Evaluating a new course can take some time, so we asked Joe Dale, Independent Languages Consultant, to take a closer look for you…
The Teacher Book contains mapping to NC levels, the revised framework and PLTS. Also contained in the teacher book is clear guidance on how to adapt the course for two years’ study as opposed to three years, describing which sections could be missed out, such as the focused grammar practice.
The Student Books cover the usual topic areas with clear objectives, culturally-rich exercises, grammar practice, and thinking skills with instructions in English for each double-page spread. At the end of each unit is a grammar reference section Labolengua or Sprachlabor with activities, a differentiated Extra section for reinforcement or extension work, recap and assessment opportunities, and a vocabulary list.
In addition, the Student Books contain self-assessment checklists at the end of each unit, Challenges designed for extension or higher-ability work and Think boxes throughout to encourage pupils to reflect on language structures and how patterns work, rather than simply learning by rote.
The Workbooks lend themselves well to independent work and come in either foundation or higher level versions. They cater to all four skills and the audio files can be uploaded to a school’s VLE for pupils to listen to at home if they have access to the internet. There are sound-spelling links practice at the beginning, the same vocabulary lists as in the student books and a check list at the end of each unit for pupil self-evaluation.
Two separate OxBox CD-ROMs can be purchased as part of the Zoom series as a one off payment for each. The Interactive OxBox lends itself to whole class use or individual access via an IT suite with teacher supervision. It features a video drama and interactive exercises for each unit which gives immediate feedback to pupils.
One nice activity allows students to listen to items of vocabulary, record themselves practising and then playback their efforts as a way of improving their pronunciation and boosting their confidence. Teachers have access to PowerPoint grammar presentations and an electronic version of the textbook which includes a floating toolbar containing a spotlight tool, Zoom, eraser, highlight pen and sticky notes for use in class on the whiteboard. These activities are grouped into lessons which can be customised and added to, allowing for easy sharing of good practice within a department. Teachers also have the facility to automatically open all the material within the lesson and thus quickly switch between activities from the taskbar.
The Assessment OxBox CD-ROMs contain summative and formative assessments for each unit and can track the score. Pupils receive levels for each task and the teacher can monitor their personalised learning as they progress through the units.
Zoom español and Zoom Deutsch are rigorous mainstream courses which cater for a range of teaching and learning styles and contain a plethora of practical and useful material to support and extend all learners. To cover all the content available and achieve the expected progression would be a challenge even in three years with three lessons a week, so teacher need to pick and choose the most suitable tasks for their classes and differentiate accordingly. There is scope for a lot of independent work for pupils to do via the workbooks and OxBox CD-ROMs and this will particularly suit the gifted and talented. The short activities are good for lower ability pupils and the graphics help to effectively support understanding too. The courses also lend themselves well to self-evaluation and peer evaluation both in class and at home.
If you are looking for a comprehensive and robust course for KS3 Spanish and German for use in and out of school, Zoom español and Zoom Deutsch undoubtedly fit the bill and satisfy the current requirements of the National Curriculum containing everything a MFL teacher could need.
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