“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.” (Frank Smith). Our French North Star is for children to develop a love of languages through our teaching. We want them to learn about cultures other than their own so that they develop their understanding of the world they are growing up in. We want to teach our children the skills to interact with French speakers and to develop their conversational skills so that they are able to do so confidently and with ease. Specifically, we want children to be able to communicate for practical means and make substantial progress in both spoken and written French. We want to give our children access to a variety of authentic language sources to give them the best opportunities to broaden their vocabulary and develop their pronunciation and intonation.
At Ashfield, French is taught in a timetabled weekly session and lessons are planned with a clear progression across each year group. As we do not have any French specialist teachers at Ashfield, we use a scheme of work (Language Angels) to teach French. Using Language Angels ensures teaching of the key skills and knowledge, and confirms full coverage of the National Curriculum.
Our French curriculum covers the four aspects of language learning (reading, writing, speaking and listening). It has been carefully planned to ensure that children have sound knowledge of topic – related vocabulary, grammar and immersion in French culture and traditions. Language learning is connected to cultural ways and traditions. For this reason, cultural learning plays an essential role in French lessons in every year group at Ashfield.
Each year group will have six units of work with opportunities for cultural and traditional immersion through classroom learning and/or enrichment activities each year. A complete immersion involves correct pronunciation, therefore there is also a phonics element embedded in the learning for each year group. Every year group will be allocated a set of phonic sounds (related to the vocabulary) to learn and build upon.
As a junior school we take into account that this is the first experience of MFL learning for our pupils. Bearing this in mind, although we use Language Angels, we have adapted the curriculum to meet the needs of our children, and adapted the sequence of learning to incorporate recaps and revisits of some units (to strengthen children’s uptake of knowledge and skills, thus boosting their confidence).
There is a clear progression of learning in each year group. Children in Year 3 will begin the year by introduction to France (location, food and traditions) and Francophone countries, as their main cultural learning. This has been selected as it links with our Geography topic, in which children learn about France. Learning to pronounce the names of cities in France will give children a positive and authentic perspective to their learning. Children will also learn salutations and how to introduce themselves and their family. In addition, they will gain key vocabulary around dates (numbers), seasons and the weather.
In Year 4, seasons (learned in Year 3) will be revisited as a link to the new learning around clothes. The colours learning (learned in year 3) will be further enhanced through learning about animals and pets. The next topic will be centred around traditional foods and cafes in France. The children will enjoy an afternoon where they will serve some French foods to their parents and will use the learned vocabulary. Further cultural links include learning about the history of Bastille Day celebrations during the summer term.
Learning in Year 5 further builds on vocabulary and grammatical structures and provides opportunities for children to write well-built sentences with scaffolding through numerous resources as appropriate. Topics include musical instruments names and the phrase I can to build sentences about instruments they can play. This will be enriched by learning about authentic French music from the different regions of France. Children will also be exposed to Le poisson d’Avril (cultural learning) in the Spring Term and have an opportunity to play this game. This will link in with PSHCE learning about understanding the joke and learning when to stop it. Year 5 children will learn more about the family and be able to talk in grammatically well-structured sentences about extended family members and their homes (chez- moi). There will be some focussed learning linked to this with the irregular verb avoir and a brief introduction to classroom instructions and objects (where sentences can be built using their knowledge of avoir).
After the exposure in Year 5 to classroom objects, children will be able to link their knowledge to new – topic related vocabulary around school life and subjects, in Year 6. This will lead into the topic of le weekend where children will use their learning to talk their opinions of leisure activities. There will a brief recap of self – presentation (speaking only) to strengthen their pronunciation and use of grammatical structures. Here the use of the verb etre (to be) will be important, so children will learn this second irregular verb. There will be a further emphasis on writing structurally- correct sentences using scaffolds where necessary. As part of exposure to culture there will be a lesson on French Artist Henri Matisse. Children will be provided with an opportunity to create a piece of Art in his style.
Our French lessons will include:
- A progression of French knowledge
- A clear sequence of learning for each unit
- Specific topic – related vocabulary for units of work and year group
- Exposure to various cultural aspects
- Develop French vocabulary and grammatical structures
- Provide opportunities to reflect and build on prior learning
- Challenged to think about similarities and differences and the importance of acceptance of others
- Make links with other subjects in the curriculum
- Differentiated activities or support (e.g., word maps, enlarged maps, iPad and technology etc) for children with SEND
- Children will explain the value of learning another language
- Children can discuss the key vocabulary taught
- Children will show an appreciation of French culture and identify similarities and differences with the British culture
- Children showing confidence and willing to participate in French lessons
- Children recalling key vocabulary and speaking with increasing confidence
- Children reading simple words and phrases in French
- Children writing simple sentences and phrases in French
Our children will be successful and engaged in lessons because:
- Teachers use assessment for learning in lessons and ‘Language Angels’ to enhance learning
- Teachers build on a progression of skills and knowledge from the previous year
- Teachers make links and connections with prior learning in French and in other curriculum subjects
- Teachers scaffold activities, model key vocabulary in French
- Teachers organise activities with our linked French schools throughout the year which enable children to read and/or write in French for a purpose and learn more about French culture