French at New Park
At New Park Primary School, we are dedicated to our children, their education and helping them to prepare for the next steps in their school career. Language learning provides an opening for children to increase their understanding of their own language, investigate a new language and to explore other cultures. It also enhances children’s self-confidence and broadens their cultural understanding. The process of learning a foreign language reinforces fluency and understanding of grammar, syntax and sentence structure, skills which are invaluable in later life.
Studying a modern foreign language helps to prepare children to participate in a rapidly changing world, a world in which work and other activities are increasingly carried out in languages other than English.
Our desire to embed language learning within our curriculum comes from the statutory commitment in the National Curriculum to give every child between the ages of 7 and 11 the opportunity to learn a new language. With millions of speakers worldwide, French is the second most widely spoken and taught language after English.
As a school, we feel that in order to implement the teaching of a Modern Foreign Language effectively, it must be engaging, interactive and stimulating. Teachers have access to ‘Language Angels’ which covers all aspects of the MFL curriculum: speaking, listening, reading, writing and cultural understanding. During 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 key words and phrases.
We aim to ensure that children:
- understand and respond to spoken and written language from a variety of authentic sources
- speak 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
- understand and respond to spoken and written language
- can write at varying length, for different purposes and audiences, using the variety of grammatical structures that they have learnt
- discover and develop an appreciation of a range of writing in the language studied.
Key Stage 2: Foreign Language
The teaching of a foreign language should provide an appropriate balance of spoken and written language and should lay the foundations for further foreign language teaching at Key Stage 3. It should enable pupils to understand and communicate ideas, facts and feelings in speech and writing, focused on familiar and routine matters, using their knowledge of phonology, grammatical structures and vocabulary. The focus of study in modern languages will be on practical communication.
Pupils should be taught to:
- listen attentively to spoken language and show understanding by joining in and responding;
- explore the patterns and sounds of language through songs and rhymes and link the spelling, sound and meaning of words;
- engage in conversations; ask and answer questions; express opinions and respond to those of others; seek clarification and help;
- speak in sentences, using familiar vocabulary, phrases and basic language structures;
- develop accurate pronunciation and intonation so that others understand when they are reading aloud or using familiar words and phrases;
- present ideas and information orally to a range of audiences;
- read carefully and show understanding of words, phrases and simple writing;
- appreciate stories, songs, poems and rhymes in the language;
- broaden their vocabulary and develop their ability to understand new words that are introduced into familiar written material, including through using a dictionary;
- write phrases from memory, and adapt these to create new sentences, to express ideas clearly;
- describe people, places, things and actions orally and in writing;
- understand basic grammar appropriate to the language being studied, including: feminine, masculine and neuter forms and the conjugation of high-frequency verbs; key features and patterns of the language; how to apply these, for instance, to build sentences; and how these differ from or are similar to English.
Oracy and Literacy Skills Development
The emphasis in Year 3 is very much on developing listening skills, closely followed by speaking skills. Through immersion, there is a strong emphasis on developing strategies of learning vocabulary at word level.
In Year 4, the emphasis shifts to developing an understanding of basic French grammar such as knowledge of word classes, agreements and some verb forms. The children learn to construct sentences and to understand the implications of sentence building in French in terms of pronunciation, liaison and elision.
In Year 5, there is a strong emphasis on the development of fundamental reading and writing skills rooted in phonics the children begin to understand how to use a bilingual dictionary. The children create increasingly complex spoken sentences and write using writing frames, creating sentences with nouns, verbs, adjectives and conjunctions.
In Year 6, the children’s performance skills are developed. They are able to construct spoken and written sentences that involve a wide range of word classes and to begin use a dictionary in order to find the vocabulary that they need, with supervision.
Supporting all of these skills is an understanding of phonics which will enable the children to sound out and spell words accurately and become more independent learners.