Learning a foreign language is a liberation from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures. A high quality languages education should foster pupils’ curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world. Our aim is to broaden pupils’ horizons and encourage them to step beyond familiar cultural boundaries and develop new ways of seeing the world. Our teaching should enable pupils to express their ideas and thoughts in another language and to understand and respond to its speakers, both in speech and in writing. It should also provide opportunities for them to communicate for practical purposes, learn new ways of thinking and develop an appreciation of a range of writing in the language studied.
Pupils should develop a competency that is both broad and deep in the skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing based on a sound foundation of core grammar, vocabulary and phonics. They should also be able to understand and communicate personal and factual information that goes beyond their immediate needs and interests, developing and justifying points of view in speech and writing, with increased spontaneity, independence and accuracy.
Critical learning, high frequency language and key communicative functions are revisited receptively and productively many times as we progress through the curriculum. For example when learning how to describe activities done on a past holiday in French/German, we need to revisit previous teaching on how to conjugate the verbs ‘avoir and être’/’haben and sein’ in all forms.’ In Spanish, when talking about food and drink and using the idiom ‘tener hambre/sed’ we need to revisit the present tense of the irregular verb ‘tener’.
Our ultimate goal with our pupils is to develop their ability to be self-efficacious and to create the optimal conditions for learner success.
We aspire to expose our pupils to a broad and ambitious Modern Languages curriculum, which is rich in skills and knowledge, develops self-efficacy, kindles curiosity and promotes diversity and tolerance of other cultures. Our Modern Languages curriculum will give pupils the opportunity to:
- use language skills, receptively and productively, for communication in the real world, for practical purposes, for their immediate needs, interests and beyond and to express and justify opinions;
- develop their confidence and autonomy to access new and unfamiliar language through the use of decoding skills brought about by the explicit teaching of phonics and sound patterns;
- work towards becoming a fluent and spontaneous speaker of the foreign language.
Other general principles
Our pedagogy is underpinned by:
- expert subject knowledge and a passion for languages;
- the nurturing of a ‘can do’ attitude towards language learning, built through the minimisation of cognitive load (less is more), controlled input-output, and scaffolding the understanding and production of language through extensive use of worked examples across a wide range of contexts;
- the regular and spaced recycling and retrieval of high frequency vocabulary, verbs and structures across as many modalities as possible to support the storing of knowledge in the long term memory;
- meticulous planning and careful sequencing when teaching a skill, e.g. particular grammar points and anticipation of possible misconceptions allowing for planned intervention;
- the creation of a learning environment where pupils feel confident to make errors and to learn how to move on from these;
- the use of low stake assessment opportunities which allow for systematic and effective checking of understanding throughout a single lesson or a sequence of lessons;
- interventions that are timely, planned and effective following Trust-wide unified assessments.
We will enrich our curriculum by:
- providing opportunities to correspond with speakers of the foreign language and, where possible, to visit the country where the language is spoken in order to use the language and experience the culture;
- exploring appropriate authentic materials to enrich language learning (poems, songs, stories, literary extracts and audio-visual materials);
- acknowledging festivals, traditions and customs which are relevant to the countries where the target language is spoken;
- the annual celebration of the European day of Languages to support diversity and culture;
- giving pupils who have an ability to speak another language, other than English, support and encouragement to sit an external examination in this language;
- offering breakfast/twilight/weekend/holiday sessions to encourage pupils to show independence and ‘to go the extra mile’ in their learning;
- holding Trust-wide competitions to enhance collaboration and community cohesion.
Our curriculum will enable pupils to:
- learn within a coherent and progressive framework;
- explore the breadth and depth of the national curriculum in languages;
- foster enjoyment and independence through the teaching of new skills across a wide range of contexts;
- become aware of the advantages that learning a language can both in their personal and working lives;
- understand what they are doing well and what they need to do to improve;
- build on their understanding of the importance of British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, tolerance and respect;
- improve their spiritual, social, moral and cultural understanding;
- develop their character, including their resilience, confidence and independence, so that they contribute positively to the life of the school, to their local community, and to the wider environment.