Modern Foreign Languages
At Oak Tree Primary School, all Key Stage 2 children begin to learn a foreign language as required by the National Curriculum. French is taught by a specialist teacher throughout Key Stage 2 with the aim of inspiring the children to discover the enjoyment of learning a foreign language as well as laying the foundations for further language learning at Key Stage 3.
The National curriculum
'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 National Curriculum for Modern Foreign Languages (MFL), aims to ensure that children at KS2 make ‘substantial progress’ in one language and 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.
At Oak Tree Primary School, we believe that all children in KS2 should have the opportunity to learn a foreign language. We aim to inspire a genuine interest, positive attitudes and enjoyment in learning foreign languages as well as broadening linguistic awareness extending literacy beyond English and developing language learning skills which can be transferred to learning other languages. We believe that learning a second language will offer pupils the opportunity to explore relationships between language and identity and develop a deeper understanding and tolerance of other cultures. We want their learning to contribute to their knowledge as global citizens and opportunities which may exist for them in the future as a result of studying a language. Lessons will be challenging but fun with all children encouraged to participate in a variety of activities designed to promote confidence and skills progression.
Teaching and learning
Our scheme of work will progressively develop pupil skills in foreign languages through regularly taught and well-planned lessons in Key Stage 2 which will be taught by a language specialist teacher.
We mainly use the Language Angels scheme of work and resources to ensure that we offer a relevant, broad, vibrant and ambitious foreign languages curriculum that will inspire and excite our pupils using a wide variety of topics and themes. Language Angels includes home access to a wealth of exciting games and songs to consolidate learning in class. We also subscribe to Babelzone which our children also enjoy using at home; this includes songs, games, short stories and printable activities in both French and Spanish (passwords will be provided).
A wide variety of teaching methods are used with all ages to encourage the children to participate actively and to foster a sense of enjoyment and confidence. We endeavour to create a positive learning environment where all contributions are valued and where it is safe to make mistakes. A multi-sensory and kinaesthetic approach is used to appeal to all learners to help reinforce ‘sticky learning’. Techniques include the use of soft toys and puppets,singing with actions, chanting in different voices, competitive games, pair work, flash card games, role play, group games and games on the interactive white board. Although the emphasis is mainly on speaking and listening to begin with, reading and writing skills are also regularly practised.
In order to provide context for our learners, our Year 6 children participate in a penpal project with schools in Marseille and Béziers in France, exchanging 3 letters or cards a year, writing in French and English and reading the letters they receive from their penpals. Many of the children also participate in Zoom calls and have been able to speak in French to their pen pals. Our Year 3 children have had some of their written work printed in a magazine (see links).
The children will progressively acquire, use and apply a growing bank of vocabulary, language skills, grammatical and phonic knowledge organised around age-appropriate topics and themes and also includes cultural opportunities at certain times of the year (eg, Christmas, Mardi Gras, Easter, Bastille Day and events in other French speaking countries). Lessons offering appropriate levels of challenge will be taught at all times to ensure pupils learn effectively, continuously building their knowledge of and enthusiasm for the language they are learning. The units of work are selected by the teacher to ensure development of skills as well as the interests of the children and altered if necessary.
Early Language units are entry level units and are most appropriate for KS1 and Year 3 pupils or pupils with little or no previous foreign language learning. Intermediate units increase the level of challenge by increasing the amount and complexity (including foreign language grammar concepts) of the foreign language presented to pupils. Intermediate units are suitable for Year 4-5 pupils or pupils with embedded basic knowledge of the foreign language. Progressive and Creative Curriculum units are the most challenging units and are suitable for Year 6 pupils or pupils with a good understanding of the basics of the language they are learning. Grouping units into these Teaching Type categories ensures that the language taught is appropriate to the level of the class and introduced when the children are ready. Children will be taught how to listen and read longer pieces of text gradually in the foreign language and they will have ample opportunities to speak, listen to, read and write the language being taught with and without scaffolds, frames and varying levels of support.
Grammar is integrated and taught discreetly throughout all appropriate units. Children will build on previous knowledge gradually as their foreign language lessons continue to recycle, revise and consolidate previously learnt language whilst building on all four language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Knowledge and awareness of required and appropriate grammar concepts will be taught throughout all units at all levels of challenge.
- We start with nouns and articles and 1st person singular of high frequency verbs in Early Learning units.
- We move on to the use of the possessive, the concept of adjectives, use of the negative form, conjunctions/connectives and introduce the concept of whole regular verb conjugation in Intermediate units.
- We end with opinions and introduce the concept of whole high frequency irregular verb conjugation in Progressive units. Each unit and lesson will have clearly defined objectives and aims.
- Each lesson incorporates interactive whiteboard materials to include ample speaking and listening tasks within a lesson.
- Lessons incorporate challenge sections and desk-based activities that will be offered will three levels of stretch and differentiation.
- Reading and writing activities are offered in all units. Some extended reading and writing activities are provided so that native speakers can also be catered for.
- Every unit includes a grammar concept which will increase in complexity as pupils move from Early Language units, through Intermediate units and into Progressive units.
- Extending writing activities are provided to ensure that pupils are recalling previously learnt language and, by reusing it, will be able to recall it and use it with greater ease and accuracy. These tasks will help to link units together and show that pupils are retaining and recalling the language taught with increased fluency and ease.
Through regular assessment for learning, we aim to promote an ethos of support, celebrating successes and efforts in order to help children of all abilities progress. Exercise books and wall displays illustrate the children’s learning and provide useful prompts for occasional exchanges of French around the school.
Through careful planning and delivery, the children discover a love of learning languages and see links between different languages and cultures. They acquire knowledge about French speaking countries to develop global citizenship which encourages them to become active, responsible and caring members of the wider community.
They grow in confidence when communicating with others in spoken and written French and develop a willingness to experiment,learn new languages and develop authenticity through correct intonation and pronunciation through the teaching of phonics.
Pupils will continuously build on their previous knowledge as they progress in their foreign language learning journey through the primary phase. Previous language will be recycled, revised, recalled and consolidated whenever possible and appropriate. Differentiation and support is provided at all times as well as opportunities for challenge.
At the beginning of their learning journey,the children will start at basic noun and article level and will be taught how to formulate short phrases. By the time pupils reach Progressive units they will be exposed to much longer text and will be encouraged to formulate their own, more personalised responses based on a much wider bank of vocabulary, linguistic structures and grammatical knowledge. They will be able to create longer pieces of spoken and written language and are encouraged to use a variety of conjunctions, adverbs, adjectives, opinions and justifications.