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Modern Foreign Languages

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What is the Intent of our Languages curriculum?

In Languages lessons at Braunton Academy, we adhere to the principles of EPI (Extensive Processing Instruction), in which the second language is acquired through layers of focussed speaking and listening practice and regular retrieval tasks. Our department enables pupils to express themselves in another language and to understand and respond to its speakers. We teach our students a variety of transferable skills: to explain, describe and narrate events in multiple tenses; to offer opinions and empathise; to problem solve and analyse information; to discuss and debate global issues. 

We aim to foster pupils’ curiosity and understanding of the world, in turn creating skilled and confident linguists who have broad horizons and a global outlook. Furthermore, we try to instil a sense of the cultural relevance of language learning, since we feel that learning a foreign language is not only a lifelong skill but provides an invaluable insight into other cultures. The Braunton Academy MFL teaching also provides the foundation for learning further languages, equipping pupils to study and work in Europe and beyond. 

How do we deliver our curriculum?

Our curriculum follows the Conti methodology of EPI (Extensive Processing Instruction) at KS3 and the Edexcel GCSE course at KS4. Our spiral curriculum begins with students talking about themselves and their families in year 7 and then broadens to their surroundings in year 8 before opening to the wider world in year 9 – these themes are then revisited in KS4. Pupils acquire new language through repetition and modelling with a sharp focus on the core phonics of each language, a thread which can be traced throughout the curriculum. Our sentence builders reduce pupils’ cognitive load, and our retrieval tasks serve to develop students’ long-term memory. We use formative assessment in every lesson to check for understanding and deal with misconceptions both in terms of meaning and phonology. The implementation of our curriculum allows our students to: 
 

  • Listen to a variety of forms of spoken language to obtain information and respond appropriately and with confidence; 

  • Speak coherently and confidently with increasingly accurate pronunciation and intonation; 

  • Transcribe words and short sentences that they hear with increasing accuracy; 

  • Initiate and develop conversations coping with unfamiliar language and unexpected responses; 

  • Express and develop ideas clearly and with increasing accuracy, both orally and in writing; 

  • Read and show comprehension of original and adapted materials from a range of different sources, understanding the purpose, important ideas and details, and provide an accurate English translation of short, suitable material; 

  • Take part in extra-curricular activities such as residential excursions, speaking competitions and pen-pal schemes with a French partner school. 

  • Read literary texts in the language to stimulate ideas, develop creative expression, and expand understanding of the language and culture; 

  • Write prose using an increasingly wide range of grammar and vocabulary, write creatively to express their own ideas and opinions, and translate short written texts accurately into the target language. 

Y7s study either French or Spanish for 5 hours a fortnight which is then continued to the end of Yr9 when they make their options choices. This single language model is designed to increase the students’ fluency and confidence in their assigned language and increase their chances of success at GCSE. 

What is the impact of our curriculum? 
 

  • Students acquire the knowledge, skills and understanding in MFL to ensure that they enjoy and make good progress in their learning, and feel encouraged and inspired to continue studying MFL at a higher level; 

  • Formative and summative assessment allow us to track students’ progress and address misconceptions as and when required; 

  • Approximately 50% of our students will choose a language at GCSE each year – more than the national average; 

  • Outcomes at GCSE grades 4-9 and 7-9 are consistently above national average; 

What will students learn in Year 7? 

In Year 7, pupils build on the foundations of KS1 and KS2 language lessons by learning how to talk about themselves and their families in term 1. In term 2, they learn how to talk about their hobbies and free time activities. In term 3, pupils learn how to talk about their school day.  

Each of these topics develops the linguistic skills to allow students to ask for and give facts using the present tense; to give opinions and justify them and to use a range of connectives and intensifiers. 

The principle of EPI means a heavy focus on speaking and listening as pupils gain confidence in expressing themselves in the target language, with later retrieval practice focussing on reading and writing tasks as students move through the dialectic (We Do) phase and towards the rhetoric (You Do) phase of learning. 

What will students learn in Year 8?
 

In Year 8, pupils build on the skills and competencies developed in Year 7 by firstly learning how to talk about a trip they have been on, specifically relating to Paris. In term 2 they learn how to describe their daily routine and to talk about celebrations, be it a birthday, Ramadan, Diwali, Easter or Christmas. And in term 3, they learn how to talk about their local area and where they live.  

Each of these topics develops the linguistic skills to allow students to narrate events in the present and past tenses and give opinions using a greater range of connectives and adverbial phrases.  

Students in Year 8 improve their language ability in all 4 skill areas: listening; reading; speaking and writing and start to become more confident linguists.

What will students learn in Year 9? 
 

In Year 9, pupils build on the knowledge, skills and understanding acquired in Year 7 and Year 8 by firstly learning how to talk about the world of work and volunteering. In term 2 they learn how to talk about a past holiday including how to use comparatives in their descriptions. In term 3 they learn how to talk about the environment and global events, such as the Olympics or music festivals.  
 

Through each of these topics, pupils practise the skills that will prepare them for KS4 MFL lessons, such as: narrating events in 3 tenses (past, present and future/conditional); giving a range of opinions and justifying them; using adverbial phrase and more complex structures in order to add greater variety to their speaking and writing in the rhetoric phase. 

GCSE Course 
 

At GCSE level we follow the Pearson’s Edexcel 1-9 courses for both French and German. Pupils build on their knowledge and linguistic skills from KS3 by going into greater depth in year 10 so that their use and understanding of the key grammar points is thorough and consistent. Topics covered in year 10 and 11 include: Education and Employment, Free time and leisure, Family and relationships, Identity and culture, Holiday and travel and Global dimensions. The course is assessed by 100% examination at the end of year 11 with each of the 4 skills – Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing accounting for 25% of the overall grade. 

Homework and Independent Learning 
 

Homework is set weekly via Class Charts and is used to embed work done in the classroom. This will usually be vocabulary learning for a spelling/translation test or revision for an end of module assessment. The skill area being assessed will always be advised in advance. 

Extra-curricular and Enrichment Opportunities 
 

In order to extend the language learning opportunities of our pupils beyond the classroom, we offer a number of extra-curricular events. These include: KS3 trip to Paris or Barcelona, language speaking competitions, Gifted and Talented projects in which we visit local primary schools and a penfriend programme with a French school. We are also privileged to host a number of second language speaking pupils at Braunton Academy and each year enter pupils for a range of additional languages at GCSE. In the past few years these have included: Spanish, Polish, Italian, Russian, Mandarin and Arabic. 

Useful links 
 

We subscribe to  Language Gym - Home (language-gym.com)  to support language and vocabulary learning at beginners, intermediate and KS4 level. (see your teacher for the username and password) 

  

All pupils taking MFL at GCSE will also receive a 9-1 Edexcel revision workbook: www.pearsonactivelearn.com/register.asp 
 

Other useful websites and links include: 
 

Languagesonline.org 

BBC Bitesize 

Memrise.com 

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