The aim of languages teaching at The Brent is to encourage an appreciation for languages, learning a language is a ‘liberation from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures.
Through this, we ignite children’s curiosity for the wider world, including the cultures where these languages are spoken. Learning foreign languages provides the children with frequent opportunities to build on life skills such as confidence, self-esteem and empathy, whilst equipping children with the knowledge and cultural capital to appreciate and celebrate difference.
We strive to embed the skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing to enable children to use and apply their French learning in a variety of contexts and lay the foundations for future language learning. Lessons are interactive and collaborative, a Growth Mindset culture is encouraged to allow children to challenge themselves outside their comfort zone. Discussion surrounding languages is welcomed and the links and patterns between different vocabulary, pronunciations and letter symbols is encouraged. Children have the opportunities to develop their language skills by providing authentic, engaging and practical scenarios through role-play and theme days.
Nationally, the proportion of children that engage in languages after Key Stage 3 is low, as Key Stage 2 teachers, it is our priority to motivate our students to enjoy and flourish with languages. Recognition of different languages is at the forefront of our school culture and motivating and engaging language theme days have been welcomed.
Our Languages Journey Through The Brent
The focus in Year 3 is to build solid foundations for language learning for the future. We allow children to take the time to hear the sounds as much as possible so that their confidence and enthusiasm for the language grows. In Year 3, we study French by learning about the country and cultural aspects to understand why speaking in a modern language is important. Basic greetings and expression of feelings are at the forefront of our teaching so that children can begin to initiate conversation from the onset. They expand their vocabulary by recognising the names of some animals, instruments, parts of the body, fruits and vegetables, colours and numbers 1-10. Key verbs are introduced to Year 3 throughout each topic, this allows children to form simple sentences and converse effectively with their peers. New and existing vocabulary is rehearsed through familiar stories such as Little Red Riding Hood, the children are able to learn aspects of a story through pictorial representations and actions. Listening to stories in French allows the children to recognise similarities between the pronunciations of various words and connect their bank of vocabulary to decode the context within. The children will learn to associate what they hear with what they see. This helps to keep the language they are learning in their long-term memory.
In Year 4, the understanding of applying phrases to talk about others is a key aspect, here they will learn to describe their family situations and that of others’. New verbs are introduced to Year 4 to aid further conversation; children are consistently encouraged to recap on the verbs taught previously and add this to their current sentences to allow for greater depth and diversity within their conversations. The children are also given opportunity to expand their sentences further with connectives such as ‘et’ and ‘mais’. Year 4 pupils will continue to develop their knowledge about the numbers 1-20, count and use them out of sequence, this enables them to ask somebody their age or state the date. Real life scenarios are reenacted in Year 4 to provide purpose to the children’s learning, Year 4 receive the opportunity to role play the running of a French café. Here they will link back to their learning from Year 3 where the children stated what fruit or vegetable they would like. Expanding on this, Year 4 children are taught to order effectively from a wide range of foods, ask for the bill and general café etiquette. Linking back to Year 3, Year 4 pupils will expand on their previous learning of key animals by focusing on pets, this area of learning will allow the children further opportunity to ask questions and add details to their responses, such as describing the pets that they have. The final term of French in Year 4 is a focus on a familiar story; this carefully chosen story will feature a variety of previously taught vocabulary. Listening to a story allows the children to consolidate their listening skills of familiar vocabulary, whilst identifying strategies to decode new vocabulary.
In Year 5, pupils will begin to focus on different pronouns within their conversation. Additional verbs are introduced and added to the children’s already existing bank, the children will use their understanding of different pronouns and begin to conjugate simple verbs with support. This is a difficult concept for English speaking children to grasp so Year 5 will solely focus on the present tense. Within Year 5, the children will discover how to express the current weather and date, including how to ask the accompanying question to a peer. Later in the year, Year 5 will learn how to state what they are wearing or what somebody else is wearing. This links to the children’s previous learning of weather. Term 4 focuses on key sports, again adding to previous topics of conversation. The children will focus on the verb for ‘I do – Je fais’. The verb for ‘I do’ relates to the verb for ‘I play’ which was taught in Year 3. The children will be taught to recognise the difference between the verbs and choose the appropriate verb for their chosen sentence. Term 5 introduces the rooms of the house, allowing children opportunity to state where they live and the rooms that they have within their house. The children are encouraged to create a longer spoken sentence in French, recycling previously learnt language. The final term in Year 5, looks at consolidation, this is important as it is vital that the children are able to make connections between past learning, extending their sentences and instilling their knowledge into their long term memory.
By the end of Year 6, pupils are expected to write a short paragraph linking back to their previous learning. To aid confidence with this, Year 6 will converse using previously taught vocabulary. They will begin to describe the activities they do in their spare time, using both existing and new verbs, whilst expressing both positive and negative opinions and giving reasons as to why they may or may not like something. Whilst first person will remain the key pronoun, Year 6 pupils will continue to experiment with different pronouns, such as ‘he’ and ‘she’.
The Languages journey through KS2 is a journey of growing confidence; children learn through interactive games, songs and role-play. The content of Languages is scaffolded throughout each group to show progression and growth in skills as the children progress through KS2. Each pupil has access to vocabulary books and content organisers that travel with them through each year group, this enables the children to constantly refer back and rehearse their taught knowledge and skills into their long-term memory.