Modern Foreign Languages
“With languages, you are at home anywhere.”
- Edward De Waal
Learning a foreign language is a liberation from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures. A high-quality languages education should foster pupils’ curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world. The teaching should enable pupils to express their ideas and thoughts in another language and to understand and respond to its speakers, both in speech and in writing. It should also provide opportunities for them to communicate for practical purposes, learn new ways of thinking and read great literature in the original language. Language teaching should provide the foundation for learning further languages, equipping pupils to study and work in other countries.
The national curriculum for languages aims to ensure that all pupils:
understand and respond to spoken and written language from a variety of authentic sources
speak with increasing confidence, fluency and spontaneity, finding ways of communicating what they want to say, including through discussion and asking questions, and continually improving the accuracy of their pronunciation and intonation
can write at varying length, for different purposes and audiences, using the variety of grammatical structures that they have learnt
discover and develop an appreciation of a range of writing in the language studied
At St Michael’s MFL is taught in KS2 to widen the children’s knowledge and understanding of the Spanish culture and language. We want the children who leave us to have a clear understanding of basic pronunciation, how the genders have influenced the language grammatically and be able to have a simple conversation and ask for things. It helps them to develop communication skills including key skills of speaking and listening and extends their knowledge of how language works. Learning another language gives the children a new perspective on the world encouraging them to understand their own cultures and those of others.
There is a statutory requirement for children in KS2 to learn a foreign language. Spanish is taught weekly across KS2 following a termly overview. This is supported by weekly plans, which use PowerPoints, videos and activities with information from a variety of websites like BBC bite size. Songs and videos are incorporated into lessons to help children with their pronunciation and accent. Themed and immersive days are organised to learn more about the Spanish culture and the country itself.
Spanish at a primary level focuses more on pronunciation and having verbal conversations rather than written grammar and spelling. The planning caters to all learning styles and abilities, coupled with tailoring varied expectations and outcomes from the class teachers makes Spanish an inclusive for all children.
Children at St Michael’s are encouraged to understand the relevance of what they are learning in languages and how it relates to everyday life, work and travel. It is emphasised how the language could help them in another country or to talk to a Spanish speaker, both now and in their future careers.
Teachers foster an enjoyment of languages through a variety of lessons including interactive, singing and outdoor sessions. Progression through a topic should be evident in the development of key skills and acquisition of main vocabulary. Evidence is kept of children’s work in books/knowledge organisers as well as videos and voice recordings of children speaking Spanish, focusing on pronunciation and accent in LKS2 and building to conversations in UKS2.
Spanish is monitored by the subject leader throughout all year groups in Key Stage 2 using a variety of strategies such as book scrutinises, lesson observations, staff discussions and pupil conferencing. Feedback is then given to teachers at staff meetings.