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"Learning another language is not only learning different words for the same things, but learning another way to think about things."
At Emmaus, we are all linguists! As a Centre of Excellence for French and a recipient of the Liverpool Primary Languages Gold Quality Mark, Emmaus is a school which places great value upon the importance of early language learning. We believe that, in today’s international and multicultural society, it is essential that our children develop skills and attitudes which enable them to communicate with, understand and respect other cultures. Our intent is to provide broad linguistic and cultural experiences for our pupils that enable them to foster a love of languages and to develop their communication skills in the four key areas of language learning: speaking, listening, reading and writing. We endeavour to broaden the cultural awareness of our pupils, to create linguists who enjoy learning languages and who can express themselves confidently in the target language.
In order to provide a range of opportunities for our children to develop as independent, successful learners with high aspirations, our French curriculum is also intrinsically linked to our whole school curriculum drivers:
As a joint denominational school, Christian values are at the forefront of daily school life at Emmaus. The values of ‘Hope’, ‘Trust’, ‘Friendship’ and ‘Love’ are actively promoted throughout language-learning lessons. During French lessons, the children are encouraged to show respect for different people’s cultures, experiences, feelings and opinions. Children learn that our world is made up of people from a vast array of different cultures and societies and they develop tolerance, appreciation and respect for themselves and for others.
At Emmaus, we strongly feel that learning another language gives children a new and broader perspective on the world, encouraging them to understand their own cultures and those of others which feeds into our focus on developing cultural capital throughout the school. We believe that a rich and broad curriculum builds cultural capital and we thus provide our children with a vast range of experiences and opportunities to help them progress and achieve success. During French sessions and activities, we endeavour to ‘bring learning to life’ to ensure that our children are passionate about Modern Foreign Languages and to give them experiences of the local, national and international worlds around them. Children at Emmaus are provided with opportunities to visit France in both Year 5 (five-day château trip to the Somme region of Northern France) and Year 6 (seven-day ski trip to the Alps) where they are immersed in both the French culture and language. Other activities that broaden the cultural capital of the children involve ongoing collaborations with our partner schools – in France, Senegal and Quebec, writing letters to their pen pals abroad, French Pupil Council, whole school themed ‘French’ Days, food tasting, studies of French artists and French assemblies.
Through the study of a foreign language, students learn to understand and appreciate different countries, cultures, communities and people. The teaching and learning of French at Emmaus promote cultural and social elements of France and French-speaking countries - in addition to linguistic and syntactic ones. At Emmaus, it is essential that our children develop skills and attitudes which enable them to communicate with, understand and respect other cultures. We endeavour to instil in our pupils a ‘global’ and ‘outward thinking’ view of other people and places. In doing so, we help to promote the richness and diversity of the world that we live in.
The study of French at Emmaus encourages independence by teaching the children to express themselves in new and different ways. The children are encouraged to ask their own questions about languages and cultures and to express their own thinking and personal viewpoints. This allows the children to develop their sense of belonging to the wider world and will start to prepare them for future opportunities in modern life, enabling them to become life-long, independent learners.
In line with all areas of our school curriculum, we have high expectations for all children to achieve their potential in French - regardless of their starting points. The French curriculum and assessment system at Emmaus is developed to ensure that we motivate pupils, monitor progress and achieve constantly high standards. By the end of Year 6, the children undertake Liverpool School Improvement assessments in the four core areas of language learning: speaking, listening, reading and writing. Overall, the children achieve very high levels of attainment in these assessments. Our high expectations in this subject not only lay the foundations for extended language learning at secondary school - but also for life-long language learning.
At Emmaus, we follow the Liverpool Primary Languages Scheme of Work for French which demonstrates clear progression across year groups. All pupils from Nursery to Year 6 are taught French by a Foreign Language Assistant (FLA) from a Francophone country in addition to their class teacher. The FLA represents a valuable source of cultural and linguistic capital that enriches the language learning experience of the children. FLAs can stimulate genuine communication, increase motivation for language-learning and encourage cross-cultural understanding.
Children in EYFS (Nursery and Reception) receive one fifteen-minute session with our FLA followed by one fifteen-minute follow-up session with their class teacher per week. Children in both KS1 and KS2 receive one thirty-minute session with our FLA followed by one thirty-minute follow-up session with their class teacher per week.
Our aims are to fulfil the requirements of the National Curriculum for languages; providing a broad and balanced curriculum that provides excitement, enjoyment and challenge for children, helping to create enthusiastic learner and to develop positive attitudes to language learning throughout life.
The National Curriculum for languages aims to ensure that all pupils:
· Understand and respond to spoken and written language from a variety of authentic sources
· Speak with increasing confidence, fluency and spontaneity, finding ways of communicating what they want to say, including through discussion and asking questions, and continually improving the accuracy of their pronunciation and intonation
· Can write at varying length, for different purposes and audiences, using the variety of grammatical structures that they have learnt
· Discover and develop an appreciation of a range of writing in the language studied.
The National Curriculum states that pupils should be taught to:
· Listen attentively to spoken language and show understanding by joining in and responding
· Explore the patterns and sounds of language through songs and rhymes and link the spelling, sound and meaning of word
· Engage in conversations; ask and answer questions; express opinions and respond to those of others; seek clarification and help
· Speak in sentences, using familiar vocabulary, phrases and basic language structures § develop accurate pronunciation and intonation so that others understand when they are reading aloud or using familiar words and phrase
· Present ideas and information orally to a range of audience
· Read carefully and show understanding of words, phrases and simple writing
· Appreciate stories, songs, poems and rhymes in the language
· Broaden their vocabulary and develop their ability to understand new words that are introduced into familiar written material, including through using a dictionary
· Write phrases from memory, and adapt these to create new sentences, to express ideas clearly
· Describe people, places, things and actions orally and in writing
· Understand basic grammar appropriate to the language being studied, including (where relevant): feminine, masculine and neuter forms and the conjugation of high-frequency verbs; key features and patterns of the language; how to apply these, for instance, to build sentences; and how these differ from or are similar to English
To meet the aims of the National Curriculum for languages, we employ an exciting and effective range of teaching methods and materials to build enthusiasm and motivation in our young, language learners. A great deal of emphasis is placed initially on listening and speaking skills and pupils are given the opportunity to learn vocabulary through games, rhymes, chant and song. KS2 teaching also provides regular opportunities to develop reading and writing skills.
At Emmaus, French is constantly promoted and embedded into school life as much as possible. The French flag is displayed at our school entrance and signage around school is in French. Many aspects of our daily routine – such as greetings, registers and prayers – are conducted in French. Every classroom has a French display and French forms an integral part of assemblies. Each year, we hold a ‘French Day’ which enables the children to experience many different aspects of French culture such as traditional games and food tasting. Throughout the year, our KS2 children exchange notes, drawings and letters in French and undertake projects with their friends in our twinned school in Dakar, Senegal. Emmaus children are also provided with opportunities to visit France in both Year 5 (château trip to the Somme region) and Year 6 (ski trip to the Alps).
The impact of our French curriculum is measured through a range of different strategies.
· Formal assessments at the end of KS2 – in the four key areas of language learning (speaking, listening, reading and writing)
· Data which is produced from on-going teacher assessments
· Lesson observations
· Learning walks
· French Pupil Council
· Pupil voice
The ultimate impact and measure of the French curriculum at Emmaus is to embed a love of languages and other cultures that will lay the foundations for further language learning at Key Stage 3 and for life as an adult in the wider world.