Our School Offer for Languages (French)

Within the Purpose of Study for English (National Curriculum 2014), we know that “Learning a foreign language is a liberation from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures. A high-quality languages education should foster pupils’ curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world. The teaching should enable pupils to express their ideas and thoughts in another language and to understand and respond to its speakers, both in speech and in writing. It should also provide opportunities for them to communicate for practical purposes, learn new ways of thinking and read great literature in the original language. Language teaching should provide the foundation for learning further languages, equipping pupils to study and work in other countries.”

What do we mean by Language Learning?
The National Curriculum for languages aims to ensure that all pupils:
• understand and respond to spoken and written language from a variety of authentic sources
• 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.

How do we teach French?
• Each child participates within a weekly French lesson that is taught by a specialist teacher
• Each new French topic is introduced through video clips, songs or stories, where children are given the opportunity to listen to the language being spoken by native speakers.
• Children are then given opportunities to practise speaking themselves, asking and answering questions through role-play or games
• Children record their learning through simple written tasks, giving them the opportunity to start writing words, phrases and, eventually, sentences in French
• Children are encouraged to draw comparisons between French and English vocabulary, using their knowledge of cognates and near-cognates to decode unfamiliar words and texts.
• As they progress through the school, children are encouraged to draw comparisons between French and English grammar, syntax and sentence structure
• Learning is consolidated through the use of songs and games, which help the children to remember the vocabulary they have learnt.
• Children are also taught traditional French songs to enhance their vocabulary and to deepen their cultural understanding.

How do we inspire a love of French?
We believe in generating enthusiasm for early language learning, which we hope will lead to a love of language learning as the children grow older.
We encourage children to understand the relevance of learning a new language and the power of communication.
We then engage the children by giving them opportunities to listen to native speakers, challenging them to try and work out what is being said, and providing opportunities to practise using the language themselves.
Our approach is immersive as much as possible: language is learnt through songs and stories; through repetition and use of actions, which help the children to remember vocabulary and through games, which help the children to consolidate the vocabulary.

How do we help children who find language learning difficult?
All children are able to access the content of French lessons. The lessons are planned to accommodate children in the same class who are at different stages of their language-learning journeys. Children are encouraged to complete tasks at their own individual pace and level and children are praised for their efforts and for the progress they have made against themselves. Children who seek help are supported by the teacher, or by a mixed-ability pairing.

How do we assess French?
Formative assessment is used during French lessons to ensure progress over time. Children show their understanding in a variety of ways: the use of thumbs up, recording answers on whiteboards, answering questions orally, sharing of role-play conversations and through their written work. Language learning is assessed against the National Curriculum targets, which have been broken down for each year group by our MFL teacher to ensure that children have opportunities to revisit knowledge at varying degrees of complexity at a variety of points throughout the four years of study.

How can Parents/Carers help?
We are delighted when children share ways in which they have been practising their French at home or learning about France. If children would like to practise further, we recommend https://www.duolingo.com/ which is free for everyone, with really enjoyable activities. BBC Bitesize is also a fantastic resource.