Modern Foreign Languages
"If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart." Nelson Mandela.
Bonjour! Hola! Guten Tag! We are a friendly and supportive team who strive to ensure that the language learning experience is a positive one for all students, whatever their ability. We are working hard to pass on our love of languages and benefits of learning about other cultures and communicating with speakers of other languages. We in the MFL Department believe that learning a language is an important skill that all children should have and in this ever-shrinking world, a skill that is becoming essential in the workplace. A great way to start getting to know and understand other people better is by learning their language. It’s a multilingual world – not everyone speaks English. 94% of the world’s population does not speak English as their first language. 75% of the world does not speak English at all. Languages can of course be used in language specific careers such as teaching, translating or interpreting but they are also useful in many jobs from reception to top level management or a professional footballer and can often by the deciding factor between candidates as well as in business trades where more and more companies are trading abroad with link companies. As well as being useful for work, travel and tourism, a language can also help to improve literacy and gain an insight into other cultures and traditions around the world.
Staff and contact details
Miss K. Symonds – Head of MFL and Community Language – Teacher of French, Spanish, German
Miss S. Field- Teacher of German, French, Spanish
Miss V. Stone – Teacher of Spanish and French
Mrs A. Borowska – Teacher of Spanish and French
On arriving in Year 7, students will learn either French or Spanish and will continue this language through to Year 8. At the end of Year 8, students have the opportunity to pick up a second language be it French, German or Spanish as part of the options’ process. The curriculum from Year 7 through to Year 11 has been created and thought through to enable pupils to develop skills and linguistic competence within a range of common topic areas and is structured around the expectations of the GCSE course. Students are taught in ability groups and cover the following topics at both higher and foundation level:
Leisure (holidays, free time, the media, new technologies, slang)
Work and Education (school life, future plans, jobs)
Lifestyle (relationships, health, smoking, alcohol)
Home and Local Environment (home, local area, environmental concerns)
Students have access to “real-life” materials and develop skills in order to communicate effectively in the target language through both the written and spoken mode. Students wdevelop the ability to identify key structures and vocabulary and manipulate them for another context. This course will look at a variety of multimedia resources including poems, songs, raps, stories, texts and social media forms such as tweets and blogs.
Students can currently take either French and/or Spanish at Key Stage Four and we use AQA as our exam board. Students who speak additional languages are also able to take a GCSE in this language also.
At the end of every unit, students will complete an end of unit test in all four skills (listening/reading/writing/speaking) as per the expectations of the GCSE exam as well as a translation and grammar based task. This will identify any areas of concerns for students to focus on either in future lessons or as part of home-learning.
At the end of Year 11, students are assessed in the four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing and breaks down in the following proportions:
Listening - 50 minute examination (25%)
Reading - 45 minute examination (25%)
Speaking - 15 minute examination (25)
Writing - 1 hour examination (25%)
The GCSE course is 100% exam based and does not include any controlled assessment or coursework. Pupils will be entered terminally at either Foundation or Higher Level in each separate skill area and the level at which pupils are entered is based on progress during the course.
The MFL Department hosts a range of after-school clubs and trips to target language countries to expose students to authentic language and include French Club, Spanish Club, German Club and new to the line-up … Italian Club.
In the past year, the MFL department has run residential trips to areas in France including Paris and also a day trip to Boulogne. Trips are currently being organised for Barcelona and Berlin for our GCSE classes.
We are also currently part of an exchange with a school in Bordeaux and are planning for our students to go to France this year and have links with schools in China, Eygpt, France, Spain, India and Norway as part of our International Schools’ Award development.
Why learn a language exactly?
1. Someone with a GCSE in a language has increased chances of employability. Many companies now reject any one without a language without so much as a second glance.
2. Someone with a language qualification has 8% more earning power increasing to 20% for a bi-lingual secretary.
3. Globalisation means that young people can expect to be managed by foreign businesses, work abroad or come into contact with foreigners as a part of their work.
4. Young people are equipped with the skills for learning any language at school. Learning a second or even third language then becomes easier.
5. Learning a language is a skill rather like playing an instrument. It takes years of practice to get good at it and requires a lot of stickability but for those who do stick with it will bring an added dimension to your life and make you a much richer person
6. Understanding another culture is an enriching and valuable experience.
7. The skills you will learn in your MFL lessons can help you with every other subject. We will teach you how to listen and read for both gist and detail, how to construct an essay, to express opinions and how to learn things off by heart.
8. English is not enough! Only 6% of the world's population speak English. 94% don't!
9. 60% of all UK trade is with non-English speaking countries.
10. It has been proven that sales increase by 50% when customers are addressed in their mother tongue, even if it is just common courtesies.
11. Learning a language improves your love life! Dating agencies say 2nd language speakers are preferred.
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Modern Foreign Languages