Since September 2014, learning a foreign language is a statutory requirement in Key Stage 2. The teaching of languages to early learners is now widely recognised as a significant contributory factor in improving literacy, building self-confidence and broadening cultural horizons. In our school, we have been teaching French as part of the curriculum and are beginning to see significant progress particularly in French listening and speaking. We believe that learning a language enriches the curriculum, providing enjoyment and challenge for children, helping to create enthusiastic learners and to develop positive attitudes to language learning throughout life. In addition, the natural links between languages and other areas of the curriculum can enhance the overall teaching and learning experience. The skills, knowledge and understanding gained make a major contribution to the development of children's oracy, literacy and to their understanding of their own culture/s and those of others.
Our aims and objectives
Our French curriculum is based on the Catherine Cheater scheme of work. It is adapted and modified by the French native teacher, Mrs Tcheou, to meet all children’s needs in order for them to:
Teaching, learning styles and skills development
The emphasis in year 3 is very much on developing listening skills, closely followed by speaking skills; this is why there is a clear focus on storytelling, finger rhymes and singing traditional songs. Through immersion there is a strong emphasis on text level work, together with developing strategies of learning vocabulary at word level.
In year 4, the French teacher continues to develop the children’s listening and speaking skills through storytelling, songs and finger rhymes. However, the emphasis now shifts to developing an understanding of basic French grammar such as knowledge of word classes, agreements and some verb forms. The children learn to construct sentences and to understand the implications of sentence building in French in terms of pronunciation, liaison and elision.
In year 5, there is a strong emphasis on the development of fundamental reading and writing skills rooted in phonics and training in how to use a bilingual dictionary. The teacher uses story books, modern and traditional songs and non-fiction texts to sustain the development of oracy and literacy skills. The children have opportunities to create complex spoken sentences and to write using writing frames, creating sentences with nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs and conjunctions.
In year 6, the children’s performance skills are developed. They are able to construct spoken and written sentences that involve a wide range of word class and to use a dictionary in order to find the vocabulary that they need. They are able to engage with a wide variety of text type and develop strategies to assist with understanding.
As children like adults develop different strategies to process information, a sensory learning approach is favoured and employed to support learning French by using senses. The advantages of utilising a mix of visual, audio and tactile material make the teaching appropriate for a wider range of learners. Some children learn best by listening, some by feeling, moving or touching, others need to visualise and other children need the combination of two senses. Here are some examples of how senses can be used when children learn French:
Sight - text, pictures, graphics
Sound - listening to teacher and others, to recordings, videos; talking, shouting, whispering, singing, rhymes, story-telling, clapping rhythmically to indicate syllabic stress, etc.
Touch - handling objects, making things, describing shapes, gesturing, using iPads, etc.
Taste - sampling food and drink, 'savouring the language'.
Action - manual and physical activity; games involving manipulating objects or moving about.
Assessment for learning
Children are assessed informally during lessons to evaluate what they have learned. For each year group there are some learning objectives to reach. Children will have at the end of each term the opportunity to reflect on their own progress by self-assessing their work. The learning objectives are based on the KS2 framework for languages and focused particularly on three main objectives: Oracy (O), Literacy (L) and intercultural understanding (IU).
Language learning leads to gain across the curriculum
Children approach a broad range of learning activities in a new and challenging context; these relate to literacy, mathematics and other subject areas such as geography, music and citizenship. This can lead to deep learning and significant gains in their general understanding as they recycle and reinterpret existing knowledge. Through the conscious development of language learning they are also learning how to learn.
There is a range of resources to support the teaching of French across the school. Some books in French or bilingual books are accessible to children within their classroom; Bilingual dictionaries; French songs and traditional French songs; films; games; finger puppets; flashcards; text labels; music; interactive whiteboards and Catherine Cheater software for the teaching of French.
In all classes children have a wide range of abilities, and we seek to provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child. MFL is a highly inclusive subject, however, and despite our principal aim of developing children’s knowledge, skills, and understanding, the initial focus will be on enjoyment. At our school we will teach MFL to all KS2 children, whatever their ability and individual needs. MFL forms part of the school curriculum policy to provide a broad and balanced education to all children. Through our MFL teaching we provide learning opportunities that enable all pupils to make good progress. We strive hard to meet the needs of those pupils with special educational needs, those with disabilities, those with special gifts and talents, and those learning English as an additional language (EAL), and we take all reasonable steps to achieve this.
Chapel Street Primary School, Chapel Street, Levenshulme, Manchester, M19 3GH
Tel: 0161 224 1269 | Fax: 0161 248 4092 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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