Modern Foreign Languages
Staffing & Resources
The Modern foreign Languages Department has five qualified MFL teachers who are supported by three assistants, who are native speakers. All language lessons are taught in dedicated teaching rooms, each with a fitted digital projector and interactive white boards. Teaching groups also visit the Learning Resources Centre to give them a hands-on experience of the various web-sites, which we encourage them to use for independent study.
- Mrs E Albuixech (Head of MFL)
- Mr M Clare (Second in Department)
- Mrs H Goymer
- Mrs Clare
- Mr C Toledo
Key Stage 3
In Year 7, all pupils study either French, German or Spanish for six hours a fortnight on yearly rotational basis.
In Year 8, pupils will continue to study the language that they started in Year 7 for three hours a fortnight. They will also pick up a second language, either French, Spanish or German dependent on the rotation system. This second language will be studied for five hours a fortnight.
Years 7 and 8 learning is based on developing a strong underpinning of phonics, vocabulary and grammar. Content is evenly spaced and opportunities to revisit are planned to ensure pupils have enough time to deepen their understanding.
In Year 9, we start the GCSE course. All pupils are taught one language for six hours a fortnight and there is the opportunity for the more linguistically able to study two languages.
In all three languages, we seek to balance our work between the four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing, instilling in our learners both enthusiasm and proficiency in key areas of language learning. Our pedagogy is research-led and practice-informed and learning is carefully planned to support progression for the vast majority of learners within a low exposure foreign language setting. Progression is determined by the functions of grammar, and the frequency and usefulness of vocabulary and phonics, and aims to avoid introducing too much language too fast. Pupils like to see a purpose to learning, they want to feel they are doing something real and meaningful and the way in which we deliver the course does just that.
Furthermore, we aim to encourage pupils to appreciate and be curious about other cultures and promote the importance of a deeper understanding of the world in which pupils take a step towards intercultural competence. We want to encourage a love of learning a foreign language and ensure that pupils leave confident and enthused to continue learning a language, ready for a future in the global workplace.
From an early stage, pupils are taught to become more independent in their approach to language learning. There is no substitute for rote learning of basic vocabulary and verb conjugations, so we encourage them to think about different ways of learning, in order to support them. We expect pupils to find the strategies which best suit them, so that they can take responsibility for their own learning. This will often include the use of certain web-sites and other ICT based methods. In the second year of study pupils become more familiar with grammatical concepts, with a particular emphasis on verbs and tenses. We usually insist on the use of grammatical terms, so that pupils become more confident in their grasp of structures and concepts. By the end of Y9, they should be confident in their understanding and use of verbs in past, present and future tenses.
Throughout Key Stage 3 we share National Curriculum assessment criteria with all pupils, encouraging them to analyse their own work, in order to identify strengths, weaknesses and ways they can improve.
Key Stage 4
All pupils are required to study at least one of their languages up to GCSE. We believe that learning another language will give our boys a valuable asset and source of satisfaction in later life. It is an important component of a full academic education, upon which many top universities and employers insist, even where languages are not directly relevant to the chosen course or job. Our keenest linguists often continue with both languages in Key Stage 4.
Our chosen Examination board is AQA (full specifications can be found at their website (www.aqa.org.uk). Pupils attend five lessons a fortnight. The course content is largely a continuation of what we have studied in Key Stage 3. There is a strong emphasis placed upon the teaching of grammatical structures and on a greater understanding of the language in order to enable pupils to manipulate language more effectively to their own ends and to communicate their interests. The four skills of Listening,Reading,Writing and Speaking are practised throughout the two year course and are given equal weighting in the awarding of their overall GCSE grade. Listening, Reading and Writing are assessed by examinations at the end of the course and the Speaking examination is conducted about a month before this by the class teacher and marked externally by the examination board. As well as using the AQA specific text books as a tool for language learning and teaching, the Languages Department is well equipped with additional materials created by staff to aid pupils’ preparation for the examinations. Every pupil in years 10 and 11 also have contact time with the Foreign Language Assistant at least once every fortnight for intensive speaking practice.
Key Stage 5
Sixth form students have the opportunity to take any of our three languages, provided they have secured a high grade at GCSE. A Level French, Spanish and German courses are currently offered in collaboration with all three schools that make up the Sleaford Joint Sixth Form: Carre’s Grammar School, Kesteven and Sleaford High School and St George’s Academy. There is a huge emphasis placed upon the importance of independent working and research. Students are expected to manage their time effectively and take advantage of the departments’ resources in order to further their understanding and knowledge. There is a 6th form workroom with Internet access and audio facilities available for private study. The departments subscribe to a range of authentic reading and listening material which the students can make use of in their private study time.
Lunchtime support sessions are frequently available for anyone who has missed work and needs to catch up, or is struggling with some aspect of his language learning. These are staffed voluntarily by a qualified teacher or by one of our assistant native speakers.
For our most talented linguists, there is a session each week for extension projects, which currently includes the study of Mandarin Chinese.
We consider visits abroad to be an important motivator in language learning. We therefore encourage parents to take their sons to the relevant country, if at all possible. We also play a part at Carre’s, by providing opportunities for language based residential visits. We aim to offer each pupil an opportunity to visit the relevant country, for each of his languages, at some stage in his school career. Trips that we currently offer include our successful Exchanges to Spain and France and residential trips to France, Spain, Austria, Germany, China and Senegal.