Learning another language provides a valuable educational, social and cultural experience. It gives children opportunities to practise specific language skills and to develop respect for languages and cultures other than their own. A high quality languages education should foster children’s curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world.
The National Curriculum for Languages aims to ensure that all pupils:
- understand and respond to spoken and written language from a variety of authentic source
- speak with increasing confidence, fluency and spontaneity, finding ways of communicating what they want to say, including through discussion and asking questions, and continually improving the accuracy of their pronunciation and intonation
- can write at varying length, for different purposes and audiences, using the variety of grammatical structures that they have learnt
- discover and develop an appreciation of a range of writing in the language studied.
At Arnold Mill our chosen language is French. The intention of our MFL teaching is that children will be taught French in a way which is exciting, stimulating and encourages curiosity. We strive to develop children’s confidence so that they enjoy exploring new language and feel comfortable to ‘have a go’. Children receive praise and encouragement which in turn motivates them to keep exploring the conventions of the target language and ultimately prepare them for transition into Key Stage 3. We aim to develop skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing through a framework of progression so that competence in each skill expands over time. These skills enable children to use and apply their French learning in a variety of contexts and lay foundations for future language learning.
Children in Years 3 to 6 receive one lesson of French every week. Our scheme of work is based around the Key Stage 2 Framework for Languages and we organise our teaching into topic blocks. As children move through school there are steps of progression for the skills of listening, speaking, reading, writing and grammar according to year group. Planning is in line with the requirements of the National Curriculum which states that:
Pupils should be taught to:
- listen attentively to spoken language and show understanding by joining in and responding
- explore the patterns and sounds of language through songs and rhymes and link the spelling, sound and meaning of words
- engage in conversations; ask and answer questions; express opinions and respond to those of others; seek clarification and help*
- speak in sentences, using familiar vocabulary, phrases and basic language structures
- develop accurate pronunciation and intonation so that others understand when they are reading aloud or using familiar words and phrases
- present ideas and information orally to a range of audiences
- read carefully and show understanding of words, phrases and simple writing
- appreciate stories, songs, poems and rhymes in the language
- broaden their vocabulary and develop their ability to understand new words that are introduced into familiar written material, including through using a dictionary
- write phrases from memory, and adapt these to create new sentences, to express ideas clearly
- describe people, places, things and actions orally and in writing
Children are encouraged and supported to develop their speaking and listening skills through questioning, conversation with adults and peers, songs and games.
Written work is recorded in individual books. This may be in the form of pictures, phrases or sentences. Children are encouraged to self-assess and reflect upon next steps. The language teacher assesses each child’s progress at the end of each term as happens with other foundation subjects.
Displays are used to showcase work and share it with the whole school community.
Learning in French is monitored by the subject co-ordinator through:
- Carefully directed questioning and observations of children’s involvement and understanding in lessons
- Close liaison with teaching assistants who provide valuable support in learning time
- Book scrutinies
- Pupil interviews and questionnaires
Ideas for supporting your child with their language acquisition and cultural appreciation
- Look out for where French words are used in an English context, for example on retail products ‘croissant’, ‘fromage frais’ etc
- Borrow some books about France or simple French storybooks from the library
- If you happen to visit a museum, look out for paintings by French artists e.g. Monet, Renoir, Dégas
- Listen to some French music on YouTube. This could be background ‘café’ music or specific pieces by French composers such as Saint-Saens, Debussy, Chopin to name a few!
- Download some printable French crosswords and wordsearches so your child can practise saying, reading and spelling some French vocabulary.
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