Curriculum Statement - Languages
“Without language, one cannot talk to people and understand them; one cannot share their hopes and aspirations, grasp their history, appreciate their poetry or savour their songs.” – Nelson Mandela
Take a look at how we teach languages in the Laurus Trust
Powerful Knowledge in Languages
Modern and Ancient languages provide a way of transcending cultural barriers, allowing students to see their world from a different viewpoint. It prompts them to question what is “normal” and provides them with the ability to embrace the fact that the world is a rich and diverse place filled with different customs, perspectives, history, arts, literature and ways of communicating.
It also affords students the chance to understand the codes which exist behind languages and how these might interplay, or be at odds with English. They will be able to recognise that rules and patterns exist throughout languages and that these may well be influenced by the impact of culture. Students can start to build a more powerful understanding of their own language through questioning how we put together words, sentences and text.
One particularly powerful skill which is developed in language learning is the ability to speak and think simultaneously. Students are challenged to respond without preparation in discussions in class and this leads to them forming strong oracy skills.
Speak First – Students are learning how to communicate in another language and this begins with speech. Students will build up a level of confidence which allows them to respond naturally to each other and their teacher, being comfortable using the taught language, aiming to achieve excellent pronunciation.
Creative Contexts – We want students to learn a language through a range of compelling contexts which will take them beyond their previous experiences or engage them through creative themes. Topics such as Fairy Tales, The Rainforest, Artists, Architects and Writers, Festivals, Mysteries and Film amongst others.
Scaffolding the Learning – Language does not exist in isolation. Students must understand how language is built, and connected together, and the foundations they do this on must be firm. The curriculum in languages has been carefully devised so that grammar is sequenced according to prior learning so that students are given the ability to master key concepts at every stage of their journey. Patterns are exposed so that students can take ownership of their language learning and develop the ability to become both flexible and creative with their written and spoken language.
Retrieval practice – This is at the heart of our language learning methodology. The skill of speaking and thinking simultaneously only develops when students are able to successfully store and retrieve information from their long-term memory. Out of lesson learning, alongside, well-planned retrieval in lessons, enables students to frequently access past vocabulary and concepts, which eradicates the need for rote learning or cramming. This allows students to truly become speakers, and writers, of a language.
Co Curriculum Enrichment
It is vital that students have the opportunity to experience as many of the different sides to learning a language as possible. In order to support this, we offer a range of enrichment opportunities both within and outside of lessons. These include poetry competitions, opportunities to explore festivals and traditions in other countries, language taster sessions in new languages, visits abroad to the countries where the taught languages are spoken, visiting speakers from universities and the opportunity to mentor and teach younger students.
In Year 7, students focus on developing speaking and listening skills in French, Spanish or German through the contexts of life as an alien, festivals, theme parks and the rainforest, then gradually begin to develop reading and writing skills as they progress through the year.
There is a focus on identifying, and building on, patterns of language upon which they will base future learning. Students learn how to express opinions and give details, as well as using and understanding past, present and future tenses.
In Year 8, students systematically cover the key grammar areas in French, Spanish or German over the course of the year and continue to cover Key Stage 3 content through creative contexts such as art, culture, famous landmarks, technology and countries in the French/German/Spanish speaking world. Students consolidate and build on structures learned in Year 7 to express opinions and ideas in a more sophisticated way.
In Year 9, students build on the grammar covered in Year 8 and continue to develop their Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing skills through key GCSE contexts such as the environment, social issues, work and schools through the discovery of literature and film. Much emphasis is placed on developing essential skills required for the GCSE exam, such as translation of prose and writing extended answers in the foreign language to unprepared questions.
Students may pick from a further modern foreign language qualification at KS4.
Students may study French, German or Spanish. All courses follow the AQA GCSE specification.
Further detail is available on the exam board website below