Modern Foreign Languages
“To learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world.”
“Learning a foreign language is a liberation from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures. A high-quality languages education should foster pupils’ curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world. The teaching should enable pupils to express their ideas and thoughts in another language and to understand and respond to its speakers, both in speech and in writing. It should also provide opportunities for them to communicate for practical purposes, learn new ways of thinking and read great literature in the original language. Language teaching should provide the foundation for learning further languages, equipping pupils to study and work in other countries.” (NC14)
Why are languages important at St. George’s?
At St. George’s, we believe that many children really enjoy learning to speak another language and that the earlier a child is exposed to a foreign language, the faster the language in question is acquired. Also, an advantage of introducing a new language at primary school is that children tend to be less self-conscious about speaking aloud at this stage of their development. Furthermore, it is widely accepted that the early acquisition of a foreign language facilitates the learning of other foreign languages later in life. Language lies at the heart of ideas about individual identity and community, and learning another language can do a great deal to shape children’s ideas in this area as well as giving them a new perspective on their own language.
What do languages look like at St. George’s?
At St. George’s we use a scheme of work that has been developed in the borough of Hackney.
“Hackney is carrying out pioneering work in the teaching of Spanish across all primary and secondary schools. The Headteachers agreed to teach Spanish as the first foreign language in all schools. This is to ensure that pupils develop a deep understanding of one language and to make the transfer to secondary school smoother.
This work is exciting and ground breaking.” [Taken from the Hackney website]
A specialist language teacher teaches Spanish across the whole school including our Nursery and Reception classes. The lessons focus on new topics half-termly or termly, with appropriate cross-curricular links, inclusive of vocabulary and grammar, through speaking, listening, reading and writing activities.
Where possible, this is followed up with practise of simple conversational phrases by other teaching staff. Children develop an appreciation for a variety of stories, songs, poems and rhymes in Spanish that are delivered through curriculum content.
The specialist teacher’s focus is on speaking and listening, and the use of a variety of resources such as songs, short video clips, ICT, games, busy things etc.