Welcome to the Modern Foreign Languages Department
General Aims and Objectives
Our aim is to create confident language learners with language learning skills and insights into language learning. We aim to develop an interest in, and an enthusiasm for, language learning. Additionally, we want our students to be tolerant citizens of a global environment who understand and appreciate ideas of differences and similarities in cultures.
To this end, pupils do not just build vocabulary, but grasp concepts. They develop an understanding of how language works so that they can use it in new contexts to express their own ideas. Pupils are encouraged to be curious, make connections, spot patterns, ask questions and be creative. Knowledge of grammar supports their learning and maximises the range and quality of the language which they can understand and produce.
Progression is carefully planned, moving from passive to active use of the language and from highly structured to more open ended or creative tasks. The approach is communicative; language is used naturally for the purpose of understanding others and expressing oneself. We aim to create a challenging yet supportive learning environment so that each student can achieve her best. By using a variety of stimulating activities, we aim for students to enjoy their lessons. Through the sharing of lesson objectives and the discussion of outcomes, the students are encouraged to become active learners, share responsibility for their progress and gain a real sense of achievement.
The Department is committed to ensuring that all language learners are supported in their learning, and are appropriately stretched and challenged. The Department is committed to the principles of Assessment for Learning, and we encourage our students, as far as possible, to become independent learners.
What will Students Study?
All pupils learn French for at least 3 years, starting in Year 7. All start German in Year 8 and continue with the language for at least 2 years. At the end of Year 9, the girls decide which of the two languages to take to GCSE. They all continue with at least one language, and about 25 girls each year opt to take both French and German. There is also the opportunity to take up Spanish in Year 10 and complete the GCSE course in two years.
What Equipment will students need?
We recommend that all KS3 and KS4 pupils have a pocket bilingual dictionary for each of the languages they are learning. These are very useful for homework, and it is not necessary for the girls to bring them into school. Textbooks are provided by the school. It is helpful if students have access to a computer at home or in a local library in order to make use of our recommended internet sites for independent learning, as well as the virtual learning platform, Fronter.
Along with ensuring that dedicated and appropriate textbooks are available for our learners, we also offer students additional practice through internet websites such as Kerboodle and Vocabexpress. Students participate in the Vocabexpress National Championship each year.
We value the importance of visiting the countries where the language is spoken in order to increase cultural understanding, comprehension skills and oral competency. The Departmentâ€™s commitment to organizing these experiences for students is exceptional, and great care is taken to ensure that the visits undertaken are appropriate to the age of the participating students.
Year 8 - Day Trip to France
Part of the day is spent in Nausicaa, the national Sea Centre in Boulogne. The living exhibits and the excellent displays about environmental issues give the girls a unique insight into the riches of the seas and the threats facing them. The girls very much enjoy the experience, and they increase their understanding of aspects of Geography and Biology as well as French. The other part of the day is spent in the small town of St. Omer, where the girls use their French to go shopping, visit a cafÃ© and complete questionnaires. A work-related learning task is also included within this trip.
Year 9 - Ski Trip to Austria
The ski trip is organised by the PE department with help from MFL. As well as learning to ski, the girls have the opportunity to speak German and experience life in an Austrian village. A visit to a local school, Mass in the village church, shopping and a trip to Klagenfurt, the capital of Carinthia, all afford opportunities for the girls to use their German.
Year 10 - Three Trips Abroad
The Department organises three trips abroad for Year 10 students â€“ Homestay Visits to France and Germany and the Day Trip to Spain. In France, the girls stay for six nights with families in the provincial town of Angers. Each day the group undertakes excursions to places of interest, including Futuroscope, the Cointreau factory, the National Equestrian School in Saumur, and Angers Castle with its beautiful tapestry. In Germany, the girls stay for six nights with families in the beautiful town of Augsburg and visit places of interest in the surrounding area. These include Neuschwanstein Castle, the city of Munich, Lake Chiemsee and the palace of Herrenchiemsee, and also the Bayern Munich football stadium. Activities include bowling, swimming and ice-skating. Staying with a family is an excellent way to become immersed in the culture and language of the country, and the students really benefit from this experience in terms of their linguistic and social development. Spanish students visit the cultural town of Bilbao, experiencing the modern transport network and visiting the landmarks of this Spanish port such as the Guggenheim Museum, the covered market and Calatravaâ€™s famous bridge.
Key Stage Three
We follow the National Curriculum in KS3, ensuring that students develop an awareness of structure and grammar, whilst also enjoying their language learning experience through, for example, conversation and song.
All pupils learn French for at least 3 years, starting in Year 7. All start German in Year 8 and continue with the language for at least 2 years. At the end of Year 9, the girls decide which of the two languages to take to GCSE.
Key Stage Four
Course Content - What will I study?
You will build on what you have learned in KS3 and develop your language skills in the contexts of Lifestyle, Leisure, Home and Environment, and Work and Education. You will increase your understanding of spoken and written French/German and also the ability to communicate effectively, giving information and opinions. You will develop your understanding of the grammar and your ability to apply the rules accurately. In addition you will gain insight into the culture of countries where the language is spoken.
NB: GCSE Spanish is a twilight course and will be taught one afternoon a week from 3:15 to 5:15 pm. Students following the twilight course will have to be highly committed, motivated and have a good aptitude for language. This is an extra GCSE and it will be at the discretion of the department if students are accepted on this course
How will my progress be tested and examined?
During the course, you will be able to monitor your progress through regular opportunities for assessment and self-assessment in all skills.
The course is made up of the following units:
- Reading - Examination - 20% of GCSE Qualification.
- Listening - Examination - 20% of GCSE Qualification.
- Speaking - Controlled Assessment - 30% of GCSE Qualification.
- Qualification Writing - Controlled Assessment - 30% of the GCSE Qualification.
Progression - How will the study of Modern Foreign Languages benefit students’ future education and career?
The ability to use one or more foreign languages for practical communication is a great asset in many careers and a real advantage in the job market.