Introduction - The study of languages
Languages are part of the cultural richness of our society and the world in which we live and work. Learning languages contributes to mutual understanding, a sense of global citizenship and personal fulfilment. Students learn to appreciate different countries, cultures, communities and people. By making comparisons, they gain insight into their own culture and society. The ability to understand and communicate in another language is a lifelong skill for education, employment and leisure.
Learning languages gives students opportunities to develop their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills and to express themselves with increasing confidence, independence and creativity. During Key Stage 3, students will become familiar with the sounds, written form and grammar in order to use the language in role plays, conversations, written tasks, songs and language games. In addition to this, students will learn about the countries, places and communities where the language is spoken and increase their cultural awareness through contact with speakers and authentic materials. Students will be expected to use the target language as the normal means of communication in lessons.
The key concepts which underpin the study of languages are: linguistic competence, knowledge about language, creativity and intercultural understanding. Students will develop their understanding and competence of these concepts by working in a range of contexts and different activities.
There are two essential skills and processes which students need to learn in order to make progress:
- Language learning strategies enable students to be able to identify patterns in the target language, develop techniques for remembering words, phrases and spellings, and to use previous knowledge, context and reference materials appropriately and effectively to work out the meaning of what they hear or read.
- Language learning skills teach students how to listen and read for main points and detail, use correct pronunciation, ask and answer questions and sustain conversations, adapt language previously learned for new purposes, and improve accuracy and quality of language they produce.
Setting arrangements and amount of curriculum time
French will be taught for one hour per week in groups setted roughly according to students’ previous language learning experience and attainment.
Language B (German or Spanish) will be taught for two lessons per week, each lasting one hour. There will be four groups per language.
Students with targeted learning needs learn only one language for two hours per week and receive their curriculum learning support in the remaining time.
There is a test at the end of each unit, assessing two of the four skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) at levels 1 – 4. By the end of Year 7 an average student will be working between levels 3 and 4 (language B) and at level 3 (language A). Each unit has a front cover sheet in the exercise book, outlining what will be assessed and how students can progress from level to level.
Class work is assessed in terms of National Curriculum level, for effort (A-E) or numerically where appropriate. Teachers’ comments in exercise books will include individual targets to help students improve their work. Marking criteria and objectives will be shared with students in order to let them know how to progress.Homework
Homework will be set once a week, from a variety of tasks (e.g. vocabulary learning, reading, writing, internet research/tasks and speech learning).
Students will be offered opportunities to enhance their engagement with the concepts, processes and content of the subject. Activities like web-based research, preparation of role plays, language games, as well as self and peer assessment will develop students’ skills as independent enquirers, creative thinkers, team workers, self-managers, effective participators and reflective learners.
Throughout the year, links will be made with the work of other subject areas, such as Citizenship, Art, Drama and English. They will also have the opportunity to practice their skills by regularly communicating with our foreign language assistant individually or in small groups.
- Language Awareness Week (flamenco dancing, German expressionist art, French food tasting, boules competition).
- Book Week activities.
- Clubs are run in Beginners Chinese, Italian, Korean, Russian and Latin.
- International Film Club is run in conjunction with the Media Studies Department.
- There are after-school classes preparing for exams in Arabic, Italian, Korean and Urdu.
- A day visit to Paris will be offered to all students and a visit to a German Christmas market is run for Year 7, the Watersports Trip runs to Spain and Residential visits to France, Germany and Spain are run in Key Stages 4 and 5.
Main texts and useful websites
Textbooks are followed loosely in French (Métro), German (Logo) and Spanish (Listos). Copies of these are available in the LRC.
Useful websites for practice are:www.linguascope.co.uk www.languagesonline.org.ukwww.mflgames.co.uk www.zut.org.ukwww.spellmaster.com/german/gcse/index.html www.modlangs.co.uk www.frenchrevision.co.uk www.studyspanish.com
It is very important to have a bilingual dictionary (pocket size is sufficient) and to bring this to every lesson.