Modern Foreign Languages
Our MFL department share the vision of internationally renowned psycholinguist Frank Smith: ‘One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.’
Based in the school’s Newton block, the department consists of three full time members of staff. Year 7 are taught in mixed ability groups, setting is applied in Y8 and Y9, and students return to small mixed ability groups at KS4. The department utilise the ‘wave model’ for their curriculum; in 2017-18, all new Year 7 students are studying French, and in 2018-19, all new Year 7s will study Spanish. At KS4, students can choose to continue studying the language they learnt at KS3.
In order to develop enthusiastic and talented linguists, our MFL teachers aim to immerse students in a foreign language. Lessons are delivered as much as possible in the target language, and students undergo an interactive experience where they get the chance to develop their own understanding of either French or Spanish through speaking, listening, reading and writing the language. Teachers stress the development of thinking skills, resilience, accuracy, and the development of communication and inter-personal skills. Students also develop an increased awareness of the customs and traditions of their target language countries.
In our MFL department, teachers are passionate about their subject and never fail to enthuse new linguists. Using authentic resources, students work independently, in pairs and in groups, and teachers match activities to learning preferences. Work is regularly self-, peer- and teacher assessed to reflect on progress and devise next steps to enable further improvements. The importance of the target language is stressed at all times; students are given opportunities to use their target language with both their teacher and their peers to develop their linguistic competence and confidence.
Of course, visits to both France and Spain are important in allowing our students to experience their target language in action. Many students have benefited from overseas visits to see and hear French and Spanish being spoken by native speakers and to learn more about culture and tradition in these countries.
Useful web links:
Quotations from our students:
‘I enjoy Spanish because it’s different to what I usually do in other lessons’
‘I enjoy learning languages as I get to learn new things every day’
‘ My favourite thing is that I like learning languages that could help me in the future’
Examples of student work:
Year 8 – The Hungry Caterpillar in Spanish