Modern Foreign Languages
Opening Doors to the World
The world is changing fast. Travel is easier and cheaper than ever before, international trade is fast becoming essential for many companies, and global events continue move at an ever-quickening pace. For many young people around the world, it would be unthinkable to only speak one language, and in employers’ eyes, an awareness of another language is moving from the desirable to the essential in their search for new recruits. While it may be the case that English is already a very strong language in global terms, the opportunities that can arise and the doors that can open for multi-lingual employees and students are many. Just as important is the enjoyment, satisfaction and sense of challenge gained from learning about other cultures, cracking the codes of meaning and being able to express yourself and widen your horizons at the same time.
As well as equipping students with a language “toolkit” of strategies for creating the language itself, we try, as far as possible, to help students to learn French and Japanese within challenging and engaging contexts. To help pronunciation, students learn how to read British Airways announcements, for example, and students learn through project briefs including creating and marketing a music act, promoting Deptford as an Olympic destination and designing travel itineraries for visiting tour groups. Wherever possible, we enhance the classroom learning with visits overseas or within the UK to help the students learn through experience and create their own context for language development. We deliver this at both Key Stages through the teaching of French and Japanese, two immensely important world languages that contrast and complement each other well in terms of cultural and linguistic diversity, and allow our learners to succeed within the framework of their own personal strengths and interests. Within this, all students are encouraged to make progress in their own way and we have a variety of assessment pathways that allow this, giving clear recognition to a candidate’s particular learning strengths, while at the same time highlighting areas for development and consolidation.
Key Stage 3
Students have two hours of languages per week.
Students who have never studied languages before are introduced to key learning methods, and those with some prior experience have the opportunity to develop their learning even further. Students are taught using the “Expo 1” course, and learning can be further supported through ICT methods, including Linguascope and SAM learning, for both of which students are provided with usernames and passwords to encourage self-study and independent learning, both in school and at home. Students are assessed through formal, as well as continuous, assessment.
Students have two hours of E Learning (MFL and ICT) per week.
Students continue with the Expo course into Year 8, building on the knowledge, skills and experiences they have developed in Year 7. However, for two hours per week, the Languages and ICT Departments join forces to teach both subjects through a programme of innovative projects, designed to develop team-working skills, independent learning, time management, as well as the subject specific content for ICT and French. Among the challenges are the launch of a French-speaking music act onto the market, creating a music video, and a marketing project to promote Deptford and the surrounding area to French-speaking visitors as places to stay, eat and shop during the Olympic Games. Students are assessed on their team performance, as well as on their individual merits.
Students have one hour of languages per week.
Students complete their introduction to French during the autumn term and, following on from project-based learning of Year 8, attainment is measured in a similar way. Students are introduced to aspects of the language that prepare them for GCSE, and themes such as relationships and fashion are covered. In the second part of the year, students undertake an introductory course in Japanese. Japanese gives the opportunity to try something completely different that offers a slightly different set of challenges to French, and can be picked up quickly by many learners.
Key Stage 4
Students build on the basics of French learned in Key Stage 3 at the start of Year 10 to make sure that their language skills are absolutely solid, then they build their learning to develop a deeper understanding of French. The course is divided into the core areas of Personal Information, Customer Services and Transactions, Out and About, and Future Plans, Education and Work to develop a broad base of language learning and a platform for further study and travel. Residential trips to France are planned each year to support the learning of students and to enhance their experience.
Japanese is a very challenging but rewarding course that helps students to learn a language that they haven’t studied before. Their three years of French study will have equipped them with some of the skills for successful language learning and they can build upon those as they learn Japanese.
How to support language learning at home
It can be difficult to assist your child in learning a language, especially if you do not speak the language being taught. Nevertheless, there is a variety of simple things that could be done at home in order to maximise progress and ensure that your child develops strong language learning skills for their future.
- Help your child make time to practice. Learning a language is like learning to play an instrument. There needs to be time to practice. There is a variety of free online resources; of these www.languagesonline.org.uk is highly recommended to help students consolidate their use of grammar.
Additionally, the following apps also have websites to support your child:
Other paying options described on:
- Have your child teach you to say something in the language every day. Explaining is learning. Let your child laugh at your mangled pronunciation - and correct you.
- Provide videos, books and music in the language. Ask the teacher for suggestions before you buy to make sure the resources are geared toward a young learner rather than an adult business traveler. Apps such as “news is slow French” and websites such as “coffee break French” are excellent.
Other options presented on: http://www.fluentu.com/french/blog/french-podcasts/
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me, Miss von Pfefer: email@example.com
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