FRENCH AT ST LUKE'S
What do we want to achieve?
Rationale: At St Luke’s 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.
Ambition: The intention of our French curriculum is to develop and further enhance an interest in and thirst for learning other languages. We aim to introduce the learning of the French language and the understanding of its culture in enjoyable and stimulating ways. We hope to build children’s confidence in the essential skills of speaking and listening, reading and writing in tandem with key phonetic and grammatical knowledge. Learning is delivered through progressive units of study based on topics of interest providing opportunities to use and apply a growing bank of vocabulary. We aim to build the children’s ‘culture capital’ so that they are aware of similarities and differences between cultures. In short, we hope to lay the foundations for future language learning.
What does French look like at St Luke's?
At our school, the children receive weekly lessons lasting around 30 minutes which are taught by a specialist language teacher. We have created a bespoke scheme of work to deliver our French lessons and use Language Angels to further enhance our curriculum.
Fundamental aspects of foreign language learning are a focus on phonics, vocabulary and grammar. These three areas of learning are described as the pillars of progression. It is the interlinking of these three pillars that allow children to produce and understand language structures that gradually become more complex. Therefore, we have developed a curriculum which explicitly teaches grammar, phoneme-grapheme correspondence and a lexicon in order for children to become more proficient in using and understanding French. Our goal is for children to broaden their horizons, converse fluently with others, fully explore cultures and strengthen their economic prospects by building firm foundations of language learning. Each year group will explore a set of grapheme-phoneme correspondence which directly links to the termly vocabulary.
With time and practice, knowledge of phonics, grammar and vocabulary becomes more automatised and children will begin to understand longer pieces of written text and discourse. Our aim is for children to access a wider range of meanings across a range of contexts. We use a wide variety of multi-modal resources that help ensure children of all learning styles are included and engaged so that they know more, remember more and understand more. The main focus within LKS2 is developing children's speaking and listening skills through song, rhyme, short dialogues and through enjoyment of familiar stories. In UKS2, children have opportunities to develop short pieces of writing to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding at the end of a unit of work.
How have we adapted learning following a pandemic?
Throughout school closures, we endeavoured to provide continuity in French provision by providing weekly Zoom sessions across KS2. During the subsequent 2020-2021 academic year, the challenges for language practitioners were many and we recognise that learning will have been lost due to the pandemic. Due to this, we have re-taught the summer term topic to Years 4, 5 and 6 from the previous year to try and prevent substantial gaps from forming.
Since the start of the new academic year in September 2021, our aim has been to renew pupils’ enthusiasm for learning French. Whilst covid restrictions were in place, children were unable to learn French through the means of singing. Repetitive patterns in song lyrics help pupils memorise words and expressions much more effectively than via speaking practice alone. Through music, we hope to build pupils’ vocabulary hoard.
Equally, we have also reintroduced collaborative group work into our sessions. This gives children the opportunity to discuss their ideas with others and participate in activities where they can learn from their peers.
How can I support my child's learning?
Children can access the Language Angels Home School site which will enable pupils to continue their foreign language learning journey whilst they are at home. Every child has been provided with login details to access this site.
Have a look on Twitter at the fantastic French work going on at St Luke's: #Stlukesburywidercurriculum