“To learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the word” Chinese Proverb
There are many reasons why learning a language is important. Perhaps most importantly learning a second language “boosts problem-solving, critical-thinking, and listening skills, in addition to improving memory, concentration, and the ability to multitask.” (from Leadwithlanguages.org)
Togetherness – Pupils will acquire basic skills and understanding of French with a strong emphasis placed on developing their Speaking and Listening skills. They will work together to develop conversational skills listening carefully to others to respond correctly. Pupils will be encouraged to ‘have a go’ and not fear making mistakes by encouraging and supporting one another.
Happiness – We aim to foster pupils’ curiosity and help deepen their understanding of the world. We hope they will develop a genuine interest and love of learning languages, encouraging them to explore languages beyond the classroom.
Respect – Through our sequence of units we will provide an introduction to the culture of French-speaking countries and communities. Children will listen to native French speakers so they experience authentic French. Pupils will foster a positive attitude, cultural sensitivity and tolerance towards other cultures.
Independence – Pupils will aim to master a variety of language skills with increasing independence. We want them to able to communicate with confidence and be able to apply these skills in future work, travel or study.
Variety – Pupils will experience a wide variety of French topics to help broaden their vocabulary. Different topics will also enable children to express their ideas and thoughts in French and provide opportunities to interact and communicate with others in song, speech and in writing.
Excellence – We aim to help pupils grow into curious, confident and reflective language learners and to provide them with a foundation that will equip them for further language studies.
At Nunney First school pupils learn French in Years 3 and 4. However, the end of Key Stage Two expectations are that 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 (where relevant): 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
At Nunney we currently use ‘PlanIt French’ to guide our French curriculum. It offers a carefully planned sequence of lessons, ensuring progressive coverage of the skills required by the national curriculum. Lessons and resources help children to build on prior knowledge alongside the introduction of new skills. Small units or lessons provide structure and context as well as offering an insight into the culture of French-speaking countries and communities. The introduction and revision of key vocabulary and grammatical structures is built into each lesson. This vocabulary is then included in display materials and additional resources so that children have opportunities to repeat and revise their learning.
A variety of teaching approaches are encouraged:
- Teacher presentations and discussion
- Use of audio, photographs, videos, songs and images
- Whole class teaching and partner practise
- Whole class and small group teaching of skills
- Opportunities to read and write
- Opportunities to listen to native French and to practise speaking with different partners
We make links with our school ‘Big Ideas’ – encouraging the children, for example, to see how lessons develop our understanding of ‘humankind’ and ‘processes’.
Using the range of resources, displaying vocabulary and also including in daily classroom language will increase the profile of languages in the school. The learning environment will be consistent with key French vocabulary displayed, spoken and used by all learners. We want to ensure that French is loved by teachers and pupils across school, therefore encouraging them to embark on further language studies. Impact can also be measured through key questioning skills built into lessons, child-led assessment such as jigsaw target grids. When appropriate summative assessments are used to help target next steps in learning.