Intent - The vision
MFL forms part of the National Curriculum at Key Stage 2. The purpose of learning a language in primary education is to open a window onto other countries and cultures, to enable children to communicate for practical purposes in a foreign language and to provide the foundation for further language learning at KS3. The teaching will provide an appropriate balance of speaking, listening, reading and writing in the foreign language, as well as the opportunity to learn about different customs, places and events, e.g. the Tour de France. At Holy Trinity Pewley Down, the focus is on French in Years 3, 4 and 5. In Year 6, the children have a final term of French teaching, followed by a term of Spanish and a term of German. This gives the older children the chance to compare the different languages, reflect on the processes of learning a language and prepare for different languages at secondary school.
Implementation - How we achieve our goal
The children start by learning greetings and introductions. The topics include numbers up to twenty, days of the week, months of the year, birthdays, where they live, colours and describing their family. They also learn some parts of the body and describe their family members, e.g. blue eyes, black hair. The children listen and respond to some well-known stories told in French (including The Enormous Turnip and The Very Hungry Caterpillar), play games and sing songs to help build familiarity with new vocabulary. The emphasis is on speaking and listening and providing a simple introduction to some key elements of the French language (gender, for example).
We learn about different modes of transport and how we travel to school. We also look at the countries around the world where French is spoken. Other topics include toys, the weather, sports and hobbies. The children will learn some food items and say what they like or don’t like. They will also try their hand at simple written translation from French into English. We listen to some musical extracts from the Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saëns and learn the words for the animals and their habitats, as well as some adjectives to describe them. Listening to a well-known story in French (Goldilocks and the Three Bears) leads us into a topic describing our homes. We also spend a lesson exploring Paris and another looking at the geography of France.
The children learn all about places in a town, as well as listening to and giving directions. We revisit the weather and have a go at listening to a real weather forecast and making up our own. In the spring term, French intertwines with the topic of the planets, as the children learn to describe the planets, writing their own sentences incorporating adjectives. We focus next on foods and expressing likes and dislikes. In the summer term, we return to the town and explore the different kinds of shops you would find in a French town, and then learn how to ask for items in a shop and how to ask for the price. The children will also learn how to use a bilingual dictionary. We look at clothes and combine this topic with colours to describe what we would pack in our suitcase for a holiday. The year finishes by learning how to ask for icecreams (and tasting them!).
We start off Year 6 with a final term of French. We look at French schools and the ways in which they differ from British schools, and learn the vocabulary for the different areas in the school as well as the subjects studied. The children spend a couple of weeks on a research project to discover a region of France, feeding back to the class to take notes and prepare for a general quiz on France the following week.
In the spring term, we switch to Spanish and, as well as learning a little about Spain itself, we learn the basics of greetings and introductions, numbers and talking about our families, We taste some churros and learn how to order in a restaurant. We also consider the similarities between Spanish and French.
In the summer term, we move to Germany. Again, we learn a little about the country and cover the basics of greetings and introductions, numbers and talking about our families. We enjoy a German food tasting session and learn how to order in a restaurant.
Year 6 finishes with a look at the skills needed to learn a language and some top tips for continuing language learning at secondary school.
Impact - How do we know our vision has come to fruition?
By the end of their time at HTPD, the children have grown in confidence in their language lessons. They have learnt some key vocabulary and are able to understand and join in with simple conversations. Their foreign language lessons also support much of their understanding of English grammar by constructing sentences in French, Spanish and German. They are well-placed to continue language learning at their next stage of education - with our secondary school colleagues commenting on how ready the children are to flourish in Year 7. Parents also describe how happy the children are to experiment with speaking a foreign language when on holidays overseas.