Karen Kelton, University of Texas, Austin
Nancy Guilloteau, University of Texas, Austin
Carl Blyth, University of Texas, Austin
Pub Date: 2011
ISBN 13: 978-1-9379630-4-0
Conditions of Use
Français Interactif explores French language and culture and includes real students from the University of Texas who studied abroad in Lyon, read more
Français Interactif explores French language and culture and includes real students from the University of Texas who studied abroad in Lyon, France. The textbook is well structured. For each chapter, there are 12 sections that reinforce the language learning. Students are introduced to the topic through a set of vocabulary words that they need to prepare before attending the course. There are also preparatory exercises that students are expected to do prior to studying a chapter with the instructor. The new vocabulary is introduced through a short video in an authentic cultural context. In addition, students get to listen to interviews with native speakers where the vocabulary and the grammar of the chapter are used. The textbook offers various activities so that students can employ different learning strategies. It emphasizes good pronunciation through the Phonetics section. As for the homework, the textbook has a dedicated section where materials can be printed. This allows the instructor to check responses. Français Interactif has an online grammar on the companion website where grammar is explained in English, exemplified in a dialogue and tested in self-correcting exercises. The textbook provides a useful table of contents, a 26 page glossary, and an index. The layout is consistent and visually appealing. Contents are arranged logically in each lesson and across lessons. Sample quizzes and exams in the teacher’s edition are useful.
The content is accurate and expected in an introductory French course.
The content is relevant and updates will be easy to implement.
The text is written in accessible prose.
The book is very consistent in terms of terminology and framework.
The text is easily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course.
The topics are presented in a logical and clear fashion.
The text is easy to navigate.
The text is not culturally offensive.
Another strength of this textbook is the possibility to print pages or chapters for those who prefer to work on a paper support.
The book covers all of the French grammatical structures and vocabulary themes that one would expect from a beginning textbook. It is designed with read more
The book covers all of the French grammatical structures and vocabulary themes that one would expect from a beginning textbook. It is designed with in-class components plus preparation, video clips, and online grammar intended for students to complete outside of class as homework. In addition, it contains vocabulary and phonetics sections. The vocabulary is presented not only with lists and English translations, but also short videos filmed in France that show people speaking the words in context, which gives students an opportunity to hear the pronunciation and visually associate the word and its meaning. In short, the book is similarly comprehensive to commercial textbooks. Although it does not contain the course management platform that textbook publishers offer, it does have a self-checking grammar exercise to accompany each structure, as well as many online listening and video activities. The website includes a chapter by chapter “competencies checklist” of “can-do” statements and a useful index.
All of the information presented in the book appears accurate. The website and pdf downloads have been updated for the 2017 edition.
The current (third) edition was updated in 2017. The book is based on “the lives of real students from the University of Texas who have participated in the UT Summer Program in Lyon, France," as well interviews with native speakers. It is written with a sense of humor that many will find appealing even if they do not relate to the UT-Austin focus of the text’s examples.
Instructions in Français Interactif are clearly presented, as are the explanations on Tex’s French Grammar pages. The sample lesson plans and syllabi that are available through the website also make it easy even for novice instructors to figure out how to implement the materials.
Everything is internally coherent throughout, including helpful icons to identify each type of activity.
The site map for the textbook as well as the accompanying grammar website make it very adaptable for use in different contexts. With each chapter available as a pdf, it would be easy for instructors to pick and choose the elements they want to use.
Français Interactif is organized similarly to a commercial textbook in terms of the order in which grammatical structures are presented. In fact, it is rather dense in terms of the number of chapters and amount of grammar presented in each chapter, making it an appropriate choice not only for classic two-semester programs but also for those preferring to stretch their beginning sequence over three semesters. Thanks to the modularity (see above), it would also be easy for instructors to pick and choose the elements to include in a particular class.
Once teachers and students get the hang of it, the website is very easy to navigate. Everything needed is accessible through multiple locations or points of entry, making it easier for all to land on the correct portion of the website.
The textbook (which can be printed out as a pdf on a chapter by chapter basis) does not contain detailed grammar explanations (but does include helpful, brief recalls in the margins). Instead, it refers students to the appropriate online grammar explanations. All of the grammar activities are found on the accompanying website, “Tex’s French Grammar.” Each item is presented with an easy to understand description in English and includes short dialogues that show the structures in context, including a sound icon one can click to hear them read out loud. Finally, each item contains a self-checking fill-in-the-blank exercise for students to practice the structure. I have been referring my students to Tex’s grammar to review for years, even before I learned that it was part of a comprehensive textbook.
Because all of the authentic materials in the book come from videos and topics related to UT-Austin’s study abroad program in Lyon, those looking for a broad francophone perspective will be disappointed. However, the book does a good job of presenting French culture, and the “note culturelle” sections in the book’s margins provide short reading comprehension opportunities throughout each chapter.
The textbook promotes a lexical approach, with an emphasis on vocabulary. Its use of processing instruction is grounded in Second Language Acquisition research: students get exposed to extensive input of grammatical forms before being asked to produce language themselves. I have corresponded with faculty at a number of institutions around the U.S. using Français Interactif for their primary instructional materials and all reported being quite pleased with it.
The text covers all major topics studied in French 110-115 (beginner and beginner advanced level) and 210 (intermediate) Class at GMU. Topics are read more
The text covers all major topics studied in French 110-115 (beginner and beginner advanced level) and 210 (intermediate) Class at GMU. Topics are appropriate and cover all areas and ideas. They allow student to talk about their everyday life. At the beginning of the book there is a glossary of symbols (how to use the book) and at the end of the book there is another glossary (French – English and English-French).
The content is accurate, error free and unbiased.
Content will need updates and are easy to do. For example: p. 25 ; p. 38 ; p.90 or p. 91: famous singers, characters or actors names (Armstrong, Celine Dion, Homer, Lisa etc.) must change to adjust to student population age or preferences in the future. The book referred also to the University of origin of the Authors (Utexas). It is possible to change or to adapt.
Texts are clear and simple. Authors use cognates and examples so students can easily understand sentences, concepts or ideas. Drawings and pictures are also used to make the text more attractive and accessible. The vocabulary includes a comprehensive list of the chapter’s key vocabulary items arranged according to semantic fields, e.g., salutations, colors, days of the week, etc. Grammar exercises are simple.
The book is consistent and authors use the same structure, terminology and framework for all chapters.
The text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course. The only problem I see is the absence of separate text to introduce or to cover the entire chapter as we used to have in other book. The texts in this book include very short dialog, text with exercises but not a complete text in French or if I see such texts, they are on the left side or right side corner of the book (example p. 132, text entitled “ Les repas français” or p. 197 “La maison française et la vie privée »). Texts should have been displayed differently. At the intermediate level students must be able to read a longer text, analyze them or discuss the text or give their opinions.
Topics in the text are presented in a logical and clear fashion. The book is well organized. A picture gives a clear idea of the theme students will study. Each chapter is organized the same way with the same sub-categories (Vocabulary, Phonetics, grammar Videos with cultural aspects). There are three different kinds of videos: • Introductory video, a short video of a student on the study abroad program who presents the chapter’s thematic and grammatical material. The introductions also include a preview of the communicative tasks that form the basis of the lesson. • Vocabulary presentation videos (vocabulaire en contexte) which present vocabulary items in an authentic cultural context. The vocabulary video captures native speakers who use the new vocabulary in a context that provides important visual support. • Interviews of four native French speakers. In the spontaneous interviews, speakers respond to questions that require them to employ the grammar and vocabulary featured in the chapter.
I did not notice and interface issues or navigation problems.
I did not see grammatical errors
The text introduces a variety of aspects of the French culture. The text does not show the diverse population living in France. The only diversity I see is the use of names example Maghrebi names (ex. P 23 Leila Kiblawi). Authors should add more pictures representing the diversity of French population. For example a picture of a classroom shows only white students p.29 or p. 57 or p. 186 or187 only white family members or children are shown. On p.135 a picture of students with their professor is shown and I don’t see any diversity (The students are from Texas I think). P. 188 also shows white female students etc. The videos present interviews of four native French speakers (Franck, Virginie, Jean-Charles, and Stéphanie) and three American students learning French (Laila, Blake, and Karen). Native French speakers don’t include any African or Maghrebi name. Most French people are originally from Africa or Maghreb.
This book is great but should show a France that is more diverse by using pictures of different population living in France or francophone countries. Texts in French summarizing a chapter or cultural aspects should not appear in the left or right corner.
The textbook with its companion website are a complete package that can be used for a variety of levels of French. The companion website presents a read more
The textbook with its companion website are a complete package that can be used for a variety of levels of French. The companion website presents a wealth of highly modular multimedia content (videos, audio, activities in PDF format etc.). I have used the website for intermediate and advanced French courses. With its high level of modularity, Français Intéractif can be reconfigured for specific needs or curricular requirements.
Grammatical, lexical and cultural content fall within "standard French"
Content is up-to-date, except for a map of the regions of France (page 62 in the PDF file of the textbook). The map needs to be updated with the new map of the regions of France following the recent "territorial reform"
Very clear, well-organized. Same high level of clarity in the companion website
Great consistency in terminology. Instructions in English for beginning chapters, then later in French. Instructions are clear and concise. Framework is consistent throughout the textbook and the companion website
Both the textbook and the companion website offer great modularity. In addition to its wealth of supplemental materials (videos, activities in PDF format, grammar explanation and exercises, etc.) the companion website provides the possibility to download individual textbook chapters; this feature will allow instructors to customize the sequencing of "their" textbook.
As is, the textbook is well-organized. Instructors who would rather see a different flow in the textbook can do so by downloading individual chapters and reconfigure them to fit their curricular needs and/or taste (can be done from the companion website)
No interface issues: judicious use of grids and graphic organizers. Would love to see in the textbook embedded links for the companion website.
Didn't notice grammar errors
The textbook could present a more inclusive view of the culturally, ethnically and religiously diverse French society. It could also integrate more the Francophone world.
"Français Intéractif" and its companion website rank top among French textbooks I came across. They provide a plethora of multimedia resources and activities that would meet the needs of the most demanding instructor (the companion website gives the possibility to reconfigure the flow of the textbook by downloading individual chapters). SOME RECOMMENDATIONS: 1) in the PDF textbook, embed links to the companion website 2) In the companion website, make the PDF files for exercises fillable PDF files. Fillable PDF files for exercises would provide great convenience for online courses. Great textbook and even "greater" companion website
The textbook is very comprehensive, covering all the primary vocabulary topics (classroom, calendar, countries, weather, seasons, transportation, read more
The textbook is very comprehensive, covering all the primary vocabulary topics (classroom, calendar, countries, weather, seasons, transportation, parts of body, food, locations, holidays, housing, entertainment, clothing, etc...) and grammatical points (major verb tenses, articles, object pronouns, demonstrative pronouns relative pronouns, interrogative pronouns, comparative and superlative, reflexive verbs, negation, etc...). The only shortcoming is that, in the printed copy, the glossary/index at the end of the book does not include an index allowing users to pinpoint which chapters various grammatical points are introduced in. To locate a specific topic--the passé composé, for example--one would either have to look at the introductory page of each chapter or go to the website, which has a list of topics introduced in each chapter on its map (carte du site) webpage.
The book appears to be very accurate. I did not detect any typos or grammatical errors. It might take a semester or two of use in the classroom to verify this, however.
The content covered is fairly universal and is unlikely to become obsolete in the foreseeable future. There is a bit of technological vocabulary in Chapters 8 and 9, including a few slightly outdated terms (lecteur DVD, répondeur, boîte vocale, forum), but otherwise, vocabulary seems current.
Instructions and explanations are concise and clear. In some cases, the student is directed to go to the website for a longer explanation of grammatical points, so that might be considered a limitation on its clarity in some cases.
The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework.
The book is divided into 13 chapters, but chapters are not divided into topics or sections. Exercises proceed directly from vocabulary activities to grammatical activities with no change of subheading, topic, or section. Grammatical notes are listed in the margins. Although it is fairly easy to assign readings based on page numbers, it would be helpful to have chapter content broken down into smaller units.
Chapters are presented in a logical, clear fashion, with more complex verb tenses and grammatical points being introduced after simpler or more basic ones.
In the printed copy, images are sometimes unclear because of the paper type and because the printed copy is in black and white. Photos are in color on the website and downloadable pdf versions. In both the printed copy and the downloadable chapter pdf files, grammatical information in the margins or in gray text on a lighter gray background. This might be somewhat harder to read due to the low contrast between font and background color, but is not terribly problematic on the whole. The printed copy might pose a problem for students with certain reading or vision disabilities. The pdf files should be less of a problem, as students can zoom in for a closer look at hard-to-read print. Having to go back and forth between the printed copy and/or pdf chapter files and the website might be taxing for some.
The text appears to be grammatically correct.
The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. The book does attempt to include some cultural diversity, by including Jewish and Muslim holidays as well as Christian ones, in the chapter on holidays, and by including a few recipes from non-Western cultures in the food chapter, for example. However, diversity is somewhat limited in the photos, as the majority of them appear to have been taken during a study abroad trip featuring young, mostly Caucasian students, most of whom are probably American. Likewise, the book mascot is a cartoon armadillo named Tex who wears a beret. The occasional references to Tex and Texas, along with the limited diversity, might make it a difficult choice for universities outside of Texas.
In addition to the textbook, which can be downloaded in pdf format by chapter , each of which can be assembled and printed as a hard copy, the website offers numerous supplementary resources online. For example, there are verb practice activities which enable students to practice conjugating various verbs in all the basic verb tenses. There are also exercises associated with each lesson on the website. And there are short videos corresponding to each chapter. The sound is fairly clear in these, but images are sometimes blurred, and there are fewer authentic francophone accents and dialects represented than one might prefer. Given that this is all free, it is quite the resource. Assigning the online readings and short exercises associated with them, plus a few exercises from the textbook itself, might be sufficient for homework, but it is less interactive than what the major publishers are providing these days, and additional supplementary content may have to be created by the instructor. As more and more publishers move to offering free digital textbooks with the purchase of access to online homework and other supplementary materials, and with many language programs using textbooks like this one for all four lower-level courses, the question of textbook costs are less of a concern than that of the quality (and cost) of supplementary materials. But for instructors and departments who decide to forego the bells and whistles and who are looking for a good, solid lower-level French textbook with some basic supplementary materials available online, this textbook is an excellent choice.
Français Interactif combines a PDF textbook with a complementary online platform to introduce vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and culture to read more
Français Interactif combines a PDF textbook with a complementary online platform to introduce vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and culture to students of elementary French.
The PDF textbook is error free. Some external links on the textbook website are broken. In terms of bias, Français Interactif focuses mainly on French spoken in France and French culture with hardly any mention of the larger Francophone world.
Because the textbook was developed for students at the University of Texas-Austin, it has a lot of cultural references to places and people around Austin and Texas that might be lost on students at other schools. For example, one of the characters in the grammar activities is a dim-witted squirrel named Joe-Bob from College Station. Apparently there is a rivalry between UT-Austin and Texas A&M, which is in College Station. This detail had been lost on me until a student from Texas explained it to me. There are also references to Stubb's Bar in Austin, typical weather in Dallas, making travel plans to Louisiana, Lance Armstrong, and Tony Parker. When using this textbook to teach, I've simply replace their Texas references with people and places that are more relevant to students in Oregon.
The text is clear and accessible. Instructions in chapters 0 and 1 are in English, but in French in all subsequent chapters. The consistency and continuity within the chapters, however, allows for a smooth, hardly noticeable transition for students.
Every chapter is built using the same framework. They each have their own website with a link to the chapter PDF, a brief introduction to the chapter and introductory video, a list of vocabulary with an auditory function so students can listen and repeat vocab words on their own time, a pronunciation lesson, links to TEX's grammar activities that are relevant to each chapter, and a series of videos which use the chapter's content in authentic contexts. Within each actual textbook chapter are a variety of reading, writing, listening, and speaking activities. The activities build on each other and are well scaffolded, which contributes to a strong sense of continuity between chapter and activities.
Due to how both the chapters build on one another in terms of grammar and vocabulary presentation, I think it would be difficult to divise the chapters or to change their order without significant adjustments. However, the activities in each chapter are divisible and easy to rearrange.
Français Interactif is well organized and consistent from chapter to chapter. Each chapter begins with some activities which incorporate thematic vocabulary and introduces the theme of the chapter. These activities are then followed by some interactive grammar activities which use examples from the preceding exercises to contextualize the grammar. Interactive grammar activities are normally followed by speaking and writing exercises which focus on interaction through group or pair work. The only chapter I have found to have organization/flow issues is chapter 6 because it presents the passé composé through an interactive grammar activity at the beginning of the chapter but doesn't follow up with any practice until the much later, toward the end. Instead, the passé composé interactive grammar activity is immediately followed by an activity with regular -re verbs in the present tense.
The interface is pretty clear cut but the chapter homepages can be overwhelming for students at first as they are learning a new language and how to navigate the online platform at the same time. I take time in class to walk my students through the Français Interactif textbook website and where to find different activities.
I have not detected any grammatical errors. In the textbook, grammar is presented inductively through interactive activities which allow students to infer rules through use. TEX's grammar provides a more deductive grammar presentation that students can consult outside of class and is an excellent resource for new students who are learning a certain grammar point for the first time. It's also a good resource for more advanced students who are looking to brush up.
The textbook focuses mainly on France and French culture and would benefit from incorporating a more Francophone perspective through readings, photos, and cultural comparisons between different French speaking countries.
Français Interactif is a solid, high quality textbook. The textbook activities are conducive to communicative in-class activities and promote grammar and vocab acquisition. In my experience, students have found the cultural notes interesting and the activities engaging.
Le Français Interactif is typical of first-year French textbooks, covering all of the grammatical and lexical material typically found in such texts. read more
Le Français Interactif is typical of first-year French textbooks, covering all of the grammatical and lexical material typically found in such texts. The presentation and structure is logical and well-considered, and the 13 chapters of the book (which includes one short preliminary chapter), focusing on themes of high student interest and relevance, allow the book to be covered comfortably in two semesters. The focus of the text is on communication through activities, and there is a particularly strong focus on listening and speaking. Similarly, the program is rich in audio and video content, and provides a systematic (optional) focus on phonetics through the FI Website. Less prominent in the program, however, is a focus on extended reading and writing. Indeed, aside from the reading provided in the textbook (largely restricted to short cultural units and the communicative activities), there are no extended reading activities, and no reading sections provided on the sample tests. Similarly, the cultural content of the program, as described below, is generally good, but limited to France. The entire program, including a downloadable student text and an online version with embedded links to activities, videos, audio segments, and other materials, is accessible from the Français Interactif website. The FI website also includes a comprehensive student grammar portal that allows students to practice and prepare grammatical content outside of class, and to download pdf, mp3 and podcast versions of material. In addition, instructors may request access to the instructor’s website which includes access to all material needed for adopters: activities, lesson plans, sample tests, demonstration videos and extensive useful information for instruction, testing and adopting the program, among other things.
In general, the content appears accurate, and free of grammatical errors. However, I did have some minor concerns regarding usage. First, the use of tu and vous alternates quite a bit in student activities (sometimes within the same activity). Similarly, the use of Inversion (even with tu) occurs in non-formulaic questions more frequently than occurs in typical native-speaker usage, and in some activities, inversion alternates with questions formed with 'est-ce que'. Otherwise, the text appears highly accurate in terms of grammatical structures.
There are a few issues that may compromise the relevance and longevity of the text. Produced by COERLL at the University of Texas, with a target audience of UT students, the text is full of references to UT and to Austin. This does not necessarily pose a problem, but it may not possess the same interest for outside students or potential to engage them the way that a text addressing a wider target audience might. Similarly, there are a number of cultural references that may become dated, particular those referring to American popular culture (Jay Leno, Oprah, the Simpsons...). However, adopters should be able to modify these references without too much difficulty.
The grammatical explanations on the FI Website and well as the activities of the student textbook are very clear, and frequently supplemented with models. The text also includes frequent concise summaries of grammatical structures and cultural information in the margins to help students understand and complete the activities in the student textbook. The focus seems to be on short, concise explanations and clear models.
The book is highly consistent. Chapters begin with stated content and goals, vocabulary, and then follow a consistent, predictable structure, starting with receptive skills and listening practice, and progressing toward to spoken and written production. It should be noted, however, that the chapters are of varying lengths; aside from the four-page chapitre preliminaire, the average length seems to be about 24-26 pages, with one chapter at 16 pages another around 30 pages. This may pose some minor issues for syllabus planning.
In the student textbook, the chapters are organized around a series of interactive activities focusing on the goals and content of each chapter. As such, chapters can be moved around (within limits) as desired by the instructor. Within the chapters themselves, reorganization may be more difficult. Aside from the fact that the student textbook is only available in pdf format, the structure of the chapters may also complicate things. The numerous activities are presented in a steady stream with no clear section divisions or headings, and although the "rappel" section presented in the margins and the instructions for the activities may give a good indication of these section divisions, an instructor will need to take care to identify where one set of exercises focusing on a given structure ends and where another begins before restructuring sections of a chapter. Similarly, because the activities in the chapters of the student textbook follow a well-planned sequence (input --> output, receptive --> productive) and increase in terms of the demands placed on learners, it would be advised to not reorder the activities within sections, although instructors could easily skip any of the activities as desired.
The organization of the textbook is very good. The topics and themes are presented in a way that may reflect the importance of particular contexts and communicative needs to students, starting with greetings and descriptions of one's self and activities, to more abstract contexts - media, work, relationships, money - toward the end. Noticeably absent, however, is a chapter on the environment and environmental issues, something almost always found in current first-year textbooks. The bulk of the student textbook is focused on interactive class activities, which follow a logical order clearly informed by second language acquisition research on processing instruction, proceeding from structured comprehensible input in both listening and reading, to increasing levels of student output, in both speaking and writing. One thing that would be recommended would be an easier-to-use, more detailed table of contents in the beginning of the student textbook, with a clear scope and sequence.
The interface is excellent, largely due to its uncluttered student textbook, organized, visually appealing and rich in visual organizers, although section headings and clear reference to grammatical sections would be helpful. The FI main website is easy to navigate. Simplicity and clarity seem to be the focus in the presentation of the materials. Navigation between activities, videos and audio is easy when using the online, electronic version of the student textbook, where direct links are provided; however, students and instructors using the pdf version or a printed copy will need to access audio, visual and pdf materials directly from the FI website.
The materials do not appear to contain any grammatical errors. The explanations on the student website are very clear, short and concise, and consistently supplemented with copious models. There is, however, a stronger emphasis on translation than would be expected - not just in the explanations, but also in the grammar website and in student textbook activities. The grammar is sequenced in a logical sequence, and in a way typically found in first-year textbooks, except that the subjunctive (which is typically the last major grammar unit presented in textbooks) is presented before the simple future and the conditional. Similarly, direct and indirect object pronouns are presented back-to-back, which may be confusing for some students. Finally, some things appear to be presented rather late in the textbook: passé composé of reflexive verbs (chapter 8), imperatives (chapter 8), and adverbs (chapter 12). If used for two semesters, a logical use would be to end the first semester with Chapter 6, which focusses on the passé composé with être and avoir, and to start the second semester with Chapter 7, which introduces the imparfait, and allows a little time (a full chapter) before passé composé and imparfait are used together, something which may be helpful for instructors and students. However, it should be noted that in a two-semester use of this textbook, the second semester will be a grammar-heavy course (covering imparfait, subjunctive, simple future and conditional), although this is typical for first-year textbooks used over two semesters.
The cultural relevance of the book is generally good. However, cultural information is mostly presented in the form of short "Note Culturelles" in the margins, and while these offer practical cultural information with high student interest and with strong relevance to daily life, the information presented is often brief and largely restricted to France. Some additional cultural content is found in some of the student activities and through the extensive videos provided in the program. Overall, however, instructors may be dismayed by the absence of references to francophone culture outside of France, and by the lack of cultural information derived through literary sources. In this regard, instructors may want to supplement the book with additional cultural materials focusing on Francophonie and literature.
Le Francais Interactif is a very usable, appealing program, and is an excellent choice for anyone considering an open source French textbook. Clearly, a lot of work and careful planning have gone into the program, and it has great potential to engage and interest students, while helping them develop communicative competence in French. While the program has a few potential drawbacks - the absence of francophone culture and the lack of literary and extended reading content, instructors can readily adapt and supplement the materials to increase the opportunities for student contact with other francophone cultures, to provide more literary content, and to offer students more opportunities for extensive reading and writing in French.
The textbook overall is mostly comprehensive and the traditional grammatical themes appear here as in other first/second year language books. There read more
The textbook overall is mostly comprehensive and the traditional grammatical themes appear here as in other first/second year language books. There are very good thematic vocabulary lists at the beginning of each chapter, although clearer delineation of grammar topics throughout thebook could be helpful.
Content is mostly accurate and without error. It should be noted that the Saône river is a "rivière" and not a "fleuve" (p.83), and that "quizz" (p.83) and "lever le doigt" (p.20) are marginally correct and/or outdated. There are a few typographical corrections to be made: 'musqique' (106), unbold 'mailbox' (140), bold
Though a few nearly archaic suspects appear (blackboard, chalk, paper dictionary) in an early video, this text does an excellent job on updating and invigorating what in other books has become bland vocabulary. In the chapters of Français interactif we encounter 'hip hop,' 'to blog,' 'piercing/tattoo,' "that sucks"....and also 'Facebook' and 'mosque.'
The text is mostly easy to read and its topics are presented clearly. There is a good balance of informal/formal address (tu/vous) and many of the partner conversation exercises intrinsically provide good platforms for richer discussion, between partners or opened up to the classroom. The only occasionally less-clear sections of the book focus on the animal mascots (an armadillo, cockroach, squirrel....) in different conversation exercises. Specifically, the anthropomorphism of these animals makes it difficult to know if we're talking about real or imaginary situations, let alone why.
The book is generally consistent. A few suggestions would be to: standardize capitalization of grammar section titles in the margins, standardize "FI" (14, 166) or "Fi", as found in margins, and "Je rends" (149) should be "rendre" to remain internally consistent.
Great, including modularity of the companion site. There is a slightly less traditional sub-organization of chapters; i.e. there are not clear subheadings/subchapter section numbers to distinguish one grammar point from the next. This isn't necessarily a fault, and no doubt favors conversation over grammar.
There is a good variety of exercises and mostly a clear flow from one to the other in each chapter. I was less clear on what transitions, if any, were intended in shifts between the cultural notes on Lyon and Paris. Though thematically relevant to the chapter, I didn't always understand the shift between the two cities (though perhaps this is typical of other texts to only focus on one city/region per chapter). Earlier I mentioned confusion re the anthropomorphism of the mascot animals. On at least one occasion, I felt the book's flow was interrupted because it was unclear to me whether Tex and Corey were animals, and why the latter had consumed 'too much' insecticide...if this was a metaphor, or real, or....? Lastly, I thought that there was a very interesting treatment of university studies toward the end of the book. Often, textbooks will introduce university/academic vocabulary in the first few chapters, as basic vocab. Here, with more grammar and experience under their belt, the student is able to explore a greater depth of subject matter and vocabulary. At its position in the book, this section should also coincide nicely with the study-abroad student who may, in the second half of their experience, be transitioning to direct-enrollment in a French university.
One concern I have is that the photos (taken from a camera) will not always print clearly in B&W. Captions for some or all images may help this. Also, a few formatting issues: hard return after 'sa' (45), line-switch Ex. 2 'lettre' (143), consider bullets before 'du bateau' and 'une promenade' to separate the two expressions (67/margin).
Mostly error-free, as it should be. Please add the grave accent to 'voila' ('voilà') on page 31. Also, the 'œ' letter as seen on page 127 in 'les œufs" should be consistently used, and not 'o' and 'e' separately as on pages 111, 113, 118, and 166 (bœuf, œuf, vœux).
The text, in my opinion, is not offensive, but it is hardly inclusive of other cultural experiences. Surprisingly there is almost no mention of the Francophone world (one marginal reference on p.54 and some African countries sporadically mentioned in conversation/grammar exercises). This is surprising, first because it does not follow a current trend of Francophone exploration, however introductory, in French textbooks today. Second, if Français interactif must stay only in France, the text does not at all reflect the multicultural and multiethnic nature of France today. The four main French informants in Austin are all white, the only cities in France explored are Lyon and Paris, and U.S. and specifically Texan ethnocentrism prevails. Consider that 6 out 7 nationalities in the nationality exercise, p. 56, are historically white and/or Anglophone. Though elsewhere mentioning mosques and Indian restaurants is truly commendable, photos of BBQ restaurants in Texas (72) and repeated stories of armadillos and cockroaches ultimately do not inform the student about cultural (or zoological) norms in France. Similarly, the names "Joe Bob," "Tammy," and "Paw Paw" are very specific to the southern United States and, as such, don't seem at all pertinent to students from elsewhere in the United States. The closest thing to cultural inclusion are the occasionally-mentioned American students Toño and Laila. Laila, it's suggested in one exercise, does speak Arabic. Perhaps writing her name with an accent (Leïla) would show a more authentic (and very modern) norm in France/French. This text is clearly intended for University of Texas students, either while on UT's study-abroad program in Lyon or being encouraged to do so in using the textbook in the U.S.
Perhaps consider renaming the cat "Bette," which is a homophone for 'stupid' in French. Also, the term "chatte" (15) tends to be avoided, as it's rather common slang for female genitalia.
Français interactif is a popular, award-winning, and thorough textbook of 347 pages, ideal for first-year French, but also useable for the first read more
Français interactif is a popular, award-winning, and thorough textbook of 347 pages, ideal for first-year French, but also useable for the first semester of second year. It includes fourteen chapters, organized thematically, plus a glossary. Each chapter includes the following components: vocabulary, phonetics, preparation exercises, online video clips of three types (introduction, vocabulary presentation, interviews), online grammar, pair exercises, class or group exercises, listening comprehension exercises, homework/writing exercises to turn in, cultural notes, interactive grammar, and song exercises "Chansons exercises." There are many components to choose from, thus it would be difficult to cover them all in one semester. The simplest and most logical way to divide the content would be to cover seven chapters per semester (0-6 and 7-13), but one could also use it over three semesters (0-4, 5-9, 10-13) and add a supplement like a reader for the last semester.
The textbook appears accurate and unbiased throughout. I found one typographical error, the word "acess" instead of "access" on page 3.
The vocabulary and content are mostly up to date, but the book is centered around French culture of continental France. The organization and structure is flexible enough, however, that aspects of diverse francophone cultures (Louisiana, the Antilles, Africa, the Pacific) could be easily integrated. It needs some updating as far as the content. For instance, instructors would have to explain or omit the Simpsons, the Teletubbies, and Lance Armstrong and replace them with something more contemporary.
The book is clear and concise in both its English sections (“Grammaire active” instructions and grammatical side notes) and French sections (“Cultural side notes”). It has a significant amount of graphic organizers (photos, lists, graphs, grids) that make it flow well.
There is a nice combination of consistency, balance, and variety. The first page of each chapter clearly states the learning objectives in four sections: Vocabulary, Phonétique, Grammaire, Vidéos. Several pages of vocabulary begin each lesson and there is the right balance of listening, speaking, reading and writing exercises throughout. In fact, each chapter offers an average of thirty exercises aimed at strengthening the four skills.
Because of the flexible structure and the fact that each chapter can be downloaded as a PDF, material can be easily moved around and assigned in a different order if desired.
The structure is quite logical. As stated earlier, the material can be easily rearranged if need be.
The only problem was a time issue in navigating between the different components of the book, from the pages of the chapters to the videos, to the online exercises, to the audio files, and back again. Instructors will have to anticipate these issues in order to make his/her classes run smoothly. Those with real technological skills will perhaps want to embed the videos and mp3 files directly into the textbook so as to avoid potential navigational problems.
I did not find any grammatical errors, only the typo on page 3 stated earlier.
The textbook is not very culturally or ethnically diverse. As stated earlier, it could use a much broader presentation of the Francophone world.
What this book most lacks are connections to the Francophone world outside of continental France. But it is particularly strong and comprehensive in the areas of vocabulary, grammar, and phonetics. Indeed, I greatly appreciate the number and variety of exercises. What my students need most is the opportunity to practice and this textbook certainly offers that while also accommodating different types of learners. The fact that the chapters can be downloaded as separate PDFs makes it user-friendly and easy for the instructor to supplement and rearrange with his/her own content and activities. Well done!
The text covers the material of first year French appropriately. read more
The text covers the material of first year French appropriately.
I did not detect any errors.
We have adopted this book, and it is wonderful to have a solid first year French textbook that is open source. In terms of relevance, the book is not always relevant to students on our campus--significant number of commuters, non-traditional aged students. This textbook assumes students are "traditional" college students. But the book still works for us, and students are thrilled to have a no-cost option. The text was made originally for use at UT-Austin, so there are some references to Austin and places near the UT campus. We finesse that by putting those exercises on a Powerpoint slide, and change the references to match our city and campus. That's an easy work-around.
Students have had no complaints about clarity.
Easy to teach with because it follows the same patterns.
Chapters feel well balanced, unlike another texts we have used when the lack of balance made a particular quarter untenable.
good scaffolding, nice mix of exercises from drill to communicative activities, great flow in the chapters
Easy enough to navigate. The video quality is not always great, but I don't think it's fair to expect perfect video from an open source text.
I did not detect errors.
The textbook is France-focused. It would be nice if they would add more diverse material from the French-speaking world.
This is a solid option for a first year French textbook. The vocabulary sections are rich, there is a good mix of exercises, and scaffolding is built in. I am generally happy with this textbook. (Although I don't like the recurring characters, who are animals with personalities. But that's probably just me.)
This textbook covers vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar and culture of Elementary French. There is so much material in this textbook that it could read more
This textbook covers vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar and culture of Elementary French. There is so much material in this textbook that it could not possibly be covered in one semester. Consequently, it would be a good text to have for French 1 and French 2. There are 13 chapters. Chapters 0 to 6 could be covered in French 1 and chapters 7 to 13 could be covered in French 2. However, instructors would have to adjust their syllabi depending on how many hours a week they are teaching. The textbook includes a detailed overview of the functions, structures and vocabulary that will be taught in each chapter. While the layout and design are appropriate and clear, I felt that there were some chapter areas that could be better organized. For instance, in chapter 2, “Quel(l)(e)(s)” is introduced at p. 45 but related exercises do not appear until p. 53. The same is true with the introduction of “irregular –IR verbs” in chapter 3 and then again in chapter 7.
The textbook appears accurate throughout the chapters.
The content and vocabulary is up to date. However, it is centered around French culture, but an instructor could easily change and integrate culture from diverse francophone cultures.
The text is written both in French and English. Most of the exercise instructions are written in French, while most of the “Grammaire interactive” instructions are written in English. This is probably due to the fact that all of the the grammatical side notes (in the margins) are in English, while all of the “Cultural side notes” are in French. The book uses armadillo symbols to indicate the focus of the exercises (i.e. vocabulary ; phonetics ; online video clips ; etc.).
The learning objectives are clearly stated. The first page of each chapter is divided into four sections: - Vocabulaire / - Phonétique / - Grammaire / - Vidéos. Each section enumerates what will be taught in the chapters and is followed by two to four pages of vocabulary at the beginning of each lesson. Each chapter offers a variety of exercises (on average about 30 exercises per chapter). The textbook offers a balance of activities: written assignments; individual/pair/group exercises ; listening parts.
The textbook is not clearly divisible. It lacks lessons within chapters. The grammar side notes seem to be working as sub-division, though, and for each grammar point, there are a lot of exercises. But because of the flexibility of the textbook, chapter can easily be moved around and assigned in different order if desired.
Overall, I think the structure is fairly logical. There were some instances where I would rearrange the contents of some chapters. For instance, I would move the imperative mood from chapter 8 to chapter 1 because it is used in some of the exercises. I would also find it easier as a teacher to have embedded videos and audio documents directly into the textbook, rather than to have to go back to a different page to access them.
I did not find any interface issues; however, it took me a while to navigate from the textbook chapters to the videos, audio documents, online exercises.
The text contains no grammatical errors as far as I can tell, except for the misspelling of a name: Nicolas Sarkozy first name is without an “h”. Thus, it should be “Nicolas” and not “Nicholas”.
The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. But I think it could use a broader presentation on the Francophone world, including countries such as Sénégal, Belgique, Martinique, etc...
Overall, this is a very rich textbook with a lot of diverse pedagogical activities. The fact that the chapters can be downloaded as separate PDFs makes it easy for the instructor to rearrange his or her lesson and to add content. However, I think it lacks cultural links to the francophone world other than France.
This book is one of the most comprehensive French language textbooks in terms of vocabulary and grammar that I have seen in a while. The text covers read more
This book is one of the most comprehensive French language textbooks in terms of vocabulary and grammar that I have seen in a while. The text covers all the areas of French language and culture thoroughly. The index is very well organized and easy to understand. The fact that there is a section on Phonetics is a great addition that I have rarely seen in many hardback textbook.
The content is accurate and unbiased. It shows a great over view of the diversity which makes up French and Francophone society.
The content/vocabulary is up to date. The text is arranged in a clear manner. When needed I see making any necessary updates will be easy to implement.
The text is written (especially the grammar explanations) in accessible jargon, not too technical which can at times confuse students. In the videos that accompany the text the actors speak clearly and slowly which is comprehensible to a beginning French learner.
The text is consistent in it's clarity and ease in terms of terminology and framework.
The chapters can easily be moved around and assigned in different order if desired. The general grammar rules are presented in such a way and there is so much supplemental information available to instructors that the grammar points can easily be expanded upon in a way that does not disrupt the student/reader
The topics are presented in a logical and clear manner, yet can be reorganized if the instructor wants.
The interface for the most part is great, there are some videos that would not play. The display is very clear. The suggestions/additional information provided on the left or right side of each page adds to the other information that is on the page. the regular reminder in the side margins to speak solely in French: Parlez uniquement en français! Si la réponse est “OUI”, demandez la signature de cette personne. Is a great way to encourage students to remain in the target language, this book understands how some students learn foreign languages and the need for kind reminders to use French.
The text contains no grammatical errors. The grammar rules are presented clearly.
The text presents a true image of French and Francophone Culture, showing the diversity that France and other Francophone countries are made up of.
This is one of the few texts that I have found which seems to be truly tailored to the students. The supplemental information that they include on the website to accompany the text is clearly made to help students better understand French. The fact that they have included videos of other american college students using French is a great way for users of this text book to feel hope, by seeing other students who went through the same situation as them (being beginning learners of French) The notes on the side of each of the text's pages are a great addition to the activities that are in the middle of the page.
Français interactif is a thorough textbook with the companion website “Tex’s French Grammar.” The companion website is a valuable and user read more
Français interactif is a thorough textbook with the companion website “Tex’s French Grammar.” The companion website is a valuable and user friendly website for students and instructors alike. I have used the website on many occasions in class and I have recommended it to students outside of class at a variety of levels ranging from beginning to intermediate to advanced levels courses. I have not used the textbook in class but I have used it as a reference. I have also recommended it to my students in higher level French courses who needed to review their French grammar on their own. The book is generally well organized and covers all necessary areas for this level.
The content is accurate and error free. However, I think the book may benefit by being more inclusive of the French speaking world outside of France especially when it is discussing cultural aspects. Instead of only having “In France”, the authors may want to include examples from other Francophone regions.
I think the book could benefit by including activities and cultural notes about the diversity of the French-speaking world.
The text is clear, informative and accessible to students for beginning and intermediate French.
The book is consistent and appropriate in terms of its terminology and framework
The chapters are clear and well-organized with symbols that relate to the type of exercises such as “Pair Exercise”, “Class or Group Exercises” and “Listening Comprehension” exercises. Each chapter can be downloaded as separate PDFS. There are also videos and interviews that can be downloaded on their own. This makes it very easy to use and accessible for students and instructors.
In terms of grammar, the topics are generally presented in a logical and clear manner. It is appropriate for a language text for this level. However, the grammar could be better presented in an authentic context.
The book is generally free of significant interface issues.
The grammar is clear. The companion website "Tex’s French Grammar" is very useful and easy to use with the book. However, it would be very useful if the grammar was taught in specific context with authentic input.
While the book makes it clear from the very beginning that “it will explore the French language and culture by following the lives of real students from the University of Texas who have participated in the UT Summer Program in Lyon, France” [and] “watch interviews of native French speakers and day-to-day interaction in France”, it will be beneficial to find ways to integrate the French-speaking world including countries or regions such as Belgium, Canada, Martinique, Morocco, Senegal and Switzerland to name but a few.
This book is very useful and I would recommend it. However, given the lack of diversity regarding the French speaking world I would recommend that instructors find additional materials to introduce students to other regions besides France. One possibility for updating the materials would be to recruit graduate students and faculty volunteers who can develop materials to support the book and keep it relevant as well as contribute to its longevity. This book makes French more accessible to students who have limited financial resources.
For an introductory level, the book covers the basic vocabulary, grammar, & cultural content well in a contextual format. read more
For an introductory level, the book covers the basic vocabulary, grammar, & cultural content well in a contextual format.
I did not come across any blatant errors in the online text.
Most pictures look up to date however I did notice that some of the cultural content could be considered dated (ie. The Simpsons were used as an animation example and Lance Armstrong was referenced in the Tour de France section, although he had all his medals revoked. There was also a picture of Teletubbies which is fairly old.) Overall, cultural references were up to date and accurate with the use of the Euro, sending New Year cards rather than Christmas cards and the photographs appeared to be recent with current styles, clothes, decor, etc.
The book has a significant amount of lists, grids, and other graphic organizers in addition to text, which makes it very easy to find information and flows well. I found the text to be very easy to read, as it is clear and concise.
Perfect combination of consistent and innovative with different types of activities in the text.
As mentioned previously the text consists of many graphic organizers in addition to the text. This allows the content to be divided into sections easily and the formatting makes the content easy to read and follow as well.
Very well organized.
No noticable interface issues.
No noticeable grammatical errors.
I did not notice a wide-range of ethnic diversity in the photographs in this text, so if there is one improvement that could be made, in my opinion, it would be this.
Overall, this is an extremely well-organized and content-rich text. I really appreciate how the text is formatted, and the diverse types of activities and graphic organizers used to address different types of learners. Thank you!
Table of Contents
Glossary of Symbols : How to Use Français interactif
Chapter 0 Bienvenue!
Chapter 1 Bonjour!
Chapter 2 Me voici!
Chapter 3 Les vacances en France
Chapter 4 Les gens
Chapter 5 Bon appétit!
Chapter 6 La ville
Chapter 7 Les fêtes
Chapter 8 La maison
Chapter 9 Médias et communications
Chapter 10 Mode, forme et santé
Chapter 11 Les études
Chapter 12 La vie professionnelle
Chapter 13 L’amour et l’argent
About the Book
This textbook of classroom activities and homework accompanies Français interactif. Français interactif, the web-based French program developed and in use at the University of Texas since 2004, and its companion site, Tex’s French Grammar (2000) are open access sites, free and open multimedia resources, which require neither password nor fees. Français interactif, used increasingly by students, teachers, and institutions throughout the world, includes 320 videos (American students in France, native French interviews, vocabulary and culture presentation videos) recorded vocabulary lists, phonetic lessons, online grammar lessons (600 pages) with self-correcting exercises and audio dialogues, online grammar tools (verb conjugation reference, verb practice), and diagnostic grammar tests.
About the Contributors
Karen Kelton was a Senior Lecturer in the Department of French and Italian at the University of Texas from 1981 to 2015. She continues to direct the UT Summer Program in Lyon, France.
Nancy Guilloteau is a Senior Lecturer and the Language Program Director of lower division French in the Department of French and Italian at the University of Texas.
Carl Blyth is the Director of the Center of Open Educational Resources and Language Learning (COERLL) and Associate Professor of French Linguistics in the Department of French and Italian.