Modern Foreign Languages
At Brynmawr Foundation School, our aim in the International Languages department is to inspire a love of languages in our young people and provide them with opportunities to develop their appreciation of other cultures. Our vision is that all pupils become ethical informed citizens who are aware of the multilingual and multicultural world that we live in. We want to broaden pupils’ horizons and educate them about the advantages of being globally aware and culturally sensitive. We aim to teach pupils the importance of being literate, of having excellent communication skills, and of speaking more than one language in our increasingly global community.
Curriculum Vision in International Languages
All pupils study an International Language throughout Key Stage 3. They will begin learning French or Spanish in year 7 and will continue the same language into year 8. All students will have the opportunity to further their language learning journey into Key Stage 4.
We begin our language learning journey with the assumption of no prior knowledge of French or Spanish and therefore we start in year 7 by introducing basic phonics in order to build the confidence of the pupils and to lay solid foundations in their oracy skills. Our curriculum is designed to build pupils’ confidence in their new language as well as trigger their curiosity. Throughout each module, pupils will recap and build upon their knowledge of phonics in order to develop and improve their level of oracy in MFL. Throughout their studies in French or Spanish, students participate in engaging activities to promote retrieval and retention of key vocabulary and structures.
Key Stage 3
During year 7 pupils will begin by exploring the phonics of the language and perfecting the tricky sounds. They will then learn to talk about themselves, their personal relationship and daily experiences. We begin with the topic of My Family and I which encompasses introducing yourself, giving basic details about yourself, describing your appearance and your personality, saying who is in your family and talking about pets and relationships with your family members. We will then move on to learn about Free Time, in which we will cover sports and hobbies, musical instruments. We will learn how to express ourselves by giving extended and justified opinions by talking about what we do and don’t enjoy doing. In the final term in year 7 we will study the topic My School. We will build upon our prior knowledge of opinions and relationships in this new context of school subjects, teachers and uniform.
Moving into year 8, the topics allow the pupils to consider their identities within a wider context. Pupils will begin by learning about My Town, where we look at how to say where we live and how to describe our town and our local area. We then explore how to describe our house and the rooms in our house using prepositions and extended opinions. We move on in the second term to look at Travel and Holidays, which covers countries, modes of transport and weather, whilst recycling language patterns learned in previous topics such as opinions and free-time activities. In the final topic of year 8 In Good Health, we discuss aspects of healthy lifestyles including daily routine and illness.
Throughout the Key Stage 3 curriculum, we ensure that previously learnt structures and language patterns are recycled and re-used to embed them into the long-term memory and therefore improve the confidence of pupils and further their knowledge and understanding. We continually build upon prior knowledge and move towards more challenging and complex topics in Key Stage 4, where pupils are expected to express detailed and developed opinions relating to environmental issues, ethics and the wider world. In studying an International Language, pupils will develop a much richer understanding of the English Language through the study of grammar, which will increase their literacy abilities and enable them to succeed in all subjects across the school.
Key Stage 4
We begin preparing for the GCSE in year 9. Following the WJEC specifications for French and Spanish, we look at the following broad themes:
Theme One : Identity and Culture
- Youth culture
- Customs and Traditions
Theme Two : Wales and the World – areas of interest
- Home and Locality
- The Wider World
- Global Sustainability
Theme Three : Current and future study and employment
- Current Study
- Employability and Future Plans
The GCSE examination in International Languages is made up of assessments in speaking, listening, reading and writing in equal weighting (25% each). During lessons, we will practise these skills to ensure that students are fully prepared for the final examinations, which take place at the end of year 11.
Why study an International Language at GCSE?
All students should consider choosing to continue their study of either French or Spanish through to GCSE. Amongst many other positives, languages are proven to help your memory, creativity, listening skills and boost confidence. Languages can also broaden your horizons and career opportunities as well as increasing your chances of accessing university. For many of the Russell Group universities a language GCSE is an expectation regardless of the degree course.
For more information on how languages can help you in your future life or career choices, have a look at www.whystudylanguages.ac.uk.
It is vital that pupils have the opportunity to experience foreign languages first-hand and in context, which is why we enjoy taking trips abroad when possible. We look forward to giving the pupils the opportunity to put their language skills into practise in real life scenarios and of course, we enjoy indulging in the ambience and soaking up the atmosphere.