Foreign language at Elmridge
Learning a foreign language shows a willingness to be responsive to the culture whose language is being studied. Besides promoting the acquisition of linguistic skills, language also fosters tolerance and respect for others, and an appreciation of their skills and achievements. Elmridge Primary School acknowledges the importance of cross-cultural understanding and this is reflected in the inclusion of foreign language as an integral part of the school curriculum. The aims of foreign language teaching:
- to develop the ability to communicate with native speakers of other languages
- to develop awareness of our geographical location and culture within a wider European and world context
- to give pupils an insight into the workings of their own language through comparative language study
- to promote respect and integration within the class through role play, pair work and team games
- to support the transition to Key Stage 3 where language learning is compulsory
- to improve skills in other subjects through cross-curricular links
- to foster tolerance and respect for other cultures
- to heighten pupils’ awareness of careers that require foreign language skills
The place of foreign language in the school curriculum
Foreign language – Spanish at present – is taught to Foundation Stage ,Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 pupils in Reception and Years 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 on a weekly basis. Lessons are currently taught by the class teachers in a main teaching session then followed up by some shorter sessions later in the week. The duration of the lessons are 20 minutes in Reception and Nursery, 30 minutes in Years 1, 2, 3 and 4 progressing to 40 minutes in Years 5 & 6. Each main lesson is supported by follow–up language parcels.
Spanish is also taught during Spanish weeks or International theme weeks. Teaching methods aim to develop the pupils’ ability in all four skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. The representation of the four skills in the schemes of work alters as pupils move through the school with lessons in Foundation Stage and Key Stage One being more speaking and listening based. Reading and writing have a higher profile in Key Stage Two. Pupils’ skills are developed with links made to the school’s scheme of work and the new National Curriculum. Initially, topic areas are not as evident, as lessons are aimed at giving pupils interesting and authentic experiences of the sound of the language using songs and rhymes. In addition pupils will develop a basic knowledge of classroom vocabulary and phrases. The aim for the first few years will be to enable the pupils to develop their pronunciation and their ear for the language and to gain confidence responding to classroom instructions in the target language. The goal in the first two years is to nurture a love for and interest in language learning without vocabulary acquisition constituting the main focus. Many Spanish songs and rhymes are brought into the lessons to give the pupils’ learning experiences an authentic Spanish feel and enrich the cultural experiences.
With Spanish now being taught across the school, many areas will be revisited. The aim of the teaching is that the pupils do not simply learn skills and vocabulary relating solely to individual topics, but learn transferable skills that can be built upon throughout the age ranges. In Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 more topic-based work is incorporated into lessons but the main focus of lessons is nevertheless skill development as opposed to simply vocabulary acquisition. Teaching techniques include:
- the presentation of vocabulary using flashcards and Interactive Whiteboard
- repetition of words and phrases
- finger rhymes
- role play
- reading of real story books
- streaming videos from FL websites eg Babelzone
- Reading comprehension texts
For some the teaching takes place in a mixed ability environment. The structure of the teaching sessions does not follow a fixed format; it varies. Nevertheless, objectives are shared with the pupils in each lesson and a short plenary takes place at the end of each lesson to assess and review the pupils’ learning Contribution of the subject to other areas of the curriculum Teaching Foreign Language is a subject in its own right and has specific skills and knowledge, which need to be taught and learnt. However some of these skills and knowledge can be applied across the curriculum to support work in other subjects, particularly in English.
The school has a full range of resources to support the teaching of this subject throughout all year groups. Resources are upgraded and replenished when the need arises. An annual stock take and audit is undertaken by the subject coordinator in the summer term in preparation for the next academic year.