Information Center
Guided Tour
About the Program
About the Film
Table of Contents
About the Authors
Book Preface
Feature Summary
Video Trailer

Student Edition
Instructor Edition
Débuts: An Introduction to French

Jay H. Siskin, Cabrillo College
Ann Williams-Gascon, Metropolitan State College of Denver
Thomas T. Field, University of Maryland, Baltimore

ISBN: 0072897546
Copyright year: 2002

About the Program

The textbook, Débuts, and the film, Le Chemin du retour, are a completely integrated film-based introductory course for learning French language and culture.

A two-hour feature-length film, Le Chemin du retour is the story of a young television journalist, Camille Leclair, and her pursuit of the truth about her grandfather’s mysterious past. Through Camille's quest, students learn language and culture in the functional context provided by the story.

Unlike other textbook/video programs, in which the video component is thematically, functionally, or grammatically-driven, and thus self-consciously pedagogical, this program has been developed so that the textbook is a complement to the film. The film narrative is what drives the scope and sequence of vocabulary and grammar, the presentation of culture, and the development of reading and writing. This does not mean, however, that these items are presented in a random fashion. Rather, the screenwriter worked within the authors' pedagogical framework but did not let it limit his creative expression. He did a wonderful job of writing a good story while still honoring the major steps in learning the French language.

The textbook/film package grew out of the authors' conviction that language learning is more than just learning skills: it is also a process in which the understanding of culture must surely occupy a central position. Therefore, Débuts and Le Chemin du retour emphasize the importance of cultural awareness and understanding, not only of the French culture, but also of the student's own culture.

Equally important, the authors strongly believe in the principles of communicative competence. Débuts gives students a solid foundation in the structure of the language, stressing acquisition of high-frequency grammar, vocabulary, and functional language. In addition, students come to view listening, reading, and writing as active tasks, requiring meaningful interaction as well as high order cognitive processing.

Le chemin de retour book cover

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