Modern Foreign Languages Curriculum Area
|Curriculum Leader:||Mrs K Lawley|
|Second in the Curriculum Area:||Mrs G Borsbey|
|Staff:||Miss S Ashcroft|
|Mrs R Dawson|
|Mrs S Farrimond|
|Mr P Rawlinson|
“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” Proverbs 16:24
The Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) department aims to provide a rich and diverse learning experience for all students, combining sound grammatical knowledge with increased cultural awareness and encouraging creativity, resilience and independence. The values and ethos of our Christian community lie at the very heart of foreign language learning; we prepare our MFL students to be responsible global citizens of the future who flourish bravely and faithfully. The department is strongly committed to making the study of a modern foreign language a rewarding experience for the entire ability range, so that each student will be able to achieve their potential. We deliver courses which offer students a realistic opportunity to be successful at the highest possible level, thus providing a platform for further study - in an increasingly competitive and challenging global marketplace the ability to speak a modern foreign language is not only desirable, it can pave the way to career enhancement.
In MFL we believe that learning a language will take you on a journey of enrichment that can endure for a lifetime, whether socially or in a business context, educationally or for enhancing personal growth from global travel, and we aim to instill this belief in our students. We strongly advocate the learning of a language through authentic use and experience, using the target language for a real purpose within the classroom and leading educational visits abroad. Students are challenged to extend their range of structures and vocabulary as appropriate to their age, ability and language learning experience and the curriculum is planned robustly to support this progression, with each year designed as a pathway to the next.
The MFL department is staffed by 5 full time and 1 part time dedicated linguist(s). Lessons are conducted as much as possible in the target language and students are expected to make every effort to communicate with their teacher and peers using the support materials provided. At both Key Stages an online learning platform (Activeteach) is used to access the ‘Stimmt’ (German) and ‘Studio’ (French) textbooks appropriate to students’ age and stage of learning. The MFL Curriculum is carefully planned to allow all students to make progress through consistent delivery of content which is mapped through 5 years to the appropriate required KS4 level of knowledge and is based upon the 3 pillars of vocabulary, phonics and grammar.
We deliver a 2-year Key Stage 3 programme of study. Students begin studying German in Year 7 and are taught in mixed ability groups for 3 hours per week. Students complete three modules of work in this first academic year followed by three modules in year 8 - see overviews for details of the knowledge and skills covered in each module. They are assessed in all four skill areas (listening / speaking / reading / writing) in each module; one skill area as an interim assessment and the other three upon completion of each module. Students then undertake self-evaluation procedures and set personal targets for development. In Year 8, all students continue to study German, with students in the top third of the year group based on year 7 assessments (approx. 64 students) taking on French as a second foreign language. Year 8 beginners French is delivered through 3 modules of study with a strong focus on grammar and phonics.
Towards the end of Year 8, students choose their options. Approximately 65% continue with German as a compulsory GCSE subject in Year 9. Those students with clear linguistic ability are offered the opportunity to continue with French as a second foreign language.
At KS3 the taught curriculum runs alongside a programme of cultural events and activities, with the aims of deepening students’ awareness of the culture and traditions of target language speaking countries and promoting the idea of languages as an essential life skill beyond the confines of the classroom. We undertake a range activities to celebrate European Day of Languages with all of year 7 students. We also celebrate Oktoberfest and Karneval and the Christian festivals of Christmas and Easter.
Students begin their GCSE course at the start of Year 9 and follow the AQA GCSE course specifications:
Students complete three modules of work each academic year from the ‘Stimmt’ (German) or ‘Studio’ (French) courses – see overviews for details of the knowledge and skills covered in each module. Students are assessed in all four skill areas (listening / speaking / reading / writing) in each module; one skill area as an interim assessment and the other three upon completion of each module in years 9 and 10. They undertake mock examinations and complete past examination papers as assessment of their progress in year 11. Students then undertake self-evaluation procedures and set personal targets for development. Intervention strategies are put in place for students who fall below their target grade (9-1).
Programmes of Study: MFL
The departmental homework programme encourages students to develop their independent learning skills through use of interactive web based programmes (active learn focussing on listening, reading and grammar; Quizlet focussing on vocabulary learning; grammar and translation guides for personalised learning and revision).
At KS3 homework is set weekly and should take students up to 30 minutes to complete. At KS4 homework is set weekly and should take up to 60 minutes to complete.
Homework support sessions, staffed by the Curriculum Leader, run weekly in M19 for any student who would like to drop in for help and guidance. KS3 sessions take place on Tuesdays and KS4 sessions on Thursdays.
Students are expected to complete fortnightly vocabulary-based learning tasks using www.quizlet.com and their green sentence builder grids. Students are then assessed on their home learning under test conditions in class.
Other homework tasks may include the following:
- web-based activities, e.g. listening and reading practice via www.pearsonactivelearn.com and ALL-IN languages / Kahoot challenge tasks / Wordwall activities)
- reading comprehensions
- cultural and creative tasks
- revision for interim and end of module assessments
- preparation for GCSE speaking examinations
- GCSE style reading and listening comprehensions and GCSE past paper questions.
The MFL department has a strong and improving academic track record. In 2019, 89% of French students, 97% of Spanish students and 75% of German students achieved a standard pass (grade 4) or above, equaling or bettering the national average in all 3 languages and contributing significantly to the school’s EBacc percentage. Attendance on cultural enrichment visits abroad is high. Regular learning walks and work scrutiny provide on-going evidence of the quality of teaching and learning and inform further development of and changes to the taught curriculum.
Careers and Progression
In most careers nowadays language abilities are highly valued and there is a particular shortage of people with languages in Engineering and Finance. In addition, people who can speak another language earn on average 20% more than people who cannot! German and French are the languages most sought after by employers. Job vacancies specifying German language skills as a requirement rose by 11.6 per cent over the past three years, to 1,221 postings per million, according to Indeed, the recruitment agency. French remains in high demand, with 1,152 postings per million. (Source: Source: The Times, April 10th 2019)
Here are a FEW IDEAS of what sort of jobs languages GCSEs could help you to get …….
- Intelligence personnel
- linguist in the military
- Retail buyer
- Video games tester
- Chartered accountant
- Sales executive
- Logistics and distribution manager
- Football analyst
- Teacher / English as a foreign language teacher
- International assignment manager
- Event organiser
- Tour organiser
- Marketing executive
- Language blogger / YouTuber or Podcaster
- Art editor
- Press conference assistant
- Recruitment consultant
- Market researcher