Modern Foreign Languages (MFL)
Our Curriculum - Intent
We aspire for each child to develop a deep interest in, and love for learning so they are equipped with the knowledge and skills they will require to be successful, both now, as children, and in the future. We offer an ambitious MFL curriculum, which is shaped to reflect the unique needs of our pupils, and develop a genuine interest and positive curiosity about foreign languages, preparing them to be life-long language learners. We believe that learning a second language offers children the opportunity to explore relationships between language and identity, develop a deeper understanding of other cultures and the world around them, with a better awareness of self, others and cultural differences.
We recognise the importance of children being given opportunities for ‘real life’ experiences in the subject, to develop their cultural capital, for example linking learning to local and wider localities. We use a range of activities to reinforce learning in MFL and embed the language into everyday school life, for example, children answer the register and give their lunch choices in French and links are made to different areas of the curriculum, including outdoor learning opportunities.
Our teaching of MFL is supported by the Language Angels scheme. This provides a high level of challenge for pupils and to support teachers who may not be as confident in delivering MFL. The resources include French spoken dialogue to support pronunciation. The four key language learning skills; listening, speaking, reading and writing build on prior understanding and are taught in a way that enables children to use and apply their learning in a variety of contexts, laying down solid foundations for future language learning and also helping the children improve overall attainment in other subject areas.
We promote positive mindset and resilience so that our children attain their best, are challenged to achieve their best and leave The Russell School ready for their secondary education and beyond. It enables them to want to learn and enjoy creating work that allows them to reach a high standard in all areas of the curriculum, with enough time given for researching, discussing, proofreading and redrafting. Having the confidence to ‘take risks’ is valued and ‘having a go’ encouraged in all areas of the MFL curriculum.
Our Curriculum - Implementation
Our MFL curriculum progressively develop pupil skills in foreign languages through regularly taught and well-planned weekly lessons in all KS2 classes. Best practise is shared, and support and training offered to staff to ensure they are confident to teach a second language. Children progressively acquire, use and apply a growing bank of vocabulary, language skills and grammatical knowledge organised around age-appropriate topics and themes - building blocks of language into more complex, fluent and authentic language.
Teachers carry out ongoing assessment and adapt lessons plans as required to meet the needs of all pupils. This enables them to offer appropriate levels of challenge and stretch for children of all abilities, continuously building their knowledge of and enthusiasm for the language they are learning.
Learning in MFL is linked to other subjects across the school curriculum and units from other subjects have been matched to MFL topics. Learning is grouped into phase appropriate plans, which ensures that the language taught is appropriate to the level of the class and introduced when the children are ready. Children are taught how to listen and read longer pieces of text gradually in the foreign language and they have ample opportunities to speak, listen to, read and write the language being taught with and without scaffolds, frames and varying levels of support.
Children 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 is taught throughout all units at all levels of challenge. Teachers are provided with a Progression Map and Grammar Grid to ensure all children are progressing their foreign language learning skills and are taught the appropriate grammar at the right time in their foreign language learning journey. Grammar rules and patterns will be taught by level of challenge:
- Nouns and articles and 1st person singular of high frequency verbs.
- Use of the possessive, the concept of adjectives, use of the negative form, conjunctions/connectives and introduce the concept of whole regular verb conjugation.
- Opinions and introduce the concept of whole high frequency irregular verb conjugation.
- Grammar is integrated and taught discreetly throughout all appropriate units and children are exposed to all of the appropriate grammar, so they are able to create their own accurate and personalised responses to complex authentic foreign language questions by the end of KS2.
Each teaching unit is divided into 6 fully planned lessons and include opportunities for speaking, listening, reading and writing. Extended reading and writing activities are provided so that native speakers receive appropriate challenge. Extending writing activities ensure that pupils can recall previously learnt language and, by reusing it, can able to recall it and use it with greater ease and accuracy. These tasks link units together and show that pupils retain and recall the language taught with increased fluency and ease.
Real-life experiences enhance learning in MFL to develop cultural capital. We value the importance of ‘real-life’ experiences, to develop cultural capital. Enrichment opportunities include foreign language celebration assemblies; cookery sessions of traditional foods from the country of the language being studied; school celebrations of national feast days from the country of the language being studied when appropriate to facilitate a whole school approach to foreign language learning along with improved cultural awareness.
Children are taught how to look up and research language they are unsure of and have a bank of reference materials to help them with their spoken and written tasks. These materials develop into a reference library to help pupils recall and build on previous knowledge throughout their language learning journey.
Regular opportunities for retrieval practice enables children to deliberately rehearse newly acquired skills and knowledge, transfer these across different contexts and identify gaps in their learning, ultimately strengthening long term memory. Children are frequently given opportunities to ‘have a go’ at applying their learning in new contexts. Children are encouraged to recognise mistakes as a useful, positive part of the learning process. Our whole school culture promotes self-challenge, resilience, courage, questioning and deep thinking.
Our Curriculum - Impact
The impact of our curriculum is the measure of how well our intent has been realised. It is demonstrated through the success of our learners and their confidence to demonstrate the knowledge they have retained over time as well as their readiness for the next stage in education and for life as an adult in the wider world.
Teachers assess each language skill (speaking, listening, reading and writing) at the end of each term to provide reference points against which learning and progression in each skill can be demonstrated. Marking and feedback provides teachers with ongoing assessment information which is used to shape future planning. Children are aware of their own learning goals and progression as each unit offers a pupil friendly overview so that children can review their own learning at the start and at the end of each unit. Pupil voice questionnaires and conversations with pupils demonstrate the learning that has taken place and allow the subject leader to monitor the effectiveness of the curriculum. Progress is also evidenced in children’s books.
By the time our children leave The Russell School, we intend to:
- Promote diversity and cultural appreciation through the learning of French. Our children will learn to speak French with increasing confidence, being able to recall words, phrases and sentences when required. Our children will make ambitious attempts to write in French to express their thinking.
- Develop respect of other countries and create interested and inquisitive children who are keen to learn about French culture and lifestyle, leading to globally minded citizens.