French at St Teresa’s School
“Learning a language enriches the curriculum. It provides excitement, enjoyment and challenge for children and teachers, helping to create enthusiastic learners and to develop positive attitudes to language learning throughout life. The natural links between languages and other areas of the curriculum can enhance the overall teaching and learning experience. The skills, knowledge and understanding gained can make a major contribution to the development of children’s oracy and literacy and to their understanding of their own culture/s and those of others.” The Key Stage 2 Framework for Languages (DfES 2005)
“Learning a foreign language is a liberation from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures. A high-quality languages education should foster pupils’ curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world. The teaching should enable pupils to express their ideas and thoughts in another language and to understand and respond to its speakers, both in speech and in writing. It should also provide opportunities for them to communicate for practical purposes, learn new ways of thinking and read great literature in the original language. Language teaching should provide the foundation for learning further languages, equipping pupils to study and work in other countries.” (Key Stage 2 Languages Programme of Study, 2013)
Why is learning foreign languages important?
Learning a foreign language provides a valuable educational, social and cultural experience for our pupils. It helps children to develop key communication skills – listening, speaking, reading and writing - and deepens their knowledge of how language works. They are also given a new perspective on the world which helps them to understand their own culture and those of others.
We aim is to develop a positive attitude to language learning by introducing children to French in a way that is enjoyable and accessible to all pupils. We want to stimulate and encourage children’s curiosity about language and to encourage them to be creative in experimenting with it. We support communication skills – listening, speaking, reading and writing – across the curriculum and aim to lay the foundations for future language study. We help the children to develop their awareness of cultural similarities and differences.
At St Teresa’s all children from Year 3 to Year 6 study French. Over the four years the children cover a range of topics through the QCA scheme of work. They develop their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills as well as intercultural understanding. The lessons are active and fun, allowing the children opportunities to work in pairs, groups and individually. They learn through a wide range of activities such as songs, puppets, dance, drama, games and stories. Each class has at least a 45-minute French lesson every week.
To support learning at home, the children take it in turns to take home a bag of activities, ‘un sac français’, which contains games and activities to explore the language. The school also subscribes to two websites which children can access at home. Both websites link directly to the unit the children are studying and have relevant activities to practise what they are learning in class. There are also French books and dual language books in the library that the children can borrow.