Modern Foreign Languages Teaching Staff
- Ms. K. Trott: Curriculum Leader
- Ms. C McNee
Why Modern Foreign Languages is Important
Modern Foreign Languages is a core subject in Key Stage 3. At Oak, students’ begin learning French in Year 7 and may opt at the end of Year 8 to study French or Spanish at Key Stage 4, leading to Pearson Edexcel GCSE in either French or Spanish.
There are many key benefits to be gained from learning a second language, which can have a substantial positive impact across the whole curriculum. Memory improvement and a longer attention span are just two of the known positive effects of speaking two or more languages. Speaking a foreign language improves the brain function by challenging it to recognise, negotiate meaning, and communicate in different language systems. This skill boosts the ability to negotiate meaning in other problem-solving tasks as well. Research shows that students who study foreign languages tend to score better on standardised tests than their monolingual peers, particularly in the categories of maths, reading, and vocabulary.
There are also lots of ways that speaking two or more languages can improve your employment prospects. The world is changing fast. More companies than ever are doing business in several – often dozens of – countries around the world and are looking to employ globally-minded people who can speak at least one foreign language. Even in small, local companies, the ability to speak a second language is a highly desirable skill. Employees who speak a second language also typically earn more – on average between 5 and 20 percent per hour more than the position’s base rate.
Teaching and Learning in Modern Foreign Languages
In Modern Foreign Languages, a wide range of teaching and learning approaches are used in order to engage students and stimulate their interest. A large part of lessons will take place in the target language, allowing students to develop their comprehension skills. Students will work individually, in pairs or in groups and will learn through songs, poems, role plays or prose. With an emphasis on achieving effective communication, students will start speaking from “Day 1” and quickly learn the skills required. Students will investigate French and Spanish culture and develop their understanding of how they differ from our own.
Homework gives students the opportunity to research specific cultural events, to extend their vocabulary learning or to demonstrate skills they have acquired in lessons.
Key Stage 3
In Years 7 and 8 students are introduced to the broad themes of the GCSE course – “Identity and Culture”; “International and Global Dimension”; “School”; “Local Area, Holidays and Travel” and “Work and Future Plans”. They will learn to describe, offer opinions, compare and contrast in the productive skills of Speaking and Writing, whilst developing their comprehension skills of written and spoken language.
Key Stage 4
At the end of Year 11, students will complete an exam in each of the four key skills of language learning – Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. All skills are equally-weighted and each contribute 25% towards a student’s final GCSE grade (9-1)
Students continue to develop the skills they have been introduced to at KS3 across the five themes. For Papers 2 and 4 (Speaking and Writing) they will focus on extending their ability to narrate in detail a series of events in the past, present and future with reference to others as well as themselves. They will be able to offer a wide range of opinions and justify them, using “compare and contrast” techniques to order their ideas effectively.
For Papers 1 and 3 (Listening and Reading , students will use authentic materials, including some short literary extracts in the target language, to develop their cultural understanding. They will also learn the skills required for effective translation from and into the target language.
Links to the GCSE specifications for Modern Foreign Languages can be found below: