What is MFL about?
“One language sets you on a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.” -Frank Smith.
The MFL department is proud to be able to offer French, German, Spanish and a range of Community Languages as both GCSEs and A Levels to our students. As a department, we are committed to broadening pupils’ understanding of the world and developing strong, long-life linguistic skills. We use a variety of approaches to teaching including student presentations, the use of realia and I Pads to ensure students access current and relatable content.
The intent of the MFL department is that all our language learners develop into confident and articulate “world citizens” who consider themselves a part of a multicultural and mutually respectful society. We seek to ensure that all our students acquire the educational and cultural capital to which all children are entitled. It is our intent to ensure that our curriculum is challenging and inspiring for all students so as to push them academically and we aim to ensure that teaching and learning is rooted in the science of learning, through retrieval practice, spacing and chunking out the learning content. Finally, we want our pupils to have a love of languages and culture and make sure they realise the endless possibilities and opportunities that having a second (or third, or fourth!) language can bring.
What do we teach in MFL and why?
Whilst learning a foreign language at Kingsmead, students will learn not only how to speak, read, write and understand a different language, but will learn about cultures, traditions, customs and political values in numerous French, German and Spanish speaking countries across the world and compare them to our own value systems. By learning a different language, students’ literacy skills in English become more acute as we apply what we know to new contexts and develop our linguistic understanding.
Students will use rigour to understand and apply complex linguistic structures to their work and perfect their application of grammar. In Languages, students will also develop their collaboration skills as we work both independently and in groups to develop our aural and oral skills.
Our school motto is ‘Practise to Perfect’ because we believe that the only way someone succeeds is by having a clear idea of what they are aiming for; focusing on how to achieve it and putting in the work, no matter how difficult it might seem to start with. That applies as much to writing an essay or constructing an experiment as it does to playing the violin or learning your lines.
We want ‘every student to be able to access a university course or a professional career’. That is not necessarily a career as a ‘professional’ such as a doctor, teacher or vet, but a career that will take them somewhere and that they will have a professional attitude towards. We want to prepare students for life and to equip them to access the opportunities it offers. So, just as importantly, we want Kingsmead students and our colleagues to display and develop the following school personal values:
COURAGE: Aiming beyond our comfort zone, facing difficult challenges and doing things the right way, not just the quick way.
NURTURE: Believing everybody gets better by taking one step at a time and that it is our responsibility to find ways to help each other to do that.
COLLABORATION: Believing that working together lightens any burden and opens us to new ways of thinking.
RIGOUR: Thinking things through and working hard to ensure that we are delivering on the right things all of the time.
What does MFL enable our students to do?
Along with learning new topics, reinforcing knowledge every lesson through retrieval is the key aspect of learning a language: we give pupils plenty of opportunity to practice and therefore remember key vocabulary. This is the first step towards becoming independent as a language learner and therefore being able to use target language creatively and independently. Our lessons are grounded in use of the ‘Non-negotiable principles for outstanding teaching and learning’ set out in the Teaching and Learning policy, we ensure our staff have the tools to deliver outstanding MFL lessons which are engaging and allow ALL pupils to progress, irrespective of one’s starting point.
Our goal as a department is to ensure that:
How is the curriculum structured in MFL?
The KS3 course runs in Year 7 and 8 and is taught 4 hours over a fortnight. Our KS4 curriculum begins in Year 9 and is taught 5 hours over a fortnight. In Year 9 we start with a bridging KS3 to KS4 module at the start of the year, which consolidates key grammar and vocabulary from KS3. Students take their examinations for the GCSE course in Year 11. A Level languages are also offered as part of the curriculum offer at Kingsmead and students have 5 hours of lessons a week with subject specialists.
What specifications do we use?
What are the links between MFL and other subjects?
Think about cross curricular links, which other subjects this subject complements:
MFL offers a wide host of cross-curricular links to other subjects as well as reinforcing vocabulary, development of literacy and key terminology used in English. The study of a Language in our curriculum goes hand in hand with other subject areas across the school allowing transference of key knowledge and skills from one topic to another. Students can deepen their cultural understanding through Art and Media such as learning about different artists, a book, a film or the study of a custom or festival in the target language culture. At GCSE and A Level, students discuss global and social issues, which link to study in Science, Geography, Religious Education and Citizenship. There are very close links with the study of English and Media in terms of emerging students’ grammatical language, expressing opinions and developing arguments, as well as the use of literary texts both at GCSE and at A level.
What are the future careers students can take when they study MFL?
A qualification in a foreign language is highly advantageous: Given the current economic climate and the significance of globalisation in every aspect of our lives, being able to speak a second language opens numerous doors. Aside from jobs in translation, interpreting for the United Nations or NATO, working abroad for the Médecins Sans Frontières or other language specific careers, the UK loses around £50 billion a year due to a lack of language skills in the workforce. Therefore, having a languages qualification can give you the upper-hand when applying for jobs in any sector, for example law, finance and business.
What extra-curricular activities can students take part when you study MFL?
Trips abroad expose students to cultures we study, for example residential trips to Berlin, Madrid and Paris where students have the opportunity to explore other cultures and practice their studied language. Teaching is supplemented by enrichment days at the Institut Français, SOAS University of London, BFI and Queen Mary University. As well as the above we also offer modular competitions such as the Great British European bake off and European day of Languages form time Quiz’s.