider joining ALL the professional association for language teachers.
NB: The resources for the literature titles which you can find out about on the home page also contain a full French-English vocabulary, an exposé writing guide and sample essay.

Linguascope photocopiable workbooks. Le Boucher. La Haine. Au Revoir les Enfants. Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain
Stephen Glover
Linguascope, 2010. Photocopiable workbooks (paperback), 28 pp. £14.99 each
ISBN 9781847957168

With the arrival of the new A Level syllabus, the study of film at A2 has been a popular option in many schools. The well—known Linguascope website has a new addition to its pupil-friendly resources, and they are pitching this series of eight photocopiable workbooks at the advanced learner. There is a selection of eight francophone films, some more recent than others, though all to a certain degree popular in their time. Despite the somewhat dated clipart illustrations these workbooks should be appealing to students. Easy for both pupils and teachers alike to use, they present a step-by-step project on the chosen film in 13/14 lessons. Of course it will be up to the class teacher how much he or she wishes to exploit the lesson suggestions. Indeed, some of the suggestions may not need an entire lesson devoted to them. Although they are initially prescriptive in nature, these workbooks would be best used as support materials to study of a film. There is a lot of extension vocabulary given in order for pupils to describe the film, although some of the vocabulary sections are not easy to navigate visually. I wonder also whether the workbooks will encourage pupils to use the printed sentences and paragraphs rather than allowing for linguistic creativity. There is a useful grammar point section and also a guide to essay structure at the end of the workbook. In summary, this is a suitable supporting resource to enthuse A level students.

The Grammar School at Leeds

Linguascope photocopiable workbooks. Les Choristes. Le Grand Voyage. Merci Pour Le Chocolat. Le Dernier Métro
Stephen Glover

Linguascope, 2010. Photocopiable Workbooks, A Level activities, £14.99 each
ISBN 910184795 (7757) (7744) (1768) (1137)

It seemed like such a good idea at the time. ‘Why not study French film as a cultural topic?’, ‘All students like watching films’, or was it ‘I’ve used up all the word searches, I’ll just stick a French DVD on. Then reality kicks in and the rambling French dialogue, eased slightly by truncated sub—titles, throws the class, first into bewilderment then despair followed by a state of complete indifference. Studying a French film should be fun, informative and a life—changing experience which engages all but the total philistine. Do not despair, as help is at hand in the form of the Linguascope workbooks. Linguascope have provided 28 page photocopiable workbooks bristling with ideas which manage to combine not only the content and themes but to reinforce in a very subtle way the level of grammar demanded at this stage. Each booklet provides ideas for using and explaining the film over a period of 14 lessons.
The suggested scheme is to spend about five lessons on the first viewing but re-capping at judicious moments in the film. Once the knowledge of the film has been secured, then a deeper approach is encouraged as characterisation and cinematic techniques are studied in more detail. The material in all four booklets is excellent and combines grammar and content in a very approachable fashion. The exercises range from gap-filling to translations English— French and French-English (‘The Tensinator’). The regular tenses are presented and are then closely followed by the ‘A’ factor. The student is encouraged here to use present participles, the passive and the subjunctive in a very accessible way which would benefit most ambitious A level students. This all culminates in a very useful essay plan. It is at this point that I felt a little short-changed, as the essay was very much topic based. However, the Linguascope website promises online materials on techniques so I hot— footed it to reassure myself. Each of the booklets covers the same grammatical points but naturally the material is based on the individual film. Booklets like these make the good idea into an even better one.


Coloma School, Croydon
I just wanted to thank you for the Amélie materials that you allowed me to access. The materials are very good as a support and to help students to talk about the film in an intelligent way, but also as a support for their grammar. I am using them as revision with the weaker girls for their A2- they've done them before, but I find them great to help focus on the different tenses etc. I will definitely be recommending your other materials to colleagues.
Janet O'Donnell

The Grange School, Hartford, Cheshire. (Independent, co-ed, 11-18)

Your materials this year have been a huge help in teaching the films and the lit. We did Le Grand Voyage, Au revoir les enfants, and L'Etranger, and virtually all of your sheets were useful. I intend studying the same things again next year.
Best of all were the verb summary sheets, as they served the dual purpose of summarising the plot whilst at the same time revising Present tense verbs.
Also the adjective worksheets and the A factor sheets were very good.
Steph Percy

Last modified: Monday, 13 February 2012, 09:43 PM