MODERN FOREIGN LANGUAGES

‘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.

 

 

Subject Intent:

 

At Smithills, learning a language provides an opening to other cultures.  Pupils’ curiosity is fostered and assist in the deepening of their understanding of the world.  We enable pupils to express and justify their thoughts in a another language and to communicate information which goes beyond their immediate areas of interest, both verbally and in written format.  Language teaching provides the foundation for opening up the world for pupils to study and work in other countries.  Pupils are taught a wide range of topics across the key stages and are encouraged to appreciate the traditions of other countries and be empathetic to the beliefs of others.

 

The department has developed a ‘speak first’ approach to language learning which is now fully embedded and is based on natural language acquisition eg. pupils first need to be able to introduce themselves and express likes/dislikes; this is all possible given a sound understanding of the verb ‘to be’.  Contexts are set around the sequence of learning. The curriculum is fully inclusive; pupils are able to access the knowledge regardless of prior learning and with an initial focus on speaking the emphasis is on communicating ideas rather than being able to express yourself in writing.

 

We built the curriculum with the intent that pupils:

 

  • Experience a broad, deep and knowledge rich curriculum by learning both how to communicate in a language, with purpose, and by appreciating the cultural similarities and differences.

 

  • Be literate by accessing the four skill areas of MFL and communicating effectively as well as understanding target language spoken at an appropriate level for the learner; 50% of MFL is literacy, the other 50% is oracy based learning. Pupil will learn how to write at varying length, for different purposes and audiences, using the variety of grammatical structures that they have learned. Resources in each of the four skill areas are scaffolded appropriately to support specific groups of pupils eg. SEND, DP and also provides opportunities to extend learning beyond the minimum for those who are more able.  In order to reduce gaps in learning, groups of pupils are identified following data entry points and classroom intervention planned as appropriate.

 

  • Demonstrate their level of oracy by speaking 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.

 

 

  • Develop their cultural, moral, mental and physical development by teaching them about life in the country they are learning about, as well as other countries where the language is spoken.  By exploring the cultural element we are teaching an awareness of the bigger world and also a level of empathy for differences in the world.

 

  • Be prepared for life beyond 11-16 education by encouraging independent and inquisitive lifelong language learners who appreciate the world beyond their current setting.  Our department have all spent time studying and / or working abroad and we are able to share experiences with pupils in order to promote  curiosity and ambition to experience different cultures.

 

Subject Implementation:

 

  • The curriculum builds from year 7 to 11 focusing on the cumulative development language and structures which are taught using a range of topics. Language is sequenced and well thought through, with opportunities for further development for more able pupils.

  • The sequence of language learning is logical; starting with the four key verbs on which language is based (‘to be’, ‘to have’, ‘to do’ and ‘to go’).  Without a clear understanding of the four ‘big verbs’ pupils are unable to move on and develop their language to include additional tenses.

  • Language is routinely revisited and develops in complexity across the year groups.  By reinforcing prior learning and making links to current/new learning, pupils can hopefully see the connections and have a comprehensive and deeper understanding which is instrumental in making progress.

  • Where possible, authentic material is used to promote engagement and pupils are encouraged to further their own cultural understanding by listening to songs/radio stations etc. Use of material specific to the exam boards and requirements are used routinely at KS4 and in a similar but appropriate format at KS3 so as to promote continuity and familiarity.

  • As pupils increase in language competence they also enhance their cultural understanding.  Across both key stages pupils, build a knowledge of comparisons and differences in culture as well as making them more aware of the bigger world and the need to appreciate other ways of life.  

  • The ‘speak first’ approach to language learning means that lesson are inclusive for all pupils.  Visual prompts are used and choral repetition enables pupils to practise the pronunciation of the language before moving on to using it independently.  In-line with natural language acquisition, pupils listen, replicate and then amend language. Before writing extensively, pupils manipulate the language in a range of ways and all are supportive activities for pupils with additional needs and the use of extension tasks pushes the more able pupils to achieve further.

  • Literacy is 50% of our subject and so a range of techniques are used to incorporate texts into lessons, which can then be used as models as appropriate to support written work.  The use of text books and exam material at KS4 is key but we also have access to the Mary Glasgow magazine publications for both key stages (French and Spanish).  The Day is another source of reading material which can be differentiated accordingly.  Authentic articles / online material / leaflets etc are used to support learning and at KS3 teacher tailor the reading exercises to suit the topic and needs of the pupil.  We use a variety of tasks to support reading such as ‘find the phrase’, ‘find a synonym/antonym’, ‘true/false’, ‘gapfill’ and comprehension in both Spanish and English, with responses in the appropriate language.

  • Assessment is rigorous and reliable, with criteria determined in advance and shared with pupils.  There is a timetable in place which ensures that all four skills are tested across the academic year.  Moderation takes place both ‘in-house’ and as part of the MFL Hub meetings/Urdu conferences.  We regularly use low stake means of assessment as well as formal assessment and pupil progress is tracked through exercise books which are monitored routinely both as a department and with the MFL line manager.  Assessment outcomes are compared to targets to monitor progress. Specific groups such as SEN, DP, MA are closely monitored and intervention, where necessary, is planned in order to reduce gaps and recorded on departmental SOAPs/COAPs as appropriate.

  • A blended learning approach is used to promote and develop students’ independent learning through the medium of Microsoft TEAMs.  Tasks are set in lessons and at home and supported by knowledge organisers,  which are linked to schemes of learning.  Lesson PowerPoints and resources are available to support learning. Teachers will engage with students through feedback on progress which will enable them to improve and extend their learning.

 

Subject Enrichment:

 

As a department we foster a love of language learning and promote this continually; both for academic achievement and personal development.  We have run several foreign trips over the past few years and always aim to include at least one pupil who is LAC in order to make opportunities available to a range of pupils.

 

Enrichment includes:

  • Trips to Paris (2016, 2019).

  • Trips to Morocco (2015. 2020).

  • Trip to Barcelona (2014).

  • Visit from Bolton Sixth Form College to discuss the benefits of language learning.

  • KS4 MFL language club: conversation practice.

  • Involvement in European Day of Languages activities.

 

Subject Impact:

 

Pupils are taught to:

  •  Identify and use tenses or other structures which convey the present, past, and future as appropriate to the language being studied

 

  •  Use and manipulate a variety of key grammatical structures and patterns, including voices and moods, as appropriate

 

  • Develop and use a wide-ranging and deepening vocabulary that goes beyond their immediate needs and interests, allowing them to give and justify opinions and take part in discussion about wider issues

  • Use accurate grammar, spelling and punctuation. Linguistic competence

 

  • Listen to a variety of forms of spoken language to obtain information and respond appropriately

 

  • Transcribe words and short sentences that they hear with increasing accuracy

 

  • Initiate and develop conversations, coping with unfamiliar language and unexpected responses, making use of important social conventions such as formal modes of address

 

  • Express and develop ideas clearly and with increasing accuracy, both orally and in writing

 

  • Speak coherently and confidently, with increasingly accurate pronunciation and intonation

 

  • Read and show comprehension of original and adapted materials from a range of different sources, understanding the purpose, important ideas and details, and provide an accurate English translation of short, suitable material

 

  • Read literary texts in the language [such as stories, songs, poems and letters], to stimulate ideas, develop creative expression and expand understanding of the language and culture

 

  • Have an awareness of cultural comparisons and differences which links with their role as an empathetic, global citizen

Knowledge and Skills

 

Year 7:

 

Pupils will develop their knowledge of:

  • Subject specific terminology.

  • Cultural knowledge and appreciation.

  • Countries where TL is spoken.

  • Comparisons/differences between home country and countries where TL is spoken.

  • Communicating for purpose.

Pupils will develop their skills in:

  • Language manipulation and use of language for purpose.

  • The structure of language.

  • Finding patterns in language (eg. conjugation of present tense regular verb).

  • interpreting photographs.

  • Translation.

  • Application of idiomatic phrases.

  • Adapting understanding of language in different contexts.

  • Communication.

  • Producing language by following a model (productive skills)

  • Comprehension of language (receptive skills)

  • Justifying opinion

Year 8:

 

Pupils will develop their knowledge of:

  • Subject specific terminology and grammar.

  • Cultural knowledge and appreciation.

  • Communication.

  • The four key verbs from y7 to support learning of different tenses in y8.

  • Life in another country where the TL is spoken.

  • A historical period of time in another TL country.

  • Links between languages and further education / jobs.

 

Pupils will develop their skills in:

  • Use of appropriate time frames and sequencers (according to tenses).

  • The structure of language and development of prior knowledge.

  • Finding patterns in language (eg. Stems of verbs and verb endings.)

  • Translation.

  • Producing language with increased independence (productive skills)

  • Comprehension of language (receptive skills)

Year 9

 

Pupils will develop their knowledge of:

  • Subject specific terminology.

  • Cultural knowledge and appreciation.

  • Communication.

  • Prior learning to develop ideas in new contexts or familiar contexts with added complexity.

  • Local and international problems linked with local environment.

 

Pupils will develop their skills in:

  • Communication.

  • Structure of language building on prior learning (eg. Use of a range of tenses to convey ideas).

  • Prior learning to develop ideas in new contexts or familiar contexts with added complexity.

  • Tackling exam style questions.

  • Translation.

  • Producing language independently (productive skills)

  • Comprehension of language (receptive skills)

 

Year 10

 

Pupils will develop their knowledge of:

  • Subject specific terminology.

  • Cultural knowledge and appreciation.

  • Using a foreign language for purpose.

  • Drawing on prior learning to develop ideas in new contexts or familiar contexts with added complexity.

  • The 3 main themes at KS4 and the links to KS3.

  • Festivals around the world.

  • Social issues in different TL countries.

 

Pupils will develop their skills in:

  • Communication.

  • Drawing on prior learning to develop ideas in new contexts or familiar contexts with added complexity.

  • Handling exam style questions.

  • Translation.

  • Producing language independently (productive skills).

  • Comprehension of language (receptive skills).

  • Understanding of exam criteria.

  • Developing responses to open ended questions.

 

Year 11

 

Pupils will develop their knowledge of:

  • Subject specific terminology.

  • Cultural knowledge and appreciation.

  • Using a foreign language for purpose.

  • Drawing on prior learning to develop ideas in new contexts or familiar contexts with added complexity.

  • The 3 main themes at KS4 and the links to KS3.

  • Festivals around the world.

  • Social issues in different TL countries.

 

Pupils will develop their skills in:

  • Communication.

  • Developing ideas in new contexts or familiar contexts with added complexity.

  • Responding to exam style questions.

  • Translation.

  • Producing language independently (productive skills).

  • Comprehension of language (receptive skills).

  • Understanding of exam criteria.

  • Developing responses to open ended questions.

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