Why do we teach French?
At St Silas Primary school, we have taken the decision to teach French to key stage 2 as our modern foreign language. Although many of our children are multilingual, we took the decision that the children should learn a modern European language and French was the subject that our staff had the most knowledge of. A number of our staff have taken part in an immersive French course and we have been supported by a French consultant who helped us to introduce the Catherine Cheater Scheme of Work. We use the Sunflower languages lessons beginning in Year 3, as these have high quality resources and engaging activities.
The reason we teach French is that:
- the learning of a language provides a valuable educational, social and cultural experience for our pupils.
- it helps them to develop communication skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing, with an aim of making substantial progress in one language.
- children’s knowledge of how language works will be developed to lay the foundations for further language learning in future.
- learning another language will give children a new and broader perspective on the world, encouraging them to understand their own cultures and those of others, which feeds into our focus on global learning.
- it fosters an interest in learning other languages
- it introduces young children to another language in a way that is enjoyable and fun stimulate and encourage children’s curiosity about language
- it develops their speaking and listening skills
- it lay the foundations for future study
- extends language teaching beyond mother tongue learning
How do we teach French?
Our MFL scheme of work takes account of prior learning in English and will consolidate and build on this work where appropriate. Children are encouraged to increase their knowledge of how the French language works and to explore differences and similarities between this new language and English or another language.
Pupils learn in many ways and to accommodate this, a variety of learning styles are used including songs, games, pictures, video and audio material, ICT etc. Pupils are encouraged to share their experiences of other languages and cultures, and find things out for themselves.
Pupils work individually, in pairs, small groups and in whole class situations according to the activity. Work is mainly oral, but an increasing number of reading and writing tasks are included as pupils continue through Key Stage 2.
On occasion, pupils are recorded on audio and video. A multi-sensory and kinaesthetic approach to teaching is used, i.e. a physical element is introduced into some of the games, rhymes and songs as this serves to reinforce memory. Lessons are as enjoyable as possible so that the children develop a positive attitude to the learning of Modern Foreign Languages. Children’s confidence is built through praise for any contribution they make, however tentative.
Our French curriculum is from the Catherine Cheater Scheme and is taught by a single teacher who teaches across all the classes in Key Stage 2. Each lesson builds on the last and each year builds on the previous year’s work.
As the children are taught by a single teacher the assessment in French is by teacher assessment. The children are assessed on their verbal knowledge in Years 3 and 4, and in Years 5 and 6 this is further enhanced by written activities.
Message from the Subject Leader
My name is Mr Hadwin and I teach French throughout Key Stage 2. I enjoy teaching French as throughout our lessons, I can see our children, who are usually at the very least bi-lingual, learning a new and exciting language. Additionally, teaching French gives all of our children the same starting point.
A number of years ago, St Silas Primary School was part of a French language project that was run by the British Council, which enabled some staff to take part in an immersive course, near Carcassonne in Southern France. I was fortunate enough to be selected to attend this and to see how learning French is not just about the language, but the French culture too. Furthermore, this experience showed how teaching using an immersive method can engender a love for a foreign language and can have a wider cultural impact on the learner.
At St Silas we take part in whole day events, these included French days where the emphasis for the entire day has been France, the French culture and the French language. Days such as these help our children to gain a wider understanding of the French culture, which is very different to our own. These occasions enable us to experience food and activities etc. that are inherently French for a more sustained period of time.
Support for Parents
Below you will find websites and resources that can be used to help the children in their French learning.
A straightforward translation tool, not only is it able to translate French to English and vice versa, it speaks the translated language too.
This website has some useful French skills and games to try.