Tower Hill Primary School
Foreign Language Policy
At Tower Hill we believe the learning of a foreign language provides a valuable educational, social and cultural experience for all pupils. Pupils develop communication and literacy skills that lay the foundation for future language learning. They develop linguistic competence, extend their knowledge of how language works and explore differences and similarities between a foreign language and English. Learning another language raises awareness of the multilingual and multicultural world and introduces an international dimension to pupils’ learning, giving them an insight into their own culture and those of others. The learning of a foreign language provides a medium for cross-curricular links and for reinforcement of knowledge, skills and understanding developed in other subjects.
Our Main Aims:
v To introduce young children to another language in a way that is enjoyable and fun;
v To foster an interest in learning other languages;
v To stimulate and encourage children’s curiosity about language;
v To encourage children to be aware that language has structure and that the structure differs from one language to another;
v To reinforce and expand their knowledge and understanding of their own language;
v To help the children develop their awareness of cultural similarities and differences in other countries;
v To increase their speaking and listening skills;
v To develop language learning strategies that will lay the foundations for future study.
Teaching and Learning
The children are taught how to:
- ask and answer questions;
- use correct pronunciation and grammar;
- memorise words;
- interpret meaning;
- understand basic grammar;
- make use of bi-lingual dictionaries;
- use e-mail, ICT and write letters to children in a European partner school;
- work in pairs and groups and communicate in a foreign language;
- explore things from another’s perspective, giving insight into the people, lives and traditions of other cultures.
In Tower Hill Primary school, FL (French) is taught to children in Reception and Key Stage 1 through the learning of songs, rhymes, greetings and other short opportunities to practise with their class teachers.
In Key Stage 2 the children will follow a more structured scheme of work in weekly 30 minute sessions delivered mainly by the FL Manager and with 5-10 minute ‘top-ups’ during the week by the class teachers. For example, registration, numeracy mental warm-ups and class routines can and often are exploited to use the target foreign language.
The ultimate aim is for all the staff in the school to teach some foreign language. This more integrated approach to the foreign language is being gradually developed within the curriculum, allowing staff to develop learning on a little-and-often basis.
Teaching and learning styles
A variety of techniques are used to encourage the children to have an active engagement with the Foreign Language, including games, role play and action songs. Puppets and soft toys may be utilised to demonstrate and present the foreign language. Flashcards or other pictorial representations, even mime, are used to present new vocabulary, as this serves to demonstrate the foreign language without the need for translation. CD’s and videos provide an additional model of the spoken language and contact with native speakers is encouraged wherever possible to involve the children in learning about culture.
Ideally class routines, praise, activities and games should be managed in the target foreign language. However staff and children are working towards this in gentle steps. We feel that the pupils need to feel secure in order to learn and it would be unsettling to expose them to a sudden torrent of unfamiliar foreign vocabulary. Therefore we are phasing in classroom instructions gradually and consistently, in response to what the children show they are ready for. Many games and activities do not require much verbal explanation at all and we have found that the children understand very quickly when you communicate through key phrases and mime. However we feel there is no harm in briefly outlining the rules of a game in English if an activity needs more explanation.
Listening, responding and speaking skills (Oracy, Knowledge about Language, Intercultural Understanding and Language Learning Strategies) are emphasised in KS1 and then simple reading and writing skills (Literacy) introduced in KS2. A multi-sensory and kinaesthetic approach to teaching is used to address varied learning styles, i.e. there is a physical element to many of the games, rhymes and songs as this serves to reinforce memory.
Particularly in Reception and Key Stage 1 units may be based around familiar storybooks in French (such as Eric Carle’s ‘La Chenille qui fait des Trous’ – The Hungry Caterpillar) The storybook pictures and pupils’ familiarity with the classic children’s tale will help them “get the gist of” the meaning of the few new words they have not yet encountered.
Older children are happy to join in reading a “young” story because of the challenge and satisfaction of showing they can follow it in a foreign language.
Most importantly, we strive to make lessons as enjoyable and ‘fun’ as possible so that the children develop a positive attitude to the learning of Foreign Languages. Therefore we endeavour to develop children’s confidence through praise for any contribution they make, however tentative.
EXAMPLE WORDS OF PRAISE IN FRENCH
Très bien! - Very good!
Bravo! - Well done!
Formidable! - Brilliant!
Children’s progress is assessed informally and continuously during the lessons by the teacher, evaluating progress against the Tower Hill Progression Framework. We consider it important that progression is measured and ensured through skill levels, not by endlessly growing lists of vocabulary.
KS2 FL Framework Learning Objectives
- Oracy – listening and speaking
- Literacy – reading and writing
- Knowledge about Language – building on their knowledge of English/’mother tongue’
- Intercultural Understanding and Contact
- Language Learning Strategies
Monitoring and Evaluation
Staff will annotate and evaluate plans and this will be used to inform future planning. The FL Manager will collate findings and maintain the subject folder. The FL Manager will take part in pupil conferencing. Staff will annotate Tower Hill assessment grids and this information will be reviewed and collated by the FL Manager to inform and ensure progression of skills across the school.
From KS2, teachers will report annually to parents about children's development and progress in FL.
The range of resources is outlined in the FL Manager’s file and includes a range of children’s story books and a small set of bi-lingual dictionaries as well as:
- BBC Website
- Teacher created resources in form of PowerPoint, IWB flipcharts, worksheets etc.
- Eurostars DVD
- Online short video clips
- Map of Europe
- Map of France
- Teacher-made paper resources – flashcards, worksheets, puzzles, word searches, laminated snap/domino sets, cue cards etc.
Review and Evaluation of Policy
The evaluation process will serve the basis for planning programmes of action and targeting time, support and resources.
This policy will be reviewed by the FL Manager and Headteacher every three years or sooner dependent on statutory requirements.