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Old MFL courses

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by spsmith45, Jun 13, 2010.

  1. spsmith45

    spsmith45 New commenter

    I hope no-one minds me putting in a request.I have already posted this question to the mflresources group, but would any older teachers out there be kind enough to tell us what MFL course/textbook they used when they were younger. I am thinking of doing a bit of research into texbooks from the past.I go back to Cours llustré de Français by Mark Gilbert and Deutsches Leben.
    What other books have people been taught with or have used in their teaching?
  2. spsmith45

    spsmith45 New commenter

    I hope no-one minds me putting in a request.I have already posted this question to the mflresources group, but would any older teachers out there be kind enough to tell us what MFL course/textbook they used when they were younger. I am thinking of doing a bit of research into texbooks from the past.I go back to Cours llustré de Français by Mark Gilbert and Deutsches Leben.
    What other books have people been taught with or have used in their teaching?
  3. I was taught with Longman's Audio Visual French with Marie-France,Claudette, Jean-Paul and Bruno le chien. In German I remember Aufwärts for a year but then the Clever class (of which I was one) did Auftenhalt in Deutschland which seemed seriously dated to me at the time (early 70's) When I did my year in France the school I was at was the school used in the Eclair series of the late 70's early 80's -and when I began teaching in 1985 I helped trial the Escalier Books in French.
  4. Recently I went round to visit a French friend. We have a monthly French discussion group chez-elle. She had been having a clear out of her book shelves. On the table there were a number of books she was going to throw out, but she asked if anyone wanted any. On one pile there was a copy of a Whitmarch 'o' level textbook.
    There was a scuffle between us as these 40/50 year old womwn fell upon this book. We turned its yellowed pages and were transported to the French classroom of yore. Days when we read books round the class like 'Le Petit Prince'. Days when we schemed to get as many subjunctives as possible into simple tales of Jeanne and Pierre going on picnics, rescuing dogs, and alerting farmers to great dangers.
    I was the victor and bore my Whitmarsh home. I have since told another friend of my good fortune. I have promised to take it with me when I visit next. Its mere mention lead to an hour of reminiscence about prose composition and dictation.
    I think secretly it is what we all thought our lives would be like when we started PGCE. Sadly we were all so disappointed, it was not to be.
  5. So when did Whitmarsh actually "go out of fashion" then? I started French in 1970 and he wasn't anywhere around - I only heard about him in subsequent years
  6. I used Whitmarsh - and I started French in '74, in Scotland. We used it from about the 2nd year on , for the more serious grammar stuff, and as a back-up. I have a copy still, acquired at a later date.
    We also used Longman's audio-visual, all the way through. When I first started teaching in 1987 the school I was in still had copies in the cupboard, and one of my colleagues would use it from time to time. It seemed a bit dated to me then, but, last summer, in my current school, we were doing some sorting out and discovered a box full of Longmans stuff......
    For German, which I started in the 3rd year (equivalent to 4th year in English terms) we used "Sprich mal Deutsch" - which even then seemed incredibly old-fashioned (and had a very irritating character called Wolfgang) Those who started in 1st year used a German equivalent of the longmans - called something like "vorwärts" - I can't remember the exact title, I'll need to ask my sister (she hated it)
    We also used Russon in German - sentence after sentence after sentence of prose translation, which we had to do orally, going round the class, you sat and worked out which one would be yours, and then the person before you would get two....
  7. I learned French with longman's audio visual and in 4th year we used whitmarsh and cours illustré de français 3 and more whitmarsh for 6th form. I still have copies somewhere.

    For German we used Sprich mal Deutsch which looking back was the most bizarre thing I've seen. I don't remember having a text book for German O level except the books of JMB and NEAB past papers.

    For Spanish CSE we used Every day Spanish 1 and a really old book from the 1930s which I still have somewhere which explained the difference between "tu" and "usted" as being the same as "thee" "thou" and "you" in English. Brilliant.

    Halcyon Days.
  8. Ah meme - that was it Vorwärts! Not Aufwärts! We didn't like it either. We used Russon and very good it was too
  9. copperbeech

    copperbeech New commenter

    I learned German to O level in 2 years from using Aufenthalt in Deutschland. I now know many stories of German folklore from its pages, including the story of the Lorelei. I used Sprich mal Deutsch in my second job. The advantage is that I will never confuse the order of the colours of the German flag as all I have to do when asked is close my eyes and picture one of the textbooks.
    Harraps Vers la France and A Paris to O level with the infamous 100 questions. We then used Whitmarsh in 6th form for French and Russon for German. I am sure that my grasp of French grammar is down to Whitmarsh.
    When I taught in a girls' Grammar school they used Le français d'aujourd'***. They mastered the perfect tense by Y9 (then third year) and were able to use the past historic with ease by Y11. The results at A level were remarkably good.Having just marked my Y9 exams where students were unable to use the perfect tenseI am wondering where we are going wrong. My personal view is that we do not do enough translation work anymore. It concentrates the mind wonderfully to have to find a precise translation of a sentence.
    It feels like I have used every textbook ever in my 30+ year career. Escalier, Reisepass Deutsch. Einfach toll, various incarnations of Tricolore, Francoscope, Nuffield French and German courses, Spirale, arc en ciel etc. All have some good features but none ideal. Perhaps I'll write one when I retire in the near future.
  10. What a wonderful trip down memory lane!
    My mother used Whitmarsh in the early 1940s....and I used Whitmarsh in the early 1980s. All that had changed was the green hardback being replaced by a red softback
    We began with Le Français D'aujourd'*** for about the first 3 years (age 11 to 13) and then had a rather uninspiring book. The name escapes me - something like "A la page"?? Very tedious - lots of translating from and to French. At A level we used Au courant - and I have good memories of it! We had a reference grammar by Ferrar and a vocab-stretching book called Le mot juste.
    For German, Sprich mal Deutsch all the way - and then Russon. I still use my Russon.

  11. We started with a text book called Nos Voisins Francais. I suspect it was old fashioned even then.For O level we used Whitmarsh. My recently acquired Whitmarsh was published in 1977. It was probably its last hoorah. I had already started teaching by then, but would never have been able to use it. My first class through to O level was in 1978. They did well, but their comp school background would never have allowed them to usefully access Whitmarsh.
    For Spanish we used A Spanish Course which had a picture of the alcazaba at Segovia on the front. I don't remember the author.
    When I started teaching I used En Avant and Adelante. Then moved on with Tricolore in its various manifestations, before the various more current text books.
  12. I have just realised that my lack of memory of what I used to teach Spanish is down to the fact that I taught very little Spanish at the time. There was a distinct lack of Spanish teaching at the time. Schools that taught it were in a minority. French/Spanish graduates like me had to reconcile themselves to teaching mainly if not entirely French.
  13. Geekie

    Geekie Occasional commenter

    We used Le Français d'Aujourd'*** for French. Can't remember if it went all the way up to O'Level but do remember being very excited on the school French exchange when we drove past Orly airport and saying "That's where M. Bertillon works!"
    For A'level we used Whitmarsh, Whitmarsh and more Whitmarsh.
    Can't remember which book we used for Spanish O'level except that it was brown. And Spanish A'level.... don't remember having a text book.
  14. Same reply as I posted in the MFL Resources Forum:
    As a trainee teacher in 1964-65 I used the Harrap-Didier course, Deutsch durch die audiovisuelle Methode. It consisted of a book illustrated with cartoons and reel-to-reel tapes that we played in the classroom in conjunction with a film strip containing the same cartoons as in the book.
    In my first full-time job, 1968-1971, I used:
    Holt-Rinehart-Winston's Ecouter et Parler and
    Verstehen und Sprechen by the same publisher.
    These consisted of a very detailed teacher's book, with instructions on how to conduct each lesson, the learner's book, and reel-to-reel tapes that we used in class and in the language lab.
    I also used Sprich mal Deutsch, OUP. This came with reel-to-reel tapes that we used in the language lab.
    As a teacher of ab initio students of German at Ealing College, London, 1971-1993, I used:
    The Ealing Course in German, by Paul Coggle and Una McNab (Ealing College's own course).
    Deutsch 2000, published by Hueber.
    Deutsch als Fremdsprache, published by Harrap.
    Grundkurs Deutsch, published by Verlag für Deutsch.
    Deutsch Direkt, published by the BBC.
    All the above came with tapes that we used in the language labs. Deutsch Direkt came with videocassettes too.
    French staff used Brian Page's A Vous la France, also published by the BBC - with audio- and video-cassettes.
    I used the BBC's Buongiorno Italia, to learn Italian from scratch - also with audio- and videocassettes.
    Maddalena Fagandini, the producer of the BBC TV programmes for the above courses, was a regular visitor to Ealing College - the BBC HQ where she was based was just up the road from us.
    In the early 1980s I began developing computer assisted language learning materials to tie in with the above courses that we used at Ealing. I wrote most of the materials for the BBC Micro, using the first editions of my own authoring programs, GapKit and Fun with Texts - both of which I programmed myself in BBC BASIC. Our first computer lab for language students was set up in 1982. It was small - just six Tandberg EC10 computers, purchased with a grant from BP. In 1985 we set up a lab of 20 BBC Micros. This was with the aid of government funding to establish ourselves as the National Centre for Computer Assisted Language Learning (NCCALL), which I managed from 1985 to 1990. We used the lab with our own students and also with teachers from all over the UK, who attended our regular ICT training courses.
    At school (1953-1961) I was taught German using the course Deutsches Leben, and I have vivid memories of using Whitmarsh in our French classes.
    I have copies of most of the above on my bookshelves, and I have posted scans of the French and German O-Level papers that I sat in 1958 here:
    Graham Davies
  15. spsmith45

    spsmith45 New commenter

    Great so far. Keep 'em coming!
  16. I started teaching in the mid seventies: En Avant, Longman's Audio-Visual French were the first, followed by le Francais d'Aujourd'*** up to about 1980. After that Action came in for a bit and there was also Escalier in the mid-eighties. Tricolore was probably the 80s book of choice, before Avantage took over.

  17. hennapen

    hennapen New commenter

    Jean-Paul est dans le jardin! (having a wee in my copy ha ha!) Longmans was just holding on in my school in the mid 80s to be replaced by D'Accord (which was effectively the same book!) and then by the ubiquitous Tricolore which really was a tour de force. In Italian we used In boca al lupo which was already horribly dated. I can't remember what we used for A level now,

    As a teacher I started with Tric and then Route Nationale and Vaya for Spanish. Avantage after RN followed by Equipe and Caminos for Spanish which we are still using today. And this concludes my little contribution.
  18. I began French at primary school under some oral/aural initiative in the 60s, and learnt grammar school French with Whitmarsh. I dimly remember the Thibault family from somewhere (couldn't believe how it was spelt from how it was pronounced as we did no writing in primary school). Was spoonfed Spanish 'O' level from scratch. Can't remember either 'A' level course. PCGE featured the (then) ground-breaking 'Eclair' and 'Tricolore' (some years later I remember visiting La Rochelle with a teacher friend and viewing the bakery and other sights!!).
    Back to earth with my first job and 'Vas-y gaiement' (yes, really) - remember the 'pic d'alun' (= styptic pencil for use after shaving!!), Longmans audio-visual (but without the visual and with reel-to-reel) - Marie-France was in the jardin a lot. 'Tricolore' then for ages through several schools, then 'Escalier' and its German and Spanish equivalents (forgotten their names but remember they were represented by sausages and castanets - racial stereotyping or what?), 'Camarades', 'Avantage', 'Actif' and now 'Expo' - time for a change soon!
    Ah, memory lane....
  19. spsmith45

    spsmith45 New commenter

    Here's my list so far:



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    mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;
    font-family:"Times New Roman";}


    Le Français d’Aujourd’***

    Longman’s Audio-Visual French

    Cous Illustré de Français

    Le Français par l’Image

    A la page




    Encore Tricolore

    Encore Tricolore Nouvelle

    Tricolore Total

    Bonjour Line

    Voix et Images de France

    French for Today



    Vers la France (Harrap)

    A Paris (Harrap)



    French for AQA

    French Nuffield

    Actualités Françaises

    Whitmarsh: Senior French

    Tout compris

    vues, histoires lues

    et Parler




    Arc en ciel

    Nos voisins français

    En avant


    le Vif

    Vif du Sujet


    for You

    vous la parole

    and Dukes






    Aufenthalt (pre-war?)

    Deutsches Leben

    Deutsch Heute

    Sprich mal Deutsch

    Zielpunkt Deutsch

    Wir lernen Deutsch

    Lernpunkt Deutsch


    Echo Express

    German for AQA

    German Nuffield

    Friosch begonnen (with film strip)



    durch die audiovisuelle Methode (Harrap-Didier)

    Hallo Freunde

    Einfach Toll

    Reisepass Deutsch








  20. Also on my shelf, though I have never taught from it: Longman's Un Deux Trois. Au Secours is also there. along with Porte Ouverte, En Direct de la France and Auto Examen.

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