In MFL at Ashlyns we aim to broaden horizons and build intercultural understanding for all our students. We strongly believe that every student should have the opportunity to acquire at least one foreign language and that students from all backgrounds should be exposed to the cultural capital through our curricular and extra curricular activities. Languages are part of the cultural richness and diversity of our society and the world in which we live and work. Learning languages contributes to a mutual understanding, a sense of global citizenship and personal fulfilment. Students learn to appreciate different countries and their cultures. By making comparisons they gain an insight of their own culture whilst understanding that communicating in another language is a lifelong skill.
We aim to develop and implement an inclusive language policy to improve social equity in languages education, closing gaps in participation and attainment. Our aim is that every child has the opportunity of international experience in class or overseas, through our cultural topics, language assistants or trips abroad. To ease the transition from primary schools, our KS3 language leaders visit primary schools to deliver fun and engaging lessons in French or Spanish.
Key Stage 3
Our aims at KS3 are to inspire a love of languages and an appreciation for different cultures. We want our students to become tolerant individuals who understand and appreciate ideas of differences and similarities in cultures and are aware of the advantages of being globally aware and culturally sensitive.
We aim to teach pupils the importance of being literate. 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 independently.
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 their potential. 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.
At KS3 the topics taught are those to which the students can relate personally. Relevant vocabulary, grammar structures and linguistic skills are practised in a manner which allows for a degree of challenge. As the students progress, the complexity of the language builds up steadily as does the confidence and resilience to deal with new ideas.
The students consolidate any previous learning as well making the first steps toward becoming independent language learners
Personal Information: Giving Information and descriptions about themselves, family and friends and pets
Lifestyle: Talking about clothes and personal style preferences
Local Area: Describing the town in which they live and describing the activities they can do in different places
A Movie Project based on reviewing an engaging film
Students start to move towards being able to give more detailed opinions and justify them
Holidays: Talking about usual and preferred holidays
Sport and Leisure: Talking about sports, leisure activities. Naming parts of the body and injuries
Routines: Talking about daily routine both at home and at school. Giving opinions about school subjects timetable
France and Other countries: Comparing aspects of French Modern culture and customs with British lifestyle. Researching a Francophone country
Entertainment and Advertising: Giving detailed opinions on TV programmes, music, films. Discussing Reading preferences
As the Year progresses, students hone their communicative skills through the acquisition and consolidation of new or previously learnt language and through grammar to further improve understanding and linguistic proficiency.
Food and Diet; Saying what they eat at mealtimes, giving opinions on food and drink. Discussing Healthy lifestyle options
Jobs and Ambitions: Talking about the personal qualities required for certain professions. Discussing ideal jobs and ambitions Talking about different types of dwelling, describing an ideal home,
Technology: Describing old and new technology, Identifying pros and cons of new technologies
Home: Talking about different types of dwelling. Describing current home and ideal home
Key Stage 4
French GCSE is taught by French specialists and some native speakers. Students are also given the opportunity to practise their speaking skills and get a better understanding of the French culture through small group discussions with a Native French Language Assistant.
We deliver the AQA specification and continue to build on the knowledge and skills from KS3. The transition is smooth and students start the course with KS3 topics that are developed further. The GCSE course gives students a wide range of topics to be able to communicate on relevant topics in French, such as their world, the environment, the social issues and future plans and careers. Throughout all Key Stages we aim to develop all four skills equally: reading, writing, listening and speaking. These skills are built into all our lessons and give students lifelong transferable skills.
Students are given opportunities of a trip France where they are completely immersed in the French language and culture.
Key Stage 5
Despite the national decline in the uptake of languages at A Level, French remains a popular choice at Ashlyns and students often pursue the study at University, having developed the love of languages, the intellectual curiosity and realised the impact of cultural understanding of the world.
The course is varied and explores the changing society in the French-speaking countries through family structures, music, media, festivals and traditions. A Level course offers a breadth of resources and themes to students and we study a film Les Intouchables in Year 12 and a novel No et Moi in Year 13. Students analytically and critically analyse the cinematographic/literature elements as well as themes and characters.
In the second year, students explore in detail the history of immigration, racism and extreme right movements. Students gather a better understanding of the colonial past, learn how this has impacted and shaped the world we live in. We study this through a range of texts and a movie La Haine that enables students to get a real feel for the lives of young people who might be second or third-generation immigrants. This unit requires students to keep up with the current news in France and understand the French political system. During the second year, we also explore France under the Occupation and the Vichy Regime. Students learn to look at world events from various angles and gather a better cultural perspective and understanding.
Our students are motivated, independent, and curious learners who complement what they do in the classroom by engaging with a wide variety of media – reading news and magazine articles, listening to podcasts or simply watching a series in French on Netflix.
Learning Beyond the Classroom
Languages are a practical subject that is everywhere beyond the classroom. We like to encourage our students to broaden their horizons and gather a better understanding of other cultures. We explore music, theatre and cinema in class through our curriculum and guide students to explore those in more depth in their own time. Depending on the interest of our students, we schedule additional viewing opportunities outside of lesson in school or outside. These can include trips to local theatres or cinemas.
We have also been running successful trips to France and Spain for the last fourteen years.
At Ashlyns, we believe that the development of students’ love of learning is of central importance in our curriculum. In order to give students every opportunity to develop this, we have developed a Challenge Curriculum which provides the opportunity for students to enhance their learning across the subjects. The activities contained within the Challenge Curriculum are for students to undertake independently, and take lots of forms, including watching films or clips, visiting museums, conducting independent research, listening to podcasts, and watching lectures online. They are by no means exhaustive, and we encourage all activities that enable students to engage with subjects beyond the classroom and further their learning. Students should let their teachers know which activities they have completed, and are able to earn merits for doing so.