In our language classrooms and via our online digital textbook called Kerboodle, students have the opportunity to listen and respond to French & Spanish speakers both in speech and writing. Students communicate for practical purposes and what they learn provides a foundation for further language learning in addition to the skills and knowledge to provide them with greater life and career prospects.
Furthermore, our language students benefit from having an open-minded approach to other cultures and a confidence to converse with others as we learn to understand new cultures and languages together as a Modern Languages Team.
Despite the perception that language learning is difficult, we work hard to clearly show our students how they can progress, how to be resilient and to work as independent learners which, in turn allows them to be the best that they can be. Alongside their language skills this self-efficacy and positive mindset also supports them in their success in the wider world of work.
“..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
Learning a language may indeed help to keep brain connections stronger, but, by learning a foreign language, students can also become liberated from insularity, are encouraged to have empathy for other cultures and can celebrate differences and similarities in comparison to their own language and culture.
In our language classrooms and through our online Kerboodle digital 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 provide them with greater life and career opportunities.
Although there is a perception that languages are difficult, we work hard to clearly show our students how they can progress, how to be successful, how to become independent learners, to meet challenges, how they can improve and become the best that they can be. This “self-efficacy” is shown to result in academic achievement from studies on “Theories and principles of motivation” by S Graham & B Weiner.
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:
For most students the language classroom is the only environment where there is the opportunity to listen to and use the target language and to be corrected in the use of it, in both written and spoken format.
Our curriculum is intended to meet the needs of all learners including disadvantaged students and students with SEND. Quality First Teaching is at the core of our Modern Languages planning and delivery of lessons. The building blocks of a language system are sounds, words and rules and how these connect to create sentences and meanings. These pillars of progression are intrinsic to the language classroom with various activities based around phonics, vocabulary and grammar routinely taking place.
All learners have the opportunity to revise and revisit each lesson’s content including phonics, vocabulary and grammar in the HOME LEARNING section of FIREFLY where the Modern Language lessons can be found term by term or topic by topic.
The MFL department also subscribes to the online digital textbook www.kerboodle.com for all MFL learners. This great online resource allowing students to be supported and challenged with listening, reading, speaking, translation, creative writing, pronunciation practice and grammar explanations at home as well as in the classroom.
We work closely with our SENDCO and the Year Leader of Learning to ensure that these resources are accessible to all.
We encourage our students to speak in French/Spanish as much as possible as soon as possible, harnessing their enthusiasm and desire to pronounce the new language accurately.
We link pronunciation to as many patterns or aide-memoires as possible using a variety of resources. Our activities within the classroom are chunked to help students to progress in the 4 skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. This provides a solid base for students to build on as they progress through their language learning year on year.
We support students in 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 or tense. Students will become very used to the skill of transcription or dictation as it can be known. The digital textbook www.kerboodle.com is a great reference for key words, phonics and grammar explanations outside of lessons.
When we introduce students to the digital textbook www.kerboodle.com we 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. Kerboodle has the whole range of 11-18 learning built in which provides independent learners with great scope for challenge and further development.
In the first years at High School students generally have a limited repertoire of vocabulary and grammar too, so lots of the lessons use a variety of short activities which reinforce the content in all 4 skill areas of listening, speaking, reading and writing but still draw on the core building blocks of phonics, vocabulary and grammar within given contexts.
There is limited capacity in short term memory so we build up knowledge over time and embed high frequency words and continue to build onto the blocks of phonics, vocabulary and grammar as the years of language study continue through school.
Students often complete pair work or group work in order to rehearse the spoken elements or in some cases to be more creative and purposeful in their use of the language and they are supported by our Teaching Assistants with a range of intended outcomes using differentiated materials and prompts. These activities begin in Year 7 and are an integral part of language learning through to Year 13 and beyond.
There are often common misconceptions when students learn a new language and lessons often contain Assessment for Learning activities to focus and eliminate these areas of misconception. Assessment for Learning allows both teachers and students the ability to pinpoint areas of uncertainly or difficulty and to plan how to tackle them to improve.
In line with studies in second language acquisition by A Ammar, N Spada, Y Yang & R Lyster, we use a range of correction techniques or indeed a mix of these techniques to help our students to progress. It is key to note that the success of student progress does also rely on the willingness and ability for students to incorporate and heed the help when correction and redrafting is taking place.
As mentioned, at certain times Language Teaching will need to be explicit but we do try to use enquiry-based approaches where possible to support knowledge retrieval and effective knowledge retention which can lead to an understanding of longer texts and/or production of more complex sentence structures.
A linguist will always be working towards recall of vocabulary and grammar in breadth, depth and complexity. As emphasized by R Dekeyser of Cambridge Applied Linguistics, The more a language becomes embedded and proceduralised so that it can be accessed with less or no conscious attention, the greater the fluency success and the spontaneity will be for the linguist.
Assessment For Learning sessions take place regularly in class prior to assessments and students are guided to additional revision activities on www.kerboodle.com to assist with the consolidation of their knowledge. We practise a range of revision activities such as copy, cover, write/say, check: flash cards: verb songs: knowledge maps: pair work: listening to and saying examples online on the digital textbook: completing the star and plus activities online: using the signpost vocabulary sheets, knowledge checklists and A3 end of chapter grammar summaries as key grammar, phonics and vocabulary reminders.
It is our intention that students make progress in all aspects of a language: listening and responding, reading and responding, speaking and responding, translation, transcription, extended speaking and writing, writing and speaking for real purposes.
This will happen over time through planned sequencing of language learning and distributed practice at home and in the classroom. Language learning is a marathon and not a sprint and usually language learners start becoming more proficient later in their studies when they have begun to hone their skills of proceduralised retrieval of building blocks and making links between how grammar rules fit to unfamiliar structures and more complex texts.
There is evidence in a 2021 Ofsted report on languages to suggest that explicitly drawing students’ attention to aspects of grammar and practising them can benefit language learning, improve efficiency and speed up learners’ progression. This has been a core part of the Modern Foreign Language Teaching & Learning here for many years both as homework tasks and extension activities in class. Given the COVID pandemic we have purchased grammar and translation workbooks for all language students from Year 8 – 12 to routinely use in class to reinforce grammar points or in some cases to provide stretch & challenge of certain grammar points.
To help our students to organise themselves, their homework activities or assessments are added to Firefly as a task. Students would also have a copy of the success criteria for assessment tasks so that they could plan for success and not leave it to chance.
The MFL team routinely communicates with parents, carers and students by using the Attitude to Learning features on class registers, the Achievement points system and also the Behaviour for Learning system when necessary. Cultural achievement post cards are posted home each half term to celebrate commitment and effort. Students also have checklists for each chapter stuck into their exercise books. These are completed by the student to grade their knowledge and skill level of particular language criteria and how to improve their knowledge or skill where necessary.
French at KS3 aims to develop a range of communication and coping strategies to allow the students to listen and respond to what they hear, to comprehend and respond to what they read, to communicate verbally using accurate tenses and relevant vocabulary, to communicate in a written format using accurate tenses and relevant vocabulary and to translate from and into French and / or Spanish. These skills are developed through a range of activities based around role play, redrafting and refining work, problem solving and using repair strategies.
Students are encouraged to recognise patterns in language, to use their knowledge of pronunciation to help with the correct pronunciation of unfamiliar words, to practise a variety of memorization strategies and see which ones work for them, to use accurate verbs in their phrases, to hold a short conversation in the target language and to use a bilingual dictionary.
Students are encouraged to build more complex sentences, to develop and extend their range of vocabulary assisting their comprehension in listening and reading activities, to recall and apply more grammatical rules, to draft and refine their written work and to give and explain their opinions and justify them verbally.
Students are encouraged to use three tenses with greater accuracy in their spoken and written work, to hold a longer conversation about a familiar topic and ask questions, to translate more complex sections to and from the target language, to describe a film based on a French/Spanish novel and to develop their listening and reading comprehension skills to decipher detail from inference.
At KS3 student progress is tracked by staff using formative and summative assessments. We use a mix of assessment types to calculate progress from conversations, written work, listening and reading texts, grammar activities, online exercises, vocabulary spelling and vocabulary phonics tests. Progress is reported to parents via SIMS, two rounds of tracking, a written report and a parents’ evening. SISRA is used as a tool to monitor the progress of students by their teachers. Metacognition techniques ensure students understand success criteria and are able to model excellence.
Students complete Homework on a weekly or fortnightly basis. Following specific feedback, homework may be refined by the student; it may be a self-marking homework via Kerboodle: it may be a homework to be marked by the teacher. The homework may take the form of learning vocabulary, completing grammar activities, preparing and learning spoken and written answers, using grammar knowledge and rules to complete a written task or translation exercises. Homework is set on firefly.
As language acquisition is based on the 4 key skills of listening and responding, reading and responding, speaking and responding, writing and translating accurately, each skill may not be assessed in every assessment. The teacher will draw upon evidence from both classroom and assessment situations in order to reach a grade for the end of the year.
Literacy skills and revision skills are promoted through a whole school thematic half termly focus (e.g. flashcards) as well as COPS. capitalisation/organisation/punctuation/spelling.
For French & Spanish GCSE the AQA 9-1 specification has been chosen. There are 3 themes which are studied:-
Theme 1: Identity & culture
Theme 2: Local, national, international and global areas of interest
Theme 3: Current and future study and employment
Students are encouraged to develop their use of tenses further by including, for example, the imperfect and conditional tenses in more detail, to use negation and complex phrases, to listen and read for detail in longer more complex texts and to answer true/false/not mentioned questions. To write accurate responses to fulfil the criteria of 16 and / or 32 point questions, to describe the detail on a photo card and to respond spontaneously in a role play and conversation situation.
The tenses, grammatical structures, comprehension tasks, translation activities, role plays, photo cards and general conversations link into these sub topics which allow the students to consider their role in the wider world and to compare similarities and differences in other countries.
Me, my family and friends
Technology in every day life
Home town, neighbourhood and region
Travel & Tourism
Life at school and college
Education post 16
Jobs, careers choices and ambitions
At KS4 student progress is tracked by staff using formative and summative assessments. We use a mix of assessment types to calculate progress which can include attendance and participation at conversation classes, 16 point and 32 point written work, grammar activities, online listening and reading exercises which mirror the questions found on exam papers, vocabulary tests and the capability to be spontaneous with answers in the lesson . Progress is reported to parents via SIMS and three rounds of tracking as well as parents’ evening. SISRA is used as a tool to monitor the progress of students by their teachers. Metacognition techniques ensure students understand success criteria and are able to model excellence. The assessments are marked in line with the GCSE mark scheme.
Students complete Homework on a weekly basis. Following specific feedback homework may be refined by the student: it may be a self-marking homework or revision section via Kerboodle: it may be a homework to be marked by the teacher. The homework may take the form of learning spoken answers for a role play, photo card or general conversation topic, completing grammar activities, using grammar knowledge and rules to complete a 16 or 32 point written task or translation exercises.
Homework is set on firefly. As language acquisition is based on the 4 key skills of listening and responding, reading and responding, speaking and responding, writing and translating accurately, each skill may not be assessed in every assessment. The teacher will draw upon evidence from both classroom and assessment situations in order to reach a grade for the end of Year 10 and Year 11 will be externally assessed in the summer examinations.
Literacy skills and revision skills are promoted through a whole school thematic half termly focus (e.g. flashcards) as well as COPS. capitalisation/organisation/punctuation/spelling
At key stage 5 students hone their translation and communication skills. They draw on their knowledge of grammatical structures to present and justify their ideas in their independent research oral project, to debate and argue points, to describe and discuss trends, to express doubt and uncertainty, to avoid repetition, to summarise, to write essays about a film and a novel/play, to analyse what they read and hear, to be spontaneous in their spoken responses and to have a much greater cultural appreciation and knowledge of the countries linked to the target language they are studying.
Linking to topics such as the benefits of living in an ethnically diverse society in the French course and the diversity of Hispanic music and dance in the Spanish course allows students to build their cultural awareness which they may need to draw upon in their later career.
At KS5 student progress is tracked by staff using formative and summative assessments. We use a mix of assessment types to calculate progress which includes analytical essay writing, translation into the target language and into English, summaries of sections that have been read or listened to, independent research for a speaking presentation, discussing points from a stimulus card which then expands to include their cultural awareness and wider reading. Spontaneity and fluency are encouraged in the lesson. Progress is reported to parents via SIMS and tracking rounds as well as parents’ evening. SISRA is used as a tool to monitor the progress of students by their teachers. Metacognition techniques ensure students understand success criteria and are able to model excellence. The assessments are marked in line with the A-Level mark scheme.
Students complete Homework on a weekly basis. Following specific feedback, homework may be refined by the student: it may be a self-marking homework or revision section via Kerboodle: it may be marked by the teacher. The homework may take the form of wider research in a particular cultural element, justifying answers about a stimulus card, completing grammar activities, using analytical language structures to write an essay based on a book, film or play or translation practice.
Homework is set on firefly. As language acquisition is based on the 4 key skills of listening and responding, reading and responding, speaking and responding, writing and translating accurately, each skill may not be assessed in every assessment. The teacher will draw upon evidence from both classroom and assessment situations in order to reach a grade for the end of Year 12 and Year 13 will be externally assessed in the form of the summer examinations.
Literacy Skills: Literacy skills and revision skills are promoted through a whole school thematic half termly focus (e.g. flashcards) and COPS. capitalisation/organisation/punctuation/spelling
Cultural capital is the accumulation of knowledge, behaviours, and skills that a student can draw upon and which demonstrates their cultural awareness, knowledge and competence; it is one of the key ingredients a student will draw upon to be successful in society, their career and the world around them.
Throughout all key stages the study of Modern Foreign Languages richly embodies cultural capital by giving students an insight into the wider world. In key stage 3 we look at the diversity of certain regions in France or major cities in Spain, the differences and similarities between the school system, meal times and habits, cognates, near cognates and borrowed words and we study a film based on a French/Spanish novel in Year 9. In key stage 4 students study topics such as Latin-American customs, traditions and festivals on the Spanish course and the different francophone charitable organisations on the French course. At key stage 5 cultural capital deepens as students study heritage sights, the evolution of French cinema, the evolution of the French political system, areas of Spanish and Latin American history, ethnic diversity, immigration and the prevalence of the idea of “machismo” in the Hispanic world.
The digital textbook www.kerboodle.com is available to all students throughout their study of a modern foreign language and this online resource has a wealth of activities in all 4 skill areas to support and extend students knowledge of French and / or Spanish speaking countries.
Each topic also has native French or Spanish speaking young people talking about their opinions and interests so that the students see people of their own age using the language for a purpose.
The skills that are fostered and developed by learning a foreign language promote success in other subjects as they develop the ethos of rigor of attention to detail as well as resilience and repair strategies to be able to cope with impromptu communication. Please also refer to the beginning of this document which outlines our intended crucial learning, attitudes and skills for life.