"Without language, one cannot talk to people and understand them; one cannot share their hopes and aspirations, grasp their history, appreciate their poetry or savour their songs." Nelson Mandela
At Walton-le-Dale we want our children to leave primary school brimming with enthusiasm towards learning a foreign language. We want children to feel a 'buzz' when they develop the confidence and skill to successfully communicate with others in a different language to their own. Our ambition is that the children's love of learning a language will motivate them to continually develop and improve their linguistic abilities.
Alongside learning a new language, we actively seek out opportunities to celebrate diversity. By introducing children to other languages and cultures, we aim to foster curiosity about other countries and thereby discourage insularity by deepening children's understanding about the world.
Each lesson begins with five to ten minutes retrieval of key vocabulary to ensure that children retain the most important and frequently used French words and phrases.
These include greetings, numbers, days of the week etc and each are revisited at carefully planned intervals in order to maximise learning. Every year group has a list of essential vocabulary/phrases/sentences with the aim of children being fluent in themby the end of each academic year.
In addition, all classroom instructions are given in French during the lesson (put your hand up, standup/sit down etc).
Nothing equals the thrill of speaking a foreign language in an authentic setting with native speakers. We have organised several foreign trips for our older children in both France and China. In France, children are encouraged to converse with local French people in various settings including a market and bakery.
In addition to this, we have developed links with French native speakers living in our local area so that children can have more regular authentic experiences in the school setting.
French children's books are also built into the curriculum so that every year group will enjoy reading a minimum of two French texts.
At our school pupils learn French from Year 3 through to Year 6. Carefully planned progressive steps ensure that children build on prior learning as they move through Key Stage Two and continually develop in the key areas of speaking, listening, reading, writingand grammar. These progressions lay strong foundations for future language learning.
Each year group has a knowledge organiser which outlines all the key learning in that year. This is a reference tool and important learning aid for the children.
Key vocabulary, unit vocabulary, grammatical focus areas and cultural elements are all included.
The units of study have been chosen to motivate and engage the children while establishing a framework for high quality learning.
The units include vocabulary which the children would need in 'real life' practical situations and draw on a combination of resources from the Language Angels scheme and lessons written by the Languages Leader at our school. This combination ensures comprehensive coverage in terms of vocabulary and culture as well as guaranteeing clear progression throughout Key Stage Two in terms of speaking, listening, reading, writing and grammar.
A variety of interactive learning tools are woven through all the units including songs, games and role-play. The units are also designed so that all our teachers - irrespective of their linguistic ability - can confidently deliver French lessons.
The cultural aspect of our curriculum has also been carefully planned to give children a wider experience of the world. In Year Three the children begin by studying life and customs in France including cities and landmarks. However, as the children progress through school they also learn about the history of Francophone Africa and French Canada.
As well as structured French lessons, we look for ways to encourage learning other languages at our school. We have delivered after school Spanish clubs, Chinese club and a British Sign Language club. We also actively encourage children who attend our school and speak another language to share some of their key greetings and vocabulary.
By the time our children leave Year 6, they will have developed their curiosity about other countries and cultures around the world. They will be aware that French is spoken in many different countries and on several continents.
Children will be able to use spoken language confidently to initiate and sustain conversations in French and also to present information. They will have used their knowledge of key phonetic structures to develop their pronunciation when speaking French. They will also be able to listen to and show understanding of sentences containing both familiar and unfamiliar words. Children will be able to read a series of sentences containing largely familiar language and write sentences on a range of topics. Some sentences and phrases will be written from memory.
Grammatically, children will be able to fully conjugate some verbs (both regular and irregular). They will understand the importance of feminine and masculine nouns and adjectival agreement and they will be able to produce both positive and negative statements. Children will have progressively developed their confidence using a dictionary to support their language learning.
Our children will have experienced authentic French texts in each year group. They will know numbers to 100, frequently used conversational phrases and a range of commonly used classroom phrases including teacher instructions.
In summary, by the end of Year 6 our children will have strong foundations in place in order to successfully continue their language learning journey at key stage three.