Wim Gombert

76 CHAPTER 5 grammar instruction. Key to the AIM method is target language use and the use of gestures (including gestures for some grammatical features such as gender) to enhance multimodal learning and to facilitate meaningful use of the FL (See Arnott, 2011, for more details about AIM). In the nal three years, an extended version of AIM, labeled AIM extended (AIMe), was used as the AIM materials are only available for the rst three years of secondary education. is extension of AIM provides authentic input through online sources (short videos and texts from the internet) and more controlled input through FL magazines (texts only) amongst others to facilitate a large amount of exposure to the language, followed by lesson activities with a main focus on speaking. GENERAL WRITING INSTRUCTION IN BOTH PROGRAMS In the SB program writing instruction was in line with a Focus on Forms approach. It focused on the teaching of grammar through closed type5 and translation tasks6 around communicative themes and writing skills were mainly tested by the same kinds of tasks. As tense use is known to be one of the most di cult aspects of French as a FL (Klein et al., 1995), explicit tense use instruction is an important part of writing instruction. Students in the SB program were never engaged in any type of extended writing until the nal year, when they were usually invited to write a formal letter, which was assessed on the basis of language accuracy and other aspects of writing like formality conventions, and punctuation. In the DUB program writing instruction was most in line with a Focus on Form approach. It started a er the rst six months of FL instruction and focused on guided writing tasks like story retelling and story extension on the basis of known stories and later on continued with free narratives. In the last three years writing instruction consisted mainly of argumentative writing tasks. Writing activities were usually done in class and peer-assistance was used as a means to develop linguistic awareness. e tests were assessed on both content and language pro ciency. TESTING WRITING SKILLS AFTER SIX YEARS To control for topic e ects, the same 30-hour program was used during the nal two years in both teaching programs to introduce seven academic topics such as Migrants, Tattoos, Abortion, etc. (see Appendix B for an example of the materials used in the respective exams). During 6 to 7 lessons, a topic was introduced through a videodocumentary in French with various exercises entailing repeated exposure to the 5 Closed-type exercises, in which students have to select from a distinct set of pre-de ned responses, o en appear in SB programs and focus on one speci c grammatical rule, for instance the right tense (Hier il …son depart (a annoncé/annonçait) 6 Translation tasks are o en used in an SB program and focus on syntax and on di erences between the L1 and the L2 (He gives me all his money=Il me donne tout son argent).