We look to encourage a real interest in the French language and, equally important, the culture of France itself. We hope that our students will be enthused about our European heritage not just in France but in other countries as well. Through language teaching, we support and practise many aspects of literacy which can in turn help our students to improve in many other areas of the curriculum. Learning a language will help students develop a deeper awareness, tolerance and understanding of the culture and customs of people from other nations.
All students study French. During the year they progress from learning at a basic level how to introduce themselves to being able to have a longer conversation about themselves, their families, friends, pets and their interests. They will also be able to describe their home and say where they live and talk about the subjects they are studying and give opinions. Students make excellent progression throughout the year; we use software packages to enhance learning and provide authentic listening materials.
Students learn to talk about their daily routine, out of school activities, learn how to plan a visit to the cinema and how to shop for groceries. Students also learn how to use the immediate future tense through talking about the subjects they study and their future jobs and careers. The accurate use of verbs is an integral and important element of the syllabus. Building on the progression made in year 7, students continue to improve and more importantly to be able to work independently. As well as using software packages to enhance learning and provide authentic listening materials, grammar becomes a key element and students end the year with a grammar-based topic in the present and future tenses on holidays.
Students learn about Paris and its famous landmarks describing a visit to Paris using past, present and future tenses. A lot of time is spent on the formation and use of past tenses. The course is very rigorous and involves incorporating the present, past and future tenses simultaneously, to mirror GCSE tasks. Towards the end of the year, we look at the language of menus and begin a GCSE module on healthy and unhealthy eating and the consequences of both.
Target-setting is done as a matter of routine and is recorded in the assessment pages of the student organiser. Key data is used for this, along with the professional judgement of the class teacher assessments which take place at the end of each unit of work.
In year 7, this is approximately each half-term and involves two attainment targets at a time, e.g. listening and speaking, reading and writing. In year 8, we assess three times a year, following the same basic pattern. In year 9 testing is not as frequent because it is carried out on larger blocks of work and is more detailed and complex.
In years 7 and 8 students have the opportunity to participate in a weekend trip to the Christmas markets of northern France and Belgium.
In year 9 there are activity week trips to Paris, Normandy and the northern resort of Ardres which allow the students to learn more about the many historical and cultural aspects of France and French life.
Years 7, 8 and 9 have homework booklets (differentiated according to ability) which contain approximately one half-term’s work. Students are encouraged to work on these at their own pace and there are extension tasks included in each booklet.
The year 9 homework booklet includes research on Paris, grammar exercises, writing short texts in past tenses and practising and memorising whole paragraphs using three or four tenses.
Students are encouraged to use MFL websites in their own time, especially Linguascope, for which we pay an annual subscription. Occasionally, we may set homework on a topic linked to one or more of these websites.
For independent study at home and to improve reading skills in particular, parents may like to encourage their children to research international internet sites. Some good areas for French, German and Spanish and other languages are:
Voir Mon Horoscope
Fan Club Français de Friends
English-French Picture Dictionary
We set according to ability in years 8 and 9. We aim to make lessons challenging for students whatever their ability and opportunities are given to extend and deepen their language skills.
Extension tasks are a part of every homework booklet in years 7, 8 and 9. Year 9 students are encouraged to undertake research work through the VLE, which can help them to reach level 7.
Targeted groups receive support within lessons. Differentiated work is in place across the department where it is needed and staff work closely with the SEN department to ensure full access to the curriculum for all.
Homework support is also available every lunch-time in the Special Needs Department and after school two evenings per week.
Student Leadership is an integral part of the curriculum. Students are frequently expected to give oral presentations and complete speaking and listening assignments. Students are encouraged to work independently as well as to informally mentor their peers.
When preparing for assessments, students peer assess giving each other constructive feedback.