Children begin learning French in year 3 and continue their French journey throughout Key Stage 2. Lessons are blocked as part of our modular approach. This allows children to fully immerse themselves in the language. We also provide opportunities for children to retrieve their learning from French, in general day to day conversations or through questioning throughout the week.
We use a variety of techniques to encourage the children to have an active engagement in the modern foreign language: these include games, role-play and songs (particularly action songs). We use confident French speakers in the classroom, in order to expose the children to more than one voice in the foreign language as well as using interactive resources. We frequently use mime to accompany new vocabulary in the foreign language, as this serves to demonstrate the foreign language without the need for translation.
We emphasise Listening and Speaking skills over Reading and Writing skills, but all four skills and especially independent Reading and Writing become increasingly important with progression year on year. After several years of language learning most children will be able to read and write short phrases, will have an understanding of some foreign culture, will have a basic understanding of some language structure, which they can apply to another language, will be able to hold a short, simple conversation and understand a range of familiar language.
We also use a multi-sensory and kinaesthetic approach to teaching, i.e. we try to introduce a physical element into some of the games, as we believe that this serves to reinforce memory. We make the lessons as entertaining and enjoyable as possible, as we realise that this approach serves to develop a positive attitude in the children to the learning of modern foreign languages. We build children’s confidence through constant praise for any contribution they make in the foreign language, however tentative.
We are developing our French curriculum offer during the academic year 2022-23.