High standards, high expectations, high aspirations

Modern Foreign Languages

Departmental Aims

The study of MFL is an important part of the pupils’ curriculum. It equips them with a useful practical tool for communication in an international context; it strengthens their ability to express themselves; it enables them to develop transferable language learning skills; it encourages them to analyse a foreign Language and compare it to their own; it provides an insight into other nations, countries and cultures and thus widens their intellectual horizons.

We aim to broaden pupils’ knowledge and skills beyond the subject specification. In addition to the obvious benefits for the key skills of communication and literacy, MFL learners are required to work collaboratively with their peers and develop independent research skills. Pupils’ ICT literacy is progressed as they use the internet to access authentic target Language. The study of MFL requires pupils to explore the notions of citizenship and personal and social responsibility.

The MFL courses aim to develop the pupils’ communicative competence in the four equally important attainment targets of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Lessons are taught as far as possible in the target Language (TL) thus allowing the students to see it as a valid medium of communication. They, in turn, should be encouraged to use maximum TL in the classroom and to ask for help when necessary in that Language. Much of the lesson content involves the development and practising of oral and comprehension skills with writing tasks most commonly set as prep to enable pupils to work more easily at their own level and speed. However, it is important that grammar is introduced from the early years in order that pupils gain confidence and competence in TL structures. Regular writing assignments and tests in vocabulary and grammar should be set to support this.

The MFL department is committed to teaching Languages at a level which is appropriate to the ability of each pupil. It is important that each pupil is able to realise his or her potential. Teaching strategies should be varied and staff should be willing to try out new ideas and approaches in order to encourage interest and enthusiasm to promote effective learning. Staff should aim to develop a relationship with pupils, which will allow them to recognise the individual pupils’ needs and to be seen as approachable by the pupils.

Above all, we are committed to making Language learning an enjoyable experience. Pupils must feel confident using the foreign Language and see us as relevant to their needs. Serious productive work should not preclude fun.

Why study…….?

French

France is the homeland of countless inspirational, iconic artists and musicians, sports heroes and film stars, as well as the source of inspired cuisine enjoyed throughout the world. French-speaking countries throughout the world have so much to offer us in terms of cultural experiences, influences on Western lifestyle and even the food we buy at the supermarket … and possibly as holiday destinations! Among them we can count France, Canada, The Channel Islands, Luxembourg, Belgium, Madagascar, the Ivory Coast, the Seychelles, Morocco, Tunisia, Haiti…. the French-speaking world can enrich our lives on a daily basis.

So why study French? Who would not want to enhance their career prospects and develop their knowledge and understanding of one of our nearest European neighbours? Learning an additional modern language is more important than ever before and can bring numerous advantages, among them a better understanding of the languages we speak at home and an enhanced appreciation of the world and its diversity.

German

German is one of the 4 main languages studied at BMA with a number of experienced specialists. The subject offers a broad approach to topic based language acquisition, catering for the mixed ability scenario as well as for the setted groups. As a subject, it is well established with its own foreign language assistant and sharing of departmental multi – media resources, as well as offering pupils opportunities for contact with native speakers via trips.

Arabic

Arabic is the official language of over 20 countries and there are well over 300 million native speakers of the language. With the growing importance of the Middle East in international affairs, there is thus an extreme shortage of workers in the West who are versed in Arabic language and culture. Those who study Arabic can find careers in a variety of fields: journalism, business and industry, education, finance and banking, translation and interpretation, consulting, foreign service and intelligence, and many others.

Initiatives to integrate the Arab world into the global economy are opening up numerous potential new business opportunities. The Arab region with its rapidly growing population provides a huge export market for goods and services. With a GDP of over 600 billion dollars annually, the region also has much to offer the world market. In order to do business effectively, one must understand the language and culture of the people with whom one hopes to negotiate and conduct trade.

Spanish

In Europe, Spanish is the second most popular second language, after English. With some 400 million speakers, Spanish is the fourth most commonly spoken language in the world. There are also other reasons why study Spanish. For example:

  • Spanish is easy to learn.
  • Learn Spanish to enhance your travel experiences.
  • Use Spanish to improve your employment potential.
  • Learn Spanish to improve your knowledge of your own language.
  • You can enjoy amazing books and movies.

Teaching and Learning

European Languages

In both KS3 & KS4, students study French, German, Spanish or Arabic.

In French, we follow the textbook Expo and make use of the schemes of work, assessment resources, additional exercises and all other resources made available with this course. Work and resources are differentiated accordingly depending on the group and abilities within each group.

In German and Spanish, we study Echo and Mira respectively using all associated resources as well as internet materials. In Arabic, we follow no particular textbook.

It is not expected that teachers follow the textbooks as a matter of course – the schemes of work outline key teaching points each term and teachers adapt their own materials to these accordingly.

Students are allocated 3 lessons of MFL teaching each week.

The scheme of work overview allows for medium / long term planning and ensures consistency and continuity across the department.

By the start of the summer term of Year 9, teachers will effectively start to teach GCSE courses although students will not make a final option until the second half term. We use the AQA / Edexcel courses for all languages in the department.

In Years 10 and 11, all students study their GCSEs in French, German, or Arabic with speaking and written elements examined throughout both Years. Testing will take place at appropriate times during the Academic Year according to student performance. After school revision sessions take place on a weekly basis with an emphasis on exam skills and vocabulary.

Community Languages

Our languages offer necessarily reflects the diversity of our student population.

At BMA, we believe that it is essential to recognize the importance of the languages spoken by our students at home. Celebrating and promoting these diverse languages gives our students confidence and raises their self-esteem. It is also a central tenet of our contribution to community cohesion. Where possible, we support our students to achieve their potential in their home language by providing support and accreditation. In the past year we were able to accredit 13 languages: French, German, Spanish, Polish, Arabic, Russian, Turkish, Urdu, Hindi, Mandarin, Bengali, Portuguese, Panjabi, and Cantonese.

 

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