French ab initio Handbook
Language ab initio is a language acquisition course designed for students with no prior experience of the
target language, or for those students with very limited previous exposure and it is offered at SL only.
At the language ab initio level, a student develops receptive, productive and interactive communicative
skills. Students learn to communicate in the target language in familiar and unfamiliar contexts.
The aims of French ab initio course are to:
1. Develop international-mindedness through the study of languages, cultures, and ideas and issues of
2. Enable students to communicate in the language they have studied in a range of contexts and for a
variety of purposes.
3. Encourage, through the study of texts and through social interaction, an awareness and appreciation
of a variety of perspectives of people from diverse cultures.
4. Develop students’ understanding of the relationship between the languages and cultures with which
they are familiar.
5. Develop students’ awareness of the importance of language in relation to other areas of knowledge.
6. Provide students, through language learning and the process of inquiry, with opportunities for
intellectual engagement and the development of critical- and creative-thinking skills.
7. Provide students with a basis for further study, work and leisure through the use of an additional
8. Foster curiosity, creativity and a lifelong enjoyment of language learning.
The intention of the French ab initio course is that the students should achieve the following objectives because the objectives reflect those parts of the aims that will be assessed.
1. Communicate clearly and effectively in a range of contexts and for a variety of purposes.
2. Understand and use language appropriate to a range of interpersonal and/or intercultural contexts
3. Understand and use language to express and respond to a range of ideas with fluency and accuracy.
4. Identify, organize and present ideas on a range of topics.
5. Understand, analyse and reflect upon a range of written, audio, visual and audio-visual texts.
Assessment objectives in practice
In the language ab initio course, students develop the ability to communicate in the target language through
the study of language, themes and texts and,also develop conceptual understandings of how language works.
Communication is evidenced through receptive, productive and interactive skills across a range of contexts and purposes that are appropriate to the level of the course.
A key aim of the language ab initio course is to develop international-mindedness through the study of
language, culture, and ideas and issues of global significance.
There are five prescribed themes that are common to the syllabuses of language ab initio and they provide relevant contexts for study and opportunities for students to communicate about matters of personal, local or national, and global interest.
The five prescribed themes are:
• human ingenuity
• social organization
• sharing the planet.
The themes allow students to compare the target language and culture(s) to other languages and cultures
with which they are familiar. The themes also provide opportunities for students to make connections to
other disciplinary areas in the DP.
The categories are described below, and the table that follows provides examples of text types for each category. The examples shown are neither prescriptive nor exhaustive.