Modern Foreign Languages (MFL)

MODERN FOREIGN LANGUAGES (MFL)

Head of Department: Mr R Bellworthy

Strapline: Empowering linguists of the future!

Curriculum statement: Whether students choose to learn French and German for 2, 3, 5 or 7 years, we deliver effective dynamic language lessons, which teach our young linguists of the future how to put knowledge of lexis, grammar and phonology into the long-term memory, thus connecting their identity to a rapidly challenging and changing global world.

Key Stage 3
French German
Year 7 2 periods a week -
Year 8 3 periods a fortnight 1 period a fortnight
Year 9 2 periods a week 2 periods a week

Assessment:
The overarching skills in MFL are listening, speaking, reading, translation and writing. Progress is assessed on a regular basis, both informally, through regular vocabulary quizzes, classwork and homework, and also formally in two half-termly assessments. The ability to express one’s opinion, understand grammar, use native-like pronunciation, manipulate vocabulary, and to learn how to use a dictionary are crucial if one is going to become a successful linguist!

Classwork:
Students work from Parallel Texts, vocabulary lists and textbooks as models for target language structures, sentence prominence and intonation, syntax, and key vocabulary. Occasionally students learn verb conjugations and lists of words, but a greater emphasis is placed on chunking key phrases, high level gambits, lexical items in context and tenses as part of a narrative. Parallel Texts summarise the highest level syntax and language at each stage as a model for acquisition and a starting point each week. Each Parallel Text includes: PROFS; that’s examples of Past tense verbs, Reasons, Opinions, Future tense verbs and the Subjunctive mood, and PIEs (Phrases, Idioms and Expressions). The curriculum is topic and grammar-led; that is within each motivational and age-appropriate topic, grammar is gradient and sequential. Universal pre-requisites for the next stage are embedded and assessed. The research-led assumption is that students learn new things in the context of what they already know; hence pre-requisites for the following year group are crucial in giving students a strong founding via the Universals.

Homework:
Students are expected to spend a minimum of 30 minutes per week on each language on either a reading comprehension and writing task or on learning task. When learning, a student should spend at least 1 session of 10 minutes every other day (at least 3x10 minutes a week) self-quizzing words and verbs from their self-quizzing booklet. This ensures beating the forgetting curve because in order to transfer knowledge from the short-term memory to the long-term memory, the ‘little but often’ approach strengthens the brain’s capacity to recall and retrieve. We encourage the use of the ‘Look, Cover, Say, Write, Check, Correct’ method on either paper or using online applications, such as Quizlet, Memrise and Textivate.

Year 7 French
Students, who are taught in form groups, build on any linguistic knowledge they already have from home or primary school in order to develop their linguistic skills in listening, speaking, reading, translation and writing. Students are given every opportunity to expand their vocabulary and enhance their grammatical and cultural awareness through role-play, ICT and interactive activities. Over the course of year 7, we cover a range of topics, including: myself, my school, my free-time, my area, my holidays.

Year 8 French
Students are setted in year 8 into sets 1 and 2 and there is movement between classes throughout the year. Students further develop their linguistic skills to express and justify their opinions on a wider range of topics, including: Paris, je t’adore!, Mon identité, Chez moi, chez toi. They are encouraged to use a variety of grammatical structures in their written and spoken language.

Year 9 French
Students are again setted in year 9 into sets 1 and 2 and there is movement between classes throughout the year. Students consolidate vocabulary and grammatical structures learned in previous years, with an emphasis on past, present and future tenses. Students are encouraged to become more creative with their written and spoken language. In term 1 students consolidate years 8 and 9 around the topic: Why learn languages? For holidays? Following this, students begin two GCSE topics: Leisure activities, Who am I? and finish the year considering French-speaking music and film.

Years 8 and 9 German
A second foreign language is introduced in year 8 and further consolidated in year 9 as a means of giving students a further language option at GCSE and to expose them to a non-romance language. Germanic languages often appeal to some students that romance languages do not. Having studied French for one year, students already have a strong idea of effective language learning and how languages work. Therefore, picking upa new language is considered easier and more effective than starting foreign languages from scratch. Topics include: myself, my school, my free-time, my area, my holidays.

Key Stage 4 (Exam board: Edexcel)
French German
Year 10 3 periods a week 3 periods a week
Year 11 3 periods a week 3 periods a week
weekly skill-up session weekly skill-up session

Assessment:
Progress is assessed on a regular basis, both informally, through regular vocabulary quizzes, classwork and homework, and also formally in half-termly assessments of the 4 strands including translation to and from the target language. 100% of the grade is determined by 4 examinations.

Listening: 25% 45 minutes + 5 minutes’ reading time 50 marks
Speaking: 25% 10–12 minutes + 12 minutes’ preparation time 70 marks
Reading: 25% 60 minutes including translation activities into English 50 marks
Writing: 25% 1 hour 20 minutes with translation activities from English 60 marks

Classwork:
Students work from texts, vocabulary lists and textbooks as models for target language structures, sentence prominence and intonation, syntax, and key vocabulary. Occasionally students learn verb conjugations and lists of words, but a greater emphasis is placed on chunking key phrases, high level gambits, lexical items in context and tenses as part of a narrative. Universal pre-requisites are embedded and assessed. The research-led assumption is that students learn new things in the context of what they already know; hence pre-requisites for the following year group are crucial in giving students a strong founding via the Universals.

Homework:
Students are expected to complete two pieces per week and to spend a minimum of 30 minutes on each piece per week. These could take the form of reading and listening comprehension, writing or translation tasks or vocabulary and grammar learning tasks. Like in Key Stage 3 when learning, a student should spend at least 1 session of 10 minutes every other day (at least 4x10 minutes a week) self-quizzing words and verbs from their vocabulary booklet. This ensures beating the forgetting curve because in order to transfer knowledge from the short-term memory to the long-term memory, the ‘little but often’ approach strengthens the brain’s capacity to recall and retrieve. We encourage the use of the ‘Look, Cover, Say, Write, Check, Correct’ method on either paper or using online applications, such as Quizlet, Memrise and Textivate.

Year 10 and 11 French and German
Over the two year course, students consolidate vocabulary and topics studied in Key Stage 3, as required by Edexcel. The course offers a lively, communicative approach, underpinned by a clear grammatical progression and regular vocabulary learning. Throughout the course, students practise GCSE-style assessments in the 4 strands, in which translation to and from the target language plays an important part.

Theme 1 – Identity and culture
module 1: who am I?
module 2: free-time activities and daily life
module: 3: festivals and daily life

Theme 2 – Local area, holiday and travel
module 4: town, region, country/travel and tourism
module 5: holidays/travel and tourism transactions

Theme 3 – School
module 6: what school is like/school activities

Theme 4 – Future aspirations, study and work
module 7: work/ambitions/using languages beyond the classroom

Theme 5 – International and global dimension
module 8: bringing the world together/environmental issues

Key Stage 5 French and German (Exam board: AQA)
- See separate sixth form prospectus

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