At Hampden Gurney we teach foreign languages to both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 as part of the normal school curriculum. Although not statutory, we have extended our MFL offering to Key Stage 1 for several reasons.
Firstly, we believe that many children enjoy learning a language. Secondly, we also believe that the earlier a child is exposed to a foreign language, the faster the language in question is acquired. We also believe that it is a good idea to introduce languages in Key Stage 1 because the focus will be on learning through song, dance and physical movement.
This will provide children with a foundation of learning and enjoyment before language learning is formally taught. It is also widely believed that the early acquisition of language learning facilitates the learning of other languages later in life. Learning language enables our children to become international citizens who are linguistically equipped and culturally aware in a rapidly changing world.
We aim to ensure that language skills are developed and used across the whole curriculum and to promote the personal development of every child by providing them with an equal opportunity to develop their skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing. In particular we aim to:
We use a variety of techniques to encourage the children to have an active engagement in modern foreign languages. These include games, role plays and songs (particularly action songs). We often use puppets and soft toys to demonstrate the foreign language, and we also invite native speakers into the classroom, to expose the children to other foreign language speakers. We frequently use mime to accompany new vocabulary without the need for translation, emphasising listening and speaking skills over reading and writing.
We aim to make lessons as entertaining as possible, and realise that this approach supports the development of positive attitudes in the children when learning modern foreign languages. We aim to build children’s confidence through constant praise for any contribution they make in a foreign language, however tentative.
Assessment provides information about what a pupil knows, understands, is able to do and where they go next. It is part of the teaching and learning process and as such, is part of everyday classroom practice.
We assess informally during lessons and also by regular testing to evaluate what the children have learnt. There are no national key stage tests but we have implemented a whole school assessment strategy to award children with certificates to indicate that they have reached a certain level of competence in Spanish. We present this to the children at our annual Commendation Day.