Au Boulot! First-Year French
David A. Dinneen
Copyright Year: 1995
Publisher: KU ScholarWorks
Conditions of Use
The text covers the relevant material for a two-semester introductory course in French. However, the book sometimes describes itself as a two-semester introductory course, and sometimes as a two-year introductory course, so there is a slight... read more
The text covers the relevant material for a two-semester introductory course in French. However, the book sometimes describes itself as a two-semester introductory course, and sometimes as a two-year introductory course, so there is a slight problem with consistency when it comes to this self-labeling. There is no glossary, but the authors are clear in explaining their reasoning why a glossary would not be desirable in this case.
The content is correct and accurate, without any errors or typos that I could find. It is unbiased, though it does not make an effort to recognize the many diverse countries and cultures throughout the world where French is spoken. But this seems due less to any bias and more to the fact that the textbook focuses almost exclusively on grammar and vocabulary, with little cultural content or context.
While the content of French grammar and vocabulary has not changed much since the publication of this textbook in 1995, the pedagogical approach to teaching French has changed significantly since then. There are no cultural activities or exercises in this textbook, there is little emphasis on the communicative method, there very few images, and there is no video or on-line activity. Instructors will also find that technology-related vocabulary (MP3, Internet, texting, iPhone, etc.) is out-of-date.
The text is clear; directions and explanations of content, in both English in French, is clear for a first-year college French student. Terms are adequately explained and there is no jargon.
The only inconsistency I find is that there is a question as to whether this textbook views itself as a two-semester or a two-year college textbook. The explanations of grammar and vocabulary are internally consistent and follow a natural, easy-to-follow progression.
The content is well-organized, with each chapter building upon the previous ones. However, each chapter also seems to be useful as a stand-alone grammatical or vocabulary lesson, even more so than most textbooks.
The content is presented in a clear, organized way. Any person wishing to receive an introduction to French, even without any foreign language background whatsoever, can pick up this book and begin learning with it.
Since the cultural and image-related content in the textbook is very low, there is little cultural and image-related content that might distract or get in the way of a student learning the material, which is focused almost exclusively on grammar and vocabulary.
I did not see any grammatical errors.
There is virtually no cultural, literary, artistic, music, image-related, etc. content in this textbook. Thus, there is no cultural insensitivity that can be discerned. This book is not intended to serve as a stand-alone text; in combination with other materials that focus on cultural activities and so forth, the grammar and vocabulary lessons and exercises of this textbook (and accompanying workbook) may prove very useful.
The book covers the basics - syntax, pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar -, in a practical manner. read more
The book covers the basics - syntax, pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar -, in a practical manner.
Provides high quality sound files. Accuracy is a main training goal of this material.
It focuses on syntax, pronunciation and vocabulary, without attempting to be extensive on cultural content. The immediate daily culture serving as cultural context, there is little concern for the content's currency.
Absolutely clear and concise in explanations. It further provides advice to students on learning methods and prepares them for the instructor's use of classroom French.
The book is consistent in that the lessons are organized in a uniform structure and pace for each lesson.
Modules are consistent from lesson to lesson and very easy to implement.
The book maintains a consistent structure effective relevant to the pedagogy. There is little intention to push students to engage in extensive communication, e.g. using paragraph-length speech, before such ability is ready.
Clear navigation, consistent for all lessons.
Grammar is one of the focus of this book.
The book does not intend to introduce broader cultural contents, such as ethnic, political, artistic perspectives, beyond the basic needs of language practice. On the contrary, it keeps things simple and directly relevant.
Au Boulot! is a textbook for the first year of French. It includes a textbook, a workbook, and sound files for the lessons. The sound files are of high clarity. The most notable feature would be the book’s classical approach, stressing syntax, conjugation, pronunciation, and vocabulary through repeated drills. Each chapter is built around one or a number of verbs, e.g. avoir, prendre, venir, and grammatical elements. Exercises stress building fluency through repetition in varied context, primarily in sentences or clusters of sentences. Dictation is included as a way to train spelling, listening and vocabulary building. Overall, the package provides a concise collection of critical elements and simple and relevant exercises. It is well designed for the first-year knowledge base. A recommendation to the instructor: if you are looking for a material that is simple and practical, give this book a try. If you are unsatisfied with those fancy and overpriced books that students can't afford, adopt Au Boulot! for a semester. You may have found a solution.
Au boulot is a thorough text, covering all areas of typical first-year grammar instruction. It dates from 1995, and in many way is more grammatically exhaustive than more modern texts available on today's market. However, it should be noted that... read more
Au boulot is a thorough text, covering all areas of typical first-year grammar instruction. It dates from 1995, and in many way is more grammatically exhaustive than more modern texts available on today's market. However, it should be noted that there are significant differences between more recent textbooks and Au boulot. The latter focuses almost exclusively on grammar. Today's teachers will need to supplement with cultural readings and communicative activities in order to use this text in a proficiency-based or even communicative classroom.
Au boulot is a technically sound textbook. It explains grammar and give students opportunity to practice when combined with the workbook, grammar reference book, and mp3 listening exercices.
While the grammatical accuracy Au boulot provides will never go out of fashion, the lack of cultural content and media-enriched instruction will make it a difficult sell to today's students. The logic of the text is clear and easy to follow, but the intercultural aspects of French and Francophone societies are missing and make implementing the text a bit difficult in today's classroom. I would highly recommend the text as a grammar reference, but it will definitely need supplementing in order to be used in a class that has any focus other than grammar. For these reasons, the text by itself alone will not be seen as relevant to today's classroom.
I found Au boulot to be clear. It is well written for what it is, and it claims to be nothing other than what it is -- a grammar manual for use in first-year French classes. It is not flashy or media-rich. The explanations it provides are succinct and typical of a grammar-translation based text.
No problems here. Au boulot provides a well-planned, consistent exploration of beginning French grammar. Again, it could be used very successfully as a grammar supplement to a course where the teacher furnishes students with other cultural and lexical resources.
In some ways, Au boulot would be easy to use in any class. That is, it is not overly self-referential, and the grammar/vocabulary used is typical of many first-year programs. The difficulty would be that each section builds on the other and assumes knowledge of previous material. So, if one wanted to use this book as a grammar supplement, it is imperative to make sure activities and examples in the chosen section of Au boulot will be comprehendible to all students.
There are no major problems with the order of presentation. My only caveat would be to note that many phrases at the beginning of the book are introduced without the contextualization that is common of more modern texts. Teachers using Au boulot will need to contextualize appropriately for today's learner.
No interface issues that I noticed. Though there are several hand-drawn, original illustrations, there are not many "bells and whistles" that students might demand from a text. The layout is simple and straight-forward. It is easy to navigate, but it will not catch one's eye.
No grammar errors that I identified.
There is nothing culturally offensive about the text. There are also reproductions of realia at certain points in the text. However, the lack of cultural readings and information is the great weakness of the text, if one can call it that. The text does not purport to be a cultural reference hence my hesitation to call it a weakness. However, I do believe the majority of today's teachers will find this text difficult to use with their students in a standards-based classroom that emphasizes ACTFL standards and the five C's. That said, the text comments generously on cultural aspects of French (not so much Francophone) cultural in the footnotes that accompany grammar explanations. There are in English for the most part and presented as passing comments and may come off as generalizations. Students are not encouraged to compare their culture with the target culture so the instructor would need to look for ways to make this happen if Au boulot was used as a supplement.
As a grammar, Au boulot stands out among more recent resources. Its thorough explanations are top-notch and provide sufficient information for students to understand the technical workings of French grammar that we would expect from a first-year program. The accompanying workbook and the mp3 listening files also give opportunities to practice. Many of the activities are open-ended in that they ask students to write their own example sentences or create their own dialogues. In my opinion, this would be a wonderful grammar resource. However, its lack of contextualization, media-enriched instruction, cultural input, and standards-based activities make it unsuitable for a stand-alone text in today's classroom. I do not suggest, though, that we throw the baby out with the bathwater. Any instructor would be well-served by considering the use of Au boulot to supplement a more thorough and modern standards-based approach. Today's students often crave the explicit and direct information the text provides.
Table of Contents
- Chapitre Un: etre, avoir, regarder, porter, chercher
- Chapitre Deux: etre, aller
- Chapitre Trois: avoir, -er verbs
- Chapitre Quatre: prendre, faire
- Chapitre Cinq: pouvoir, vouloir, ecrire
- Chapitre Six: dire, boire, -ir verbs
- Chapitre Sept: ouvrir, offrir, lire, dormir
- Chapitre Huit: voir, savoir, connaitre, -re verbs
- Chapitre Neuf: sortir, partir
- Chapitre Dix: venir, tenir
- Chapitre Onze: etre, avoir, aller, -er verbs
- Chapitre Douze: faire, prendre, voir, dire, mettre
- Chapitre Treize: pouvoir, vouloir, ecrire, -ir verbs, recevoir
- Chapitre Quatorze: boire, ouvrir, offrir, servir
- Chapitre Quinze: partir, sortir, mourir, naitre
- Chapitre Seize: -re verbs, lire, dormir, suivre, conduirex
- Chapitre Dix-Sept: savoir, connaitre
- Chapitre Dix-Huit: venir, tenir
- Chapitre Dix-Neuf: Random selection of verbs
- Chapitre Vingt: Random selection of verbs
About the Book
Au boulot! is a two-year college French program consisting of: a textbook, workbook and 21 accompanying audio exercises; as well as a reference grammar, to be used the entire two years. We also insist that our students obtain a full-sized dictionary, and we recommend the HARPER-COLLINS-ROBERT bilingual New Standard Edition. (Instructors will note in reviewing the materials that we provide vocabulary lists at the ends of chapters, with translations, but no glossary. We have become convinced after years of experience that glossaries are counter-productive. It is vital that students learn to use dictionaries, and the sooner the better.)
About the Contributors
David A. Dinneen, University of Kansas
Hope Christiansen, University of Arkansas
Madeleine Kernen, Southwest Missouri State University
Herve Pensec, St. Olaf College