“But everybody speaks English, anyway!”
Actually, 75% of the world’s population doesn’t!
Communication is absolutely essential to everyday life; it’s how we connect with others, establish relationships and how we share our thoughts, intentions, objectives and feelings. In Modern Foreign Language (MFL) we not only learn how to communicate in a different language but we also research and study cultural aspects of where the language is spoken, thus developing empathy, broadening horizons and celebrating the similarities and variances of different cultures.
Many of us know that studying a foreign language improves our literacy and increases our vocabulary in English but the process offers so many other skills and opportunities such as harnessing our adventurous spirit; giving us the confidence to explore and appreciate other cultures as well as fully experiencing new travel destinations. Students develop a “have a go” attitude where they learn from their own (and each others’) mistakes and are proud to contribute. We celebrate enquiring minds, where students want to discover a different part of the world and those who live there. How wonderful to imagine visiting different parts of the world and be able to communicate with the locals. In MFL we help students to make this dream a reality.
Polyglots - people who are able to speak more than one language are highly valued; improving job flexibility, prospects and salary. As globalisation expands further, so do opportunities in the world of work; languages are an asset no matter what the trade or profession your career path takes you and this opens up opportunities whether we are applying for an apprenticeship, working in industry or areas of higher study. Employers value the ability to communicate with others and this can help to create better relationships with clients and/or staff. Learning a language provides us with a range of other skills such as flexibility of employment; global mobility; global communication; self expression and greater access to your hobbies. The skills used to learn a language improve brain function and once you have learned one language, learning another (and another…) becomes even easier.
At Newark Academy we offer a range of languages delivered by a committed, enthusiastic team whose passion for sharing and experiencing different cultures and languages cannot be quashed! In response to parents’ and students’ requests we are excited about offering 3 languages in Year 7; French; German and Spanish, giving students the opportunity to experience and develop learning language skills and gain knowledge of a variety of cultures. Students practise four skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) in all 3 languages and then specialise in one of these languages from the first term of Year 7. We also promote the development of students’ own community languages and many students who speak other language(s) at home achieve an additional qualification.
Our varied curriculum is underpinned by the following principles:
- Careful sequencing scaffolding of topics about which students have an interest (e.g. school, family, hobbies, holidays): The content is accessible but also aspirational
- Using a hierarchy of language – developing grammar and vocabulary via topics; this could be described as adding “layers” to the ability to communicate or as building blocks: all language learned even at the beginning of Year 7 is used regularly at A Level and beyond.
- Continual revisiting and interleaving of vocabulary and grammar during lessons and via assessment. Developing the ability to transfer grammar skills is crucial
- Careful planning of the four skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) where staff and students build up an accurate picture of an individual’s aptitude in each
- Opportunities to practise – evaluation is often via the medium of self and peer assessment and games are often part of the classroom experience.
- Over time students develop ability to access and create more complex language
- Enquiring minds are encouraged! We develop the thirst for knowledge and we provide opportunities to experience language first hand during European trips (when we are able to).
Links to useful information