In MFL at Ashlyns we aim to broaden horizons and build intercultural understanding. 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 this cultural capital through 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 is a lifelong skill and contributes to a mutual understanding, a sense of global citizenship and personal fulfilment. Students learn to appreciate different cultures and, in doing so, gain a new perspective on their own. We aim to implement an inclusive language policy to improve social equity in language 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 aim at KS3 is to introduce students to different languages and cultures and to lay the foundations for the new linear GCSE examination should they wish to take a language as one of their option subjects. We cover all the core skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing as well as translation whilst also learning cultural aspects about the hispanic world. We study aspects from Latin America as well as Spain. Learning a language instils confidence in students and gives other, often overlooked benefits, such as improving memory and decision making skills.
The students consolidate any previous learning from their primary school and make the first steps toward becoming independent language learners by studying the following topics:
Personal Information: Giving Information and descriptions about themselves, family, friends and pets.
Leisure: Talking about sports and leisure activities with opinions.
Clothes: Talking about clothes, personal style and the weather.
Culture: such as the Hispanic world, Christmas and Easter.
Students move towards giving and justifying more detailed opinions as well as consolidating the foundations built in Year 7.
Schools: Talking about school, time, rules, subjects with opinions as well as places in the school.
Town and Leisure: Talking about sport and leisure activities and what you can do in your town.
Home and food: Talking about your home, where you live and food.Culture: Hispanic Food and ordering in a restaurant
This is an engaging and demanding year for our students as they perfect the foundation skills that they will require for the GCSE course.
Holidays: Where you go, how you travel, who with and what you do on holiday.
Morning and evening routines and Family, friends and relationships: Morning and evening routines with some reflexive verbs. Talking about the relationships with parents and family members.
The world of fashion: Clothes and shops. The differences in shopping between Spain and the UK.
Key Stage 4
In KS4, we build on the core skills of reading, listening, speaking and writing in Spanish that they were introduced to at KS3. Students embark upon three themes of study at GCSE and follow the AQA specification: identity and culture (family, technology, free-time, customs and festivals); local, national, international and global areas of interest (home and local area, social issues, global issues); current and future study and employment (school, education post-16, career choices and ambitions). Students are required to have a good level of understanding and must be able to offer opinions and relate back to their own experiences in these areas.
Key Stage 5
As one would expect, in KS5 our students quickly notice an improved ability to communicate in Spanish as they work towards a more fluent command of the language, however there is so much more to learning a language. Our students explore history, politics, music and social issues and trends in Spain and Latin America as we move through the Edexcel specification and explore four main themes of study: the evolution of Spanish society; the political and artistic culture in the Spanish-speaking world; immigration and multicultural Spanish society; the Franco dictatorship and the transition to democracy. In addition to these topics, students also study a literary text, La Casa de Bernarda Alba by Federico García Lorca, and a film, El Laberinto del Fauno by Guillermo del Toro. 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 and watching interviews with prominent figures from the Hispanic world.
Learning a language is a never-ending process. We are proud of the fact that many of our students decide to continue with their Spanish studies long after they leave Ashlyns, whether it is through travel, further study at university or incorporating it into their career choices. Our students tell us that the skills and qualifications that they gain from learning Spanish with us are incredibly important in helping them to succeed in their next steps.
Learning Beyond the Classroom
Our aim is to get our students enthused about learning another language and about different cultures. We offer a range of opportunities to awaken their interests and take their learning beyond the classroom.
- Language Leaders: a group of KS3 students prepare and deliver lessons and activities to students in our partner primary schools. We help build our Language Leaders’ confidence by teaching them how to lead using language teaching as a medium. Our students benefit hugely from this as it gives them a purpose and context for their language skills whilst improving their evaluative and analytical skills as well as improving their personal attainment in a foreign language.
- Films: We study different films within the curriculum and we adapt these yearly depending on the curriculum and students’ interests. We hold movie nights for our KS3 students in order to deepen their intercultural understanding and promote the value of languages. The films introduce students to a more natural form of the language with authentic vocabulary and slang.
- Trips: We organise a KS4 trip to Spain that allows students to discover Spanish culture as well as putting into application all the different skills they have developed at KS3 and KS4 (listening, writing, reading and speaking).
- Language Assistants: students practise their speaking skills and learn about the society and culture from a native speaker in small groups