Modern foreign Languages at Firs Farm Primary School
At Firs Farm Primary School, we teach a Modern Foreign Language so that each and every child between the ages of 8 and 11 has access to a world beyond their own community and culture. Our pupils discover not only new words and phrases by also different cultures, different moral values and different perspectives.
They develop linguistic skills to compare and contrast languages and communicative skills to express themselves in a variety of ways.
We aim to foster the love of languages and the ability to exchange ideas through a common language. The profoundly thrilling and intoxicating realisation that one can understand what is being said in a foreign tongue can never beaten!
In the classroom, we create an environment where there is an emphasis on mutual respect and where each child’s contribution and effort are encouraged, valued and celebrated. We provide opportunities to communicate orally and in written form, to perform, to play, to make links, to have fun and to receive each new word like a gift.
Teaching and Learning Style
We use a variety of techniques to encourage children to have an active engagement in the foreign language. These include games, role-play, and songs (in particular action songs). We often use puppets and soft toys to demonstrate the language and encourage the shier ones among us to give it a go. We frequently use mime to accompany new vocabulary as it serves to demonstrate the foreign language without the need for translation. We provide language learning strategies, but also encourage the children to devise their own, with the aim to develop independence in learning. We teach French phonics and endeavour to develop the children’s accent by using authentic material and inviting native speakers into the classroom in order to expose them to authentic accents. (Firs Farm pupils have been praised for their accents and language skills at secondary school!)
Children also watch French films as part of the MFL curriculum and are encouraged to read independently from the Bibliothèque Française (French Book Corner) they each have in their classroom, in the hope that they begin to develop a culture in common with any French children they might meet.
Wherever possible, we establish cross-curricular links. For example, children learn a song about the parts of the body at the same time as they learn about the body in Science, or they learn the French colours by looking at prehistoric paintings as a link with History in Year 3. During Black History Month, Years 4, 5 and 6 study a poem written by African or Caribbean French-speaking poet.
Our children are very enthusiastic language learners. They learn it in class, discuss it in the playground and practise it with adults whenever they can. I love being wished a lovely afternoon by 30 kids walking past. Bon après-midi Madame Dejonghe!
They complete their yearly projects to great standards, and these make wonderful displays.