Faculty Leader – Languages
The Subject Way
Firstly, to teach students the vital skills they need to achieve their full potential and gain the very best grades they can. Secondly, to teach students how each subject relates to the wider world, incorporating the life skills they will learn.
It is our belief that knowing how what you learn links to the wider world brings a subject to life and therefore improves overall understanding and engagement.
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” – Nelson Mandela
The MFL curriculum is designed to empower students to draw maximum cultural, personal and economic benefit from the role of global citizenship. Through the promotion of oracy and the expansion of vocabulary and literacy we seek to enable students to communicate confidently and without barriers in a wide range of social settings and media.
In order to do this the MFL curriculum is sequenced to allow knowledge and skills to develop simultaneously and progressively. By revisiting and enhancing key language skills in different settings students develop their ability to recall, analyse and evaluate usage and at the same time build independence and resilience.
Our Curriculum enhances our students’ cultural literacy and experience by deepening exposure to non-Anglophone ideas, texts and customs in a variety of topics, settings and locations.
How we intend to remove barriers
“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein
Our curriculum is designed to remove barriers through the promotion of literacy and oracy. We reinforce listening and reading skills through the embedding of skills and techniques such as the Prise method for reading comprehension. Through this students not only learn how to decipher key points and facts in texts from all backgrounds, but eventually how to interpret feelings, emotions and points of view. In addition, students learn how to express themselves and their opinions effectively and appropriately in a range of social contexts, empowering their social mobility.
How we develop skills for learning
We develop learning skills, teaching techniques for the acquisition of vocabulary and the application of grammar. Students learn skills for memorisation, recall and fluency through our layered approach to revisiting topics. Vocabulary is acquired and enhanced through exposure to a range of texts, oral and written in a variety of divergent topics, settings and genre. Students analyse texts to discern emotion and feeling as well as evaluating their own learning skills, such as revision and rote learning techniques.
How we foster personal attributes
We encourage the development of personal attributes such as effective listening and self-expression. Through the learning of other languages, students develop personal and cultural empathy. In doing so they become socially confident and economically mobile.
How we intend to enrich student experiences and broaden the horizons of students
Our department has a key role to play in broadening student horizons by exposing them to the lifestyles, literature and culture of speakers of French, German and Spanish, not just in Europe, but across the globe. We reflect the multi-ethnic and multi-cultural diversity of world languages. We enrich student experience through the exploration of foreign media both in the classroom and as part of our enrichment activities. We organise cinema and restaurant visits, visits from external speakers and links with university departments. Wherever possible we encourage visits abroad, for example to Amiens for the Christmas Market, the Opal Coast, the Rhineland and Berlin.
In Year 9 we look at school in Germany. We start by developing the ability to give opinions on subjects, timetable and school rules. We learn three tenses present, perfect and future) in order to describe exchanges, trips and personal successes. Later we learn how to describe our free time, hobbies and cultural lives. We describe the family and relationships within and without it. Finally, we look at daily life and routine, our homes and our eating preferences.
In terms of culture, we compare the differences between the German and English school systems. Students are exposed to examples of German music, TV and film and examine German food and eating habits.
By the end of year 9 a student will typically be able to combine four tenses (present, imperfect, perfect & future tenses as appropriate to the task) to give opinions and produce descriptions. They will be able to listen to and understand spoken passages using familiar vocabulary but in a range of unfamiliar contexts, picking out the main points and details. They should take part in spontaneous talk and respond to unpredictable parts with more complex sentences and ask questions where appropriate in conversations.
Our Subjects at KS4