Modern Foreign Languages
At Vine Tree Primary School, we promote a love of language in all that we do. We feel pupils have the right to a rich and exciting experience of learning that should be nurtured from their early education. We feel that the study of Languages will support our pupils in engaging with and contributing to a rapidly changing world in which employment and leisure activities are increasingly carried out in languages other than English. Language learning also provides children with a wealth of opportunities to explore other cultures. Additionally, understanding and using a modern foreign language deepens a child’s understanding of their own language, and the building blocks which form this.
At Vine Tree Primary School, we aim to:
- Nurture linguaphiles and linguists
- Promote a love of language and inspire children to learn a foreign language.
- Ensure that every child has the opportunity, from EYFS to Year Six, to study French as a foreign language
- foster curiosity and interest in the culture of other nations and communities.
- Ensure pupils have access to high-quality teaching and learning opportunities.
- Ensure pupils have regular exposure to simple commands and conversational French language in the classroom.
- Provide a rich language curriculum informed by the National Curriculum and develop the skills of: Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing and Cultural Understanding.
- Provide regular opportunities for children to practise and celebrate their language skills.
- Expose children to high quality models of spoken and written French (through a range of authentic sources).
- Make young children aware that language has structure, and that the structure differs from one language to another;
- Lay the foundations for future study.
- Provide children with the opportunity to visit France.
We have created a well sequenced and progressive curriculum map containing the key concepts children need to be procedurally fluent and to work and think like a linguist.
- The key concepts in MFL we plan a progression for are as follows:
- Listening and responding
- Reading and responding
We base our teaching on our curriculum map for languages, which is well sequenced and progressive. It identifies the end points we expect children to reach at the end of each year group.
As a school we feel that in order to implement the teaching of a Modern Foreign Language effectively, it must be inspiring, engaging, interactive and memorable. We use commercially produced language learning programmes incorporating videos and recordings, which allow the children to listen to and imitate a native speaker. Where appropriate we use puppets and soft toys to demonstrate the foreign language and encourage role play.
During language sessions, the children are given opportunities to listen and respond to the spoken language; explore patterns of sound; engage in conversations, develop vocabulary and write phrases/sentences.
Our leader of MFL and our teachers demonstrate a passion and enthusiasm for learning a foreign language and through a consistent whole school approach, we aim to ensure that:
- French is taught weekly from EYFS to Year Six (15 -20 minutes in EYFS/ks1 and 45 minutes in KS2.
- Modelling (both oral and written) is high quality and accurate.
- Lessons are well paced, engaging and well resourced
- Prior learning/ current learning in French is on display in classrooms/shared areas
- Children are exposed to rhymes, stories and songs in French through assemblies, activities in class and whole school celebrations.
- Teachers are well supported with resources, planning and CPD delivered by the subject lead/purchased programmes.
- There is a clear progression of skills and knowledge as each year group builds on prior learning.
- Children’s achievements in French are celebrated regularly through sharing of work in books, displaying high quality language learning on classroom/whole school displays and in sharing assemblies.
Our curriculum is based on the guidance given in the national curriculum. We apply the four attainment targets for MFL to Key Stage 2 and have devised a progressive and sequential curriculum map covering the four key concepts.
- AT1: Listening and responding
- AT2: Speaking
- AT3: Reading and responding
- AT4: Writing
We teach the children to know and understand how to:
- ask and answer questions;
- use correct pronunciation and intonation;
- memorise words;
- interpret meaning;
- understand basic grammar;
- use dictionaries;
- work in pairs, and groups to communicate in the other language
MFL Across the Curriculum
The learning of a modern foreign language naturally contributes to the development of children’s listening and speaking skills. It also develops the children’s grasp of linguistic features such as rhyme, rhythm, stress and intonation and emphasises the importance of knowing the role of different word types in sentence structure.
Children reinforce their time-telling skills by playing time-related games in the foreign language. We also play number games, which reinforce counting and calculation skills, expand understanding of date and increase knowledge about money.
Personal, social and health education and citizenship
Children benefit from learning foreign languages in many ways, not least of which are personal and social development. Those children who have difficulty in reading and writing, but who have good aural skills, will often find that they excel when speaking a foreign language. This success breeds confidence, which in turn increases self-esteem and gives them a more positive attitude to school in general.
By teaching a modern foreign language we contribute to the children’s cultural education. They learn that many societies are multilingual. We teach them about festivals and customs related to the countries in which a particular language is spoken. We also give children the chance to hear stories set in a foreign culture. A residential visit also takes place every other year.
We help children to locate on a map or a globe the position of the different countries in which a particular foreign language is spoken and encourage them to research customs and traditions associated with that country. MFL pupils likewise learn about the climate of the countries in which the language is spoken.
We teach children songs in the modern foreign language – both traditional and modern – which of course helps them to develop a sense of rhythm and an ear for melody.
We teach children about significant historical figures and events in the history of the countries whose language we are studying, as they arise.
Children reinforce their knowledge of parts of the body through related games, such as a French version of ‘Simon Says’, or ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’, or through related songs, such as the French-Canadian ‘Alouette’. They also reinforce their knowledge of healthy eating.
MFL and Inclusion
At our school we teach a modern foreign language to all children, whatever their ability. A modern foreign language forms part of the school curriculum policy to provide a broad and balanced education to all children. Through our modern foreign language teaching we provide learning opportunities which enable all pupils to make progress. We do this by setting suitable learning challenges and responding to each child’s different needs. Where children are to participate in activities outside the classroom (for example, playing a playground game in a modern foreign language), we carry out a risk assessment prior to the activity, to ensure that the activity is safe and appropriate for all pupils.
Resources have been purchased which will enable all teachers to deliver a structured programme of learning in the modern foreign language relevant to their year group. These include stories, songs and written activities e.g. quizzes. We hope to extend our provision of resources in future years.
Through our MFL curriculum, the children are becoming more confident and competent in developing an additional language. Progression through a topic is evident in the development of key skills and the acquisition of new vocabulary. Evidence is kept of children’s learning through photographs, recordings, videos and classroom display in EYFS/KS1 and KS2. Additionally, children in KS2 will record language work in their French learning journey books which will continue with them to the next year group. Children will also complete a self-evaluation at the end of each term.
We measure the impact of our language curriculum through:
- Work sampling
- Learning walks
- Formative assessment
- Videos and audio recordings of oral activities
- Pupil interviews about their learning
- Staff audits
- Monitoring and moderation against subject-specific skills (for each year group)