Modern Foreign Languages
We teach Spanish across Key Stage Two. We believe that every child can acquire a second language and that the process of acquiring this should be enjoyable and immerse children in a wider understanding of the countries that speak Spanish. Whilst Spanish is taught formally across Key Stage Two, Mandarin, French and Japanese clubs have been run ensuring a wider language offer.
What is our approach to MFL?
Our approach to the teaching of Spanish will help children develop their competencies in four skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing enabling them to become confident communicators with a love of languages following a positive experience of language acquisition. We also look to develop skills that can be transferred to other areas of learning (trial and error, adopting a different perspective, interpretation of clues, problem solving, teamwork, empathy etc.)
We aim for children to be able to do in Spanish what they can do in English meaning that we tap into their interests and help them to see language as more than just a means to an end’
Units are carefully planned so that they build on prior knowledge and allow the class to revisit topics using a spiral approach to learning, increasing depth and complexity, and adding new meaning to them; every time a target language word is used, children add wider meaning to it, and reconstruct their own ideas about it. (A separate overview sets out what children are taught each year and how this progresses through the key stage).
What does our approach to MFL look like in the classroom?
Spanish lessons take place once a week for 45 minutes and are structured as follows: starter activity, activity 1 and 2, closure and story time. We seek to create an environment where every child feels confident to ‘have a go’. Teaching is largely through the use of Spanish aiming for 80% of all utterances. Children figure out, try to guess, anticipate and help each other work out what is being said. This means developing not only listening but other skills too. Common Atwood teaching approaches such as 'Memory Workout' and 'Star Words' are also used.
Lessons are learner centred with a guided participation approach. They focus on game-based activities and tasks that are meaningful to the child. This context involves social and classroom routines that are already familiar to the pupils in English. Children also record key Spanish vocabulary in their books.
We encourage children to:
· develop their confidence to speak without fear of making mistakes
· try and ‘take risks’ with the language
· get familiar with sounds and basic structures and slowly move to more complex ones
· get use to their own voice and self in a different language
The topics addressed are not seen as a ‘list of vocabulary’ to memorise. Instead, they are approached as topics that are familiar, relevant, meaningful, close to the first words most children naturally acquire when learning their mother tongue and easy enough for them to relate to. Children are also given homework every week usually based around further research on what they have learned in the lesson and inspires their interest.
How do we measure success in MFL?
The aim is to give the students plenty of opportunities to show how they develop their skills to reach objectives and be able to show that they can communicate. Progression is monitored and recorded throughout the term as evidence to measure how successfully students:
· become familiar with and are able to use specific ‘content’ effectively (including vocab, basic to more complex language structures, grammar, etc.)
· begin to understand how the language works/functions in terms of basic patterns, rules, etc.
The following tools are used for formative assessment:
· Class observation of listening and reading, speaking and writing ‘revision’ games
· Monitoring progression document: record keeping as the child reaches specific targets set indicating the competence expected (linked to objectives and clear assessment criteria with achievement levels – Emergent, Expected and Exceeding
· Task/activity production (written evidence) recorded in the exercise books
Speak like a Native, a language education provider, are used to support the design and delivery of Spanish teaching at Ark Atwood.
Ark Atwood MFL Content Overview (Oct 2022 Update).pdf