Why do we learn a foreign language?
Learning a foreign language provides an opening to other cultures and broadens children’s horizons. Through learning French, children’s curiosity is encouraged as they deepen their understanding of the world. Children express their ideas and thoughts in another language and understand and respond to its speakers, both in speech, and gradually, in writing. Learning French also provides opportunities for children to communicate for practical purposes, learn new ways of thinking and begin to read in another language. This primary school experience will provide the foundation for learning further languages, possibly one day equipping pupils to study and work in other countries.
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 is taught in French?
The focus of study in French is on having fun with practical communication. Children are taught to:
- listen attentively to French and show understanding by joining in and responding
- explore the patterns and sounds in French 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 French
- 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 clearly
- describe people, places, things and actions orally and in writing
- understand basic grammar appropriate to French; key features and patterns of the language; how to apply these to build sentences; and how these differ from or are similar to English.
North Lakes School use a range of interactive resources, including audio files, videos, songs, cartoons, and text to promote learning. A core scheme is provided by ilanguages.co.uk, and this is adapted by teachers to meet the needs of pupils.
The school receives excellent support from Ullswater Community College and works collaboratively with other local primary schools to enhance and develop provision in French. In recent years, Year 5&6 have benefited from expert tuition from a UCC French teacher once a fortnight, which has helped to raise standards and expectations through the modelling of teaching techniques and high quality pronunciation.
Subject Leader: Amy Fairhurst