Learning a foreign language is a necessary part of being a member of a multi-cultural society and provides an opening to other cultures. A high-quality languages education should foster children’s curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world. The teaching should enable children 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 children to study and work in other countries.
It is intended that when children leave Palmer, 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 language learning at Secondary School.
In line with the National Curriculum for MFL, pupils at Palmer 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, taught by the class teacher. Each lesson begins with a “just checking” starter which allows children to revisit their prior knowledge and apply this knowledge to their new learning. The first topic of each year group has a phonics focus to ensure that children are accurate in their pronunciation and understanding of the French language.
At Palmer, we introduce key vocabulary in Key Stage 1 through song and daily dialogue to ensure that children are exposed to French from an early age. We also write the date in French on Fridays across the school along with asking teachers to use French instruction and marking phrases in French regularly.
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.
- Subject tracking.