Modern Foreign Languages
"..but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me."
1 Corinthians 14:11
“Brain scans showed that lifelong bilinguals have stronger connections between certain brain areas compared to those who only speak one language – this appears to allow their brains to cope better with damage before they start to show outward signs of dementia……. As societies become more multicultural, this study indicates that the benefits of bilingualism could extend to helping future generations reduce their risk of the condition.”
Dr Clare Walton, Research Manager at Alzheimer’s Society
By learning a foreign language students become liberated from insularity and are encouraged to have empathy for other cultures. In our language classrooms and through our online Kerboodle support, students have the opportunity to listen and respond to French / Spanish speakers, both in speech and writing. There are opportunities for students to communicate for practical purposes and what they learn provides a foundation for further language learning and indeed the skills and knowledge to access the GCSE / A Level recognised qualifications.
By learning a language, our students have the opportunity to increase their confidence by practising and applying a variety of skills independently, in pairs, in groups and in whole class situations so that they are equipped to follow a path that would allow them to live, work and / or study in another country. Moreover, students learn new ways of thinking and life-long qualities such as resilience, diligence and risk-taking.
Through our teaching and learning we promote:
- Empathy and openness to other cultures and the wider world
- The acquisition of creative and literary skills: through classroom interaction and digital media
- Study skills: through research, planning, drafting and refining
- Vocational skills: through the development of competence, problem solving and resilience
- Communication skills: by listening, responding and drawing on repair strategies and prior language learning
- Skills of spontaneity: by using and manipulating prior learning to communicate effectively in the target language
- A sympathetic awareness of similarities and differences between different cultures
- A knowledge of a student’s own language and how patterns of similarity and/or difference can support accuracy in another language
Curriculum Intent (Crucial Learning, attitudes and skills & rationale)
Year 7 & Year 8
For most students, the language classroom is the only environment where they have the opportunity to listen to the TL (taught language) and to be corrected on their use of it, in both written and spoken format.
We encourage students to speak in the TL as much as possible, as soon as possible, harnessing their enthusiasm and desire to pronounce the TL accurately. We link pronunciation to as many patterns or aide-memoires as possible. This provides a base for students to build on as they progress through their language learning year on year.
We work on making the links of the spoken word to the accurate written word and use the skills of diligence and refining to repeatedly work on these no matter which topic.
We introduce them to the digital textbook www.kerboodle.com and show them how they can use it to their advantage at home independently, to reinforce what is taught and practised in lessons and to extend their learning, competence and confidence outside of the lesson.
In the first couple of years at high school students generally have a limited repertoire when they begin a language, therefore, a lot of the lessons use a variety of short activities which reinforce the content in all 4 skill areas of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Students often complete pair work or group work in order for the teacher to be informed of student progress over time.
There are common misconceptions when students begin to learn a new language and lessons often contain (AFL) Assessment for Learning activities to focus and eliminate these areas.
A more formal assessment of speaking and writing skills happens twice a year, where students have a range of bullet points to either write about or speak about and a detailed set of criteria to show them how to achieve the level of exceeding, secure, developing and emerging. Exemplar AFL lessons are taught and students are guided to revision activities on www.kerboodle.com to assist with their revision. We practise a range of revision activities such as copy, cover, write / say, check: flash cards, knowledge maps, pair work, listening to and saying examples online on the digital textbook, completing the star and plus activities online, using their signpost vocabulary sheets and grammar A3 sheets to remind them about key grammar and spellings.
We begin the GCSE syllabus in year 9 so that students have the ability to consolidate and develop their ability ready for the more rigorous GSCE which requires manipulation of language and spontaneity. These skills are also real life skills that would be needed if using the target language on a daily basis.
The digital textbook www.kerboodle.com is available to all students throughout their study of a modern foreign language. This online resource has a wealth of activities in all 4 skill areas to support and extend students outside of the language classroom.
After school conversation classes begin on a fortnightly basis from Year 10 to Year 13.
Cross curricular integration – life skills
The skills that are fostered and developed by learning a foreign language promote success in other subjects as they develop the ethos of rigor and attention to detail as well as resilience and repair strategies to be able to cope with impromptu communication. Through our teaching and learning we promote:
- empathy and openness to other cultures and the wider world
- the acquisition of creative and literary skills: through classroom interaction and digital media
- study skills: through research, planning, drafting and refining,
- vocational skills: through the development of competence, problem solving and resilience
- communication skills: by listening, responding and drawing on repair strategies and prior language learning
- skills of spontaneity: by using and manipulating prior learning to communicate effectively in the target language
- a sympathetic awareness of similarities and differences between different cultures
- a knowledge of a student’s own language and how patterns of similarity and/or difference can support accuracy in another language
Transition learning opportunities
When students arrive in year 7 we use the (TL) Target Language in large chunks of the lesson to show them that they can understand the main parts and respond when necessary without having to understand every word that we say. This is a skill that they will continue to use whenever speaking in a language that isn’t their first language.
We have an activity which asks them how much of a foreign language they have completed at Primary School and how often. There is a document which they fill in with words/phrases that they already know from Primary school. This usually shows us that students can say the words/phrases that they have learnt but have not gained the skills to match the sounds with how they are written accurately.
This activity also asks the students to name what they think France/Spain are well known for, famous sports people, foods, areas, monuments etc to gauge their level of cultural knowledge. We seek to understand who knows where the country is and who has visited it, how they travelled there.
Through a variety of question, repetition, answer activities we can gauge confidence and some level of prior exposure to the target language.