At Northside Primary School we believe that the learning of a foreign language provides an enormously valuable educational, social and cultural experience for our pupils. It helps them to develop communication skills including key skills of speaking and listening and extends their knowledge of how language works. Research shows that young children are intrinsically better language learners, able to become more proficient more quickly not least because they are less self-conscious about speaking aloud at this stage of their development. Learning another language gives children a new perspective on the world, encouraging them to understand their own cultures and those of others, which is vital in this increasingly globalised world. It is important to awaken children’s interests in other cultures when they are open and receptive. Additional studies state that learning a foreign language brings cognitive advantages such as enhanced problem solving, adaptability and literacy skills. We aim to enrich all of the pupils at Northside Primary with a love of learning a foreign language and the motivation to continue this learning into adult hood.
Northside pupils in Key Stage 2 have weekly French lessons with our specialist French teacher.
We adapt various schemes of work (Primary Languages, Language Angels, Early Start DVDs) for the context of our school and the abilities of our children, using various techniques to engage active participation in lessons and between. We play games, use role-play, songs, puppets to demonstrate language and videos. We frequently use actions and picture cues to accompany new vocabulary, as this teaches language without the need for translation. We cover all four of the communication skills; speaking, listening, reading and writing, although in year 3, we focus mainly on speaking and listening. We make lessons as fun as engaging and entertaining as possible to help develop a positive attitude in the children to learning a new language. We build children’s confidence through constant praise for contribution they make in the foreign language. The teacher will assess children informally during lessons; and two or three times a year, children will have an end of topic assessment evaluating their progress. We have links with French schools so the children can write to penpals, year 4 have a French Café and the whole schhol enjoys an annual French Day to explore cultural aspects of French as well as singing and speaking. Class teachers are encouraged to use French phrases with pupils in their class, take the register in French, and ask what the date is in French to encourage reinforcement of the language acquisition.
We aim to promote the early development of pupils’ linguistic competence, extend their knowledge of how language works and explore differences and similarities between the structures of French and English language. We also want to enhance pupils’ awareness of the multilingual and multicultural world they live in. We develop pupils’ speaking, listening, reading and writing skills to: