Southborough C of E Primary School

Modern Foreign Languages

Aims and Objectives

“Learning a language enriches the curriculum. It provides excitement, enjoyment and challenge for children and teachers, helping to create enthusiastic learners and to develop positive attitudes to language learning throughout life. The natural links between languages and other areas of the curriculum can enhance the overall teaching and learning experience. The skills, knowledge and understanding gained can make a major contribution to the development of children’s oracy and literacy and to their understanding of their own culture/s and those of others.” The Key Stage 2 Framework for Languages (DfES 2005)

At Southborough C of E Primary School we believe that the learning of a foreign language provides a valuable educational, social and cultural experience for our pupils. 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 children a new perspective on the world, encouraging them to understand their own cultures and those of others.

Southborough provides age-appropriate Primary Languages learning opportunities for all children throughout the school. The focus language taught in our school is French from Year 3 to Year 5 and then Spanish in Year 6.  

The aims of Primary Languages teaching at Southborough are to:

  • foster an interest in language learning by introducing children to other languages in a way that is enjoyable and accessible to all pupils;
  • stimulate and encourage children’s curiosity about language and creativity in experimenting with it;
  • support oracy and literacy, and in particular develop speaking and listening skills;
  • help children develop their awareness of cultural similarities and differences;
  • lay the foundations for future language study by pupils;
  • provide an added perspective on first language teaching and learning;
  • give an extra dimension to teaching and learning across the curriculum.

Speaking and Listening

The children will learn to:

  • listen carefully and recognise sounds and combinations of sounds which are similar to, or different from, those of English;
  • understand and respond with increasing competence, accuracy and confidence in a range of situations;
  • join in songs, rhymes, raps and stories which enable them to practise the sounds of the language in an enjoyable and non-threatening way;
  • take part in conversations at an appropriate level, reacting to instructions and questions and expressing opinions and feelings;
  • memorise and recite short texts, and prepare and give a talk on a familiar subject confidently and with regard for the audience.

Reading and Writing

The children will learn to:

  • remember grapheme-phoneme correspondences and vocabulary directly taught and reinforced through word games and similar activities;
  • read stories and rhymes for enjoyment and to gain awareness of the structure of the written language;
  • read, copy and write independently familiar words and simple phrases in context e.g. classroom items, display labels, weather chart, date;
  • write sentences and short texts independently and from memory.

Intercultural understanding

The children will learn to:

  • describe the life of children in the countries where the language is spoken;
  • identify similarities and differences in everyday life, social conventions, traditional stories and celebrations;
  • recognise how symbols, products and objects can represent the culture of a country, and how aspects of the culture of different countries become incorporated in the daily life of others;
  • recognise and mistrust stereotypes, and understand and respect cultural diversity.

Teaching and Learning

At Southborough C of E Primary School we make learning French fun by singing songs, playing  games and hearing and reading stories. We use the EuroStars French programme and other online resources such as BBC Primary Languages and EducationCity to enhance teaching and learning. Children are taught specific skills, concepts and vocabulary in weekly lessons.

Assessment and Recording

French learning is recorded in children’s folders and should typically evidence all four stages (Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing). Children are aware of their targets and self-assess their learning as well the teachers. Year 6 children record their Spanish learning in exercise books.

Inclusion

Primary Languages teaching at Southborough C of E Primary School is fully inclusive. No child is excluded by reason of a learning difficulty, or because they have English as an additional language. Experience has indeed shown that such children can derive particular benefit from taking part in Primary Languages learning activities in which they may be less disadvantaged than in other areas of the curriculum.

Language learning activities are planned in such a way as to encourage the full and active participation of all pupils. Work is differentiated as appropriate to the needs of individual children. Pairs and groups for collaborative work may be made up in different ways, depending on the task.

Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and British Values

In learning about another language, it is necessary to be aware of “difference” in a positive way. To know that there are other ways to live and behave which are valid, despite not being the same as the one that the child knows at home. It gives an opportunity for insight and debate into why things are not always as one has grown up to believe, but arise from sociological differences. At the same time, recognising that there are certain basic, fundamental truths that are common to our humanity, such as the need for honesty, trust and mutual respect in order for us all to live together in harmony.

Collaborative work in Primary Languages develops mutual respect for the differing opinions, beliefs and abilities of others. In addition, children learn to appreciate the value of similarities and differences and learn to show tolerance. A variety of experiences teaches them to appreciate that all people – and their views – are equally important.

Primary Languages provides a basis for teaching and learning about other cultures, and this is incorporated into many areas of the curriculum including personal and social education and citizenship, geography, religious education, design and technology, music, art and dance. Efforts are made to ensure that teaching material across the curriculum includes a ‘flavour’ of the countries where the focus language is spoken.

The five fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith are interwoven into the teaching of Primary Languages, in particular how it relates to the intercultural understanding elements of the language  and culture and its similarities/differences to life in Britain.

Spanish in year 6 and our Cultural exchange visit to madrid

Our Spanish school links with Real Colegio Alfonso Xii in El Escorial and Parque de Lisboa in Alcorcon give us fantastic opportunities to introduce Spanish in Year 6. All pupils particpate in a pen pal scheme to help discover more about their Spanish peers and life in and around Madrid, together with putting their new found linguistic skills into practice. Spanish teaching and learning is delivered by our Spanish speaking specialist, Mrs Heller, who ensures that all children have conversational Spanish by the end of Year 6 and feel confident to read and write basic Spanish, not to mention making sure that they can confidently purchase their obligatory ice creams on the Spanish trip!

Year 6 pupils and staff fly to Madrid during the summer term. Pupils are not only  motivated by the opportunity to meet their pen pals and spend time with them but they also experience being immersed in the language and culture. These exchange visits and regular correspondence allow children to form a bond with their penpals in Spain, many of which continue long after pupils have left primary school.