Bonjour et Bienvenue!
At Devonshire Primary Academy, we believe that learning a modern foreign language helps to prepare our children to participate in a rapidly changing world in which work and other activities are often carried out in languages other than English. Becoming more capable in the use of another language and learning about the cultures of people who speak that language promotes initiative, confidence and independent learning and encourages tolerance and diversity within society. Our children really enjoy learning to speak French! We also believe that the earlier a child is exposed to a foreign language, the faster they can learn it; owing to their lack of inhibition, young children are usually enthusiastic participants in oral exchanges, making early language learning a great developer of receptive and productive oral skills, as well as of enjoyment for language learning and communication.
At Devonshire Primary Academy, children learn French throughout Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. The aims of this are:
to foster an interest in learning other languages;
to introduce young children to another language in a way that is enjoyable and fun;
to make young children aware that language has structure, and that the structure differs from one language to another;
to help children develop their awareness of cultural differences in another country;
to develop their speaking and listening skills;
to lay the foundations for future study.
Teaching and Learning Style
At Devonshire Primary Academy, staff are encouraged to be as creative in their approach to French as possible. We use a variety of techniques to encourage our children to have an active engagement in their language learning: these include games, role-play, songs (particularly action songs) and interactive ICT games. We often use puppets and soft toys to demonstrate the foreign language. 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 the listening and speaking skills before the reading and writing skills. We also use a multi-sensory and we try to introduce a physical element into activities, 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 French, however tentative.
We focus on the four main areas of language in our teaching and learning and we follow a sequence that matches that of natural language acquisition:
listening and responding;
reading and responding;
In key Stage 1, we focus heavily on listening and responding to French, singing songs and playing games. We believe this builds the foundations for children to develop their speaking, reading and writing skills in Key Stage 2.
French Curriculum Planning
Our French curriculum is adapted from the Primary Framework for Languages and the 2014 National Curriculum and takes into consideration the school’s Creative Curriculum and we carry out the planning for French in three phases (long-term, medium-term and short-term).
The long-term plan maps content, key vocabulary and skills that the children study in each year group. The subject leader works this out in conjunction with teaching colleagues in each year group. Our long-term plan shows how content and skills are distributed across the year groups and how these fit together to ensure progression.
Each year group uses this to create their own medium term plans to fit, where possible, their Creative Curriculum content for each term.
The class teacher is responsible for ensuring that short-term plans are adapted and effective for children in their own class. These plans will list the specific learning objectives of each lesson. The class teacher keeps these individual plans and s/he and the subject leader discuss their strengths and areas for improvement on an informal basis. Planning is also monitored by the French Curriculum group twice each year.
The content and skills studied in French are planned to build upon prior learning. While we offer opportunities for children of all abilities to develop their skills and knowledge in each lesson, we also build planned progression into our scheme of work, so that the children are increasingly challenged as they move through the school.
As we believe that language learning is more successful with a ‘little and often’ approach, staff are encouraged to teach new content and skills in short 15-30 minute sessions each week and then continuously review and revise this in short bursts as opportunity arises in the school day so that children can be constantly applying and consolidating their learning.
French is taught at a level appropriate to the age, ability and experience of the pupils and is, therefore, accessible to all and basic skills are incorporated into French in many ways. These include: counting, telling the time, learning the days of the week and months of the year, reciting the alphabet, learning colours and names of animals.
ICT is also integrated throughout the French curriculum through the use of ICT key skills. Teachers identify where ICT can be taught alongside French to enhance the teaching and learning of the subject. For example, use of suitable websites, talking postcards/easispeak microphones to record and listen to French, and songs and pronunciation guides on CD.
Please take a look at our curriculum map to see what your child will be learning in each year group and below are some website links to games and activities that you can use with your child to have some French fun and help support their learning!