Modern Foreign Languages (MFL)
Why do we teach MFL?
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. The 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 read great literature in the original language. Language teaching should provide the foundation for learning further languages, equipping pupils to study and work in other countries (National Curriculum in England).
The national curriculum for languages aims to ensure that all pupils:
- 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.
- 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.
What will children learn?
At Radwinter CofE Primary, it is our aim to ensure that by the end of their primary education, children have acquired an understanding of both spoken and written French. Our intent is that they should feel confident to speak in French with others and know how important other languages can be in their future lives.
To achieve this, we aim to inspire a love of language as part of their lifelong journey of learning and to develop an interest in learning other languages in the future. Children are introduced to another language in a way that is enjoyable and stimulating throughout the school. Examples of this include:
- Developing children’s confidence and creative skills through the exploration of another language in a range of activities; including song and role play (e.g. French café).
- Celebrating languages by including them in whole school performances (e.g. carol service).
- Stimulating and encouraging children’s curiosity about other languages through themed days where native speakers of other languages are invited into school to speak about their country and share their language.
- Developing children’s awareness of cultural differences in other countries (e.g. cooking and tasting foreign dishes).
- Teaching children listening, speaking, reading and writing skills and encouraging them to be confident in their delivery of French.
- Laying the foundations for future language learning.
Children begin experiencing other languages from EYFS through the use of songs, rhymes and stories. Children begin having weekly French lessons in KS1 using the units of work from ‘La Jolie Ronde’, in addition to other resources. In Lower KS2, children acquire basic skills and understanding of French with a strong emphasis placed on developing their Speaking and Listening skills. These are embedded and further developed in Upper KS2, alongside Reading and Writing, gradually progressing onto more complex language concepts and greater learner autonomy.
It is intended that when children leave Radwinter CofE Primary School, they will have a natural curiosity and confidence to explore other countries, cultures and languages, accepting that, in a multi-lingual society it is a valuable skill to be able to communicate effectively with others in another language. They will be engaged and prepared to continue their language learning at Secondary School.
How will children be taught?
In line with the National Curriculum for MFL, pupils at Radwinter CofE Primary School are 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 clear.
- 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.
This is done through a weekly French lesson, using the ‘La Jolie Ronde’ scheme of work. This includes ‘Little Languages’ for EYFS and KS1, French for Years 3&4 and French for Years 5&6. The scheme of work is written by Rachel Redfearn of Wakefield Local Authority and is ideal for non-specialist teachers.
The scheme introduces some of the different languages and cultures from around the world. It includes:
- Activities demonstrated in French and Spanish
- Additional vocabulary & songs in Italian, Chinese, Hindi & African Shona
- Includes fun, play-based activities including interactive material
- Real life clips featuring children from around the world
Materials for EYFS are written to make links with early learning goals relating to the 6 areas of learning. They include 5-10 minute play-based activities such as action songs, playground games, listening to stories, simple sorting activities. Children can ‘see’ how other children live around the world e.g. How they meet & greet, how their classroom looks, foods they might eat using the premade resources.
Key Stage 1
The scheme for Key Stage 1 includes 10-20 minute adaptable play-based activities including patterns, listening to music, dancing and role play. Resources focus on cultural diversity through food, dance and celebrations. Children are also introduced to simple ‘two word phrases’ to assist in performing simple role plays.
French for Years 3&4
The scheme comes with over 135 files to support lessons including flash cards, texts of stories and poems, transcripts of songs, PowerPoint presentations, a CD of songs and poems and Chante en Français recorded by native French speakers for modelling correct pronunciation and intonation. The lessons are generally divided into 4 x 15 minute sessions to give maximum flexibility.
French for Years 5&6
This scheme follows on from the French for Years 3&4 and also includes a teaching guide, resources and audio tracks with sound files for language support, songs and poems. The lessons are again generally divided into 4 x 15 minute sessions.
What will the outcomes for children be?
The MFL subject leader will continually monitor the impact MFL teaching is having on the children’s learning to ensure the progress of knowledge and skills is being taught. They will also ensure the knowledge taught is retained by the children and continually revisited and that the learners are able to apply the skills they have been taught to a variety of different settings, showing independence with their learning. Impact will also be measured through key questioning skills built into lessons, child-led assessment such as success criteria grids, jigsaw targets and summative assessments aimed at targeting next steps in learning. By ensuring fidelity to the ‘La Jolie Ronde’ scheme of work, children should be achieving the required knowledge and skills in lessons and therefore making good or better progress.
We measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:
- Observing children speaking and listening in another language.
- Marking of written work.
- Images and videos of children completing speaking and listening activities.
- Interviewing the pupils about their learning (pupil voice).
- Moderation staff meetings where pupil’s work is scrutinised and there is the opportunity for a dialogue between teachers to understand their class’s work.
- Annual reporting of standards across the curriculum to parents.
- Learning walks.
- Dedicated MFL leader time.
- Governor monitoring with out subject MFL link governor.
If you would like further information on the curriculum we teach, please contact the school directly.