Modern Foreign Languages: French, German & Mandarin
Above all we want students to enjoy learning a language and to achieve success. We want to give them confidence enabling them to understand and speak basic German, Spanish and French accurately enough to cope in a variety of situations when they are in Europe.
The courses we run
The MFL Faculty at Great Baddow High School is in an advantageous position of being able to offer German and Spanish to students from Year 7.
In year 7 the top two sets of the B and G band will study both German and Spanish. Students in B3 and B4 will study just Spanish and students in G3, G4, and G5 will study just German.
In year 8 and 9 all students in sets 1 and 2 learn both French and German. Students in lower sets will study either French or German.
This presents our dual linguists the advantages and opportunities arising from an early start on their second language. This allows for significant consolidation and enrichment from both languages throughout Key Stage 3 and beyond when considering GCSE and A Level at Key Stages 4 and 5.
Students of German, Spanish and French have access to fully functioning Stimmt, ¡Viva! and Studio “Activelearn” course related resources which include listening and video activities. Students might be set homework from these, and the reference pages for vocabulary provide both spoken and written vocabulary for students to practice. Parents often ask us how they can support their child when learning a foreign language and the vocabulary pages at the end of each module would be an excellent place to start.
- The aim of the Key Stage 3 curriculum is to:
- Enable students to survive in a foreign country.
- Have an insight in to the culture of that country. This will also include access to authentic materials
- Be able to understand and give information on up-to-date and relevant topics which are pertinent to students’ everyday lives.
- Teach grammar which supports communication and to prepare them for KS4 qualifications
- Inform students on career opportunities using languages to help with options choices in year 9.
Students are regularly assessed in the skills of reading listening speaking and writing to monitor and support their progress against their target grades. Vocabulary is regularly tested and students are shown many ways to best learn their vocabulary.
We offer a GCSE qualification in German or French. Pupils can access online resources from the Stimmt and Studio courses online.
The five skills of listening, speaking, reading, writing and translation will be explored and developed across a wide range of topic areas including;
Theme 1: Identity and culture,
Theme 2: Local, national, international and global areas of interest,
Theme 3: Current and future study and employment.
All 4 elements of the paper (listening, speaking, reading and writing) are equally weighted at 25% and are examined at the end of year 11.
We offer an A ‘level qualification in French or German. Students are taught in small groups in a purpose-built Sixth Form area equipped with PCs by subject specialists with an extensive knowledge of the language and culture of their chosen language.
We regularly review syllabus to ensure we accommodate the strengths and interests of our students. Students cover a broad range of subjects in the language and are encouraged to express their opinions on such topics as the media, health and fitness, environment, equal rights, culture and contemporary life in France/Germany.
The exam is composed of 6 units:
AS and A-level
- Listening, reading and writing
Key Stage 3:
All students are given a Target Grade and a Challenging Target Grade at the beginning of each school year. Throughout Key Stage 3 students are assessed in the 4 skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing every term and for each assessment they will receive a National Curriculum level. All assessments are made to reflect the new GCSE format so that students are prepared from the very beginning to tackle exam style questions
Key Stage 4:
At the beginning of Key Stage 4 students are calculated a predicted grade based on amongst other things, end of Key Stage 3 data. In Year 10 and 11, students complete regular exam practice for each element of the exam. For each of these tasks students are given a GCSE grade so that they can see how well they are performing in comparison to their predicted grade.
Key Stage 5:
In the 6th form students are assessed regularly in all four skills.
Past papers along with tasks created in-house are used to assess students’ progress in the 4 skills throughout the two year course.
Monitoring and Intervention
In all Key Stages at Great Baddow High School students’ progress is monitored closely. Our aim is for every child to achieve their best and enjoy languages. We know that if a child is successful they are much more likely to enjoy our subjects. To help our students succeed we have put in place a number of interventions to support students if they are struggling. These include our supportive marking policy that ensures a constructive target every time books are marked, lunchtime and after school support and regular one to one feedback. We also offer opportunities for students to purchase GCSE revision guides and we offer students extra revision sessions every week and before a PPE. After the PPE we give pupils the opportunity to purchase differentiated revision guides as well as supplying in-house made materials to match the needs of our students. Students having difficulty with languages have the opportunity to a 30 minute one to one session with our Foreign Language Assistant.
We believe that literacy has an important role to play in MFL lessons. As such at Key Stage 3 each class has a lesson every half term in the library where they have the opportunity to read our Mary Glasgow Magazines. These contain up to date articles on fashion, sports and current music, TV artists and current events. Students then get to answer puzzles and quizzes on what they have read.
In lessons each student is given a vocabulary list for each unit of study to support their learning. We use these in conjunction with grammar lessons to help students understand how a language is constructed. With this knowledge we encourage students to adopt patterns and manipulate language to say more of what they want and not just copy and repeat set phrases. We believe that grammar has a very important role in language learning and provides us with an important role in whole school literacy. With this in mind we focus on identifying patterns in both languages and English to help students understand how language works.
Homework is regularly set in line with the School’s homework policy. Tasks are varied. For example, in KS3 pupils could be set a learning vocabulary task, research, a task from the online resources we subscribe to. Older pupils will also be expected to prepare for their PPEs or exams. The department considers homework to be an essential part of pupils’ learning and progress and supporting them in their linguistic and cultural knowledge.
Expertise of staff
The department has 7 highly experienced subject specialist teachers. We have German, Spanish and French specialists who teach the language to A-Level as well as dual-linguists. Additionally, we have our own French and German Foreign Language Assistants who support pupils in class, in small groups and one-to-one. A Mandarin teacher is employed to deliver Mandarin twice a week as “twilight” sessions to our Most Able students.
Young Leaders and Outreach
As part of the Leadership Award in Modern Languages students have learnt to become language teachers – no easy task! Their training has involved planning quality 30 minute-lessons using a variety of teaching methods to engage their young learners. They have discussed at length how to plan their lessons, they have helped and supported each other and made some excellent resources. They teach Year 4/5 students who visit us early on Friday mornings for Breakfast Club.
European Day of Languages
The Department takes the opportunity every year to get the whole school involved in the National European Day of Languages. Activities have involved using numbers throughout the school in French, German, Spanish and Italian. This year students took part in cultural quizzes and we celebrated diversity by plotting on a world map all the places in the world pupils have visited and also if pupils’ heritage was in some way from another country.
Enrichment in MFL
The Modern Languages Faculty is excited to be able to offer our students a variety of activities to enrich and extend their linguistic skills.
Our Gifted and Talented linguists are selected on their flair and natural aptitude in either French, German or both, as well as their ability to extend their learning beyond the classroom. The MFL Gifted and Talented register is reviewed and updated at the start of each academic year and parents are informed in writing if their child is one of our Gifted and Talented linguists.
Gifted and Talented linguists are given the opportunity to participate in MFL specific Enrichment Days where the focus is very much on using their skills to either learn different languages or indeed to enrich and expand the language they are studying. These Enrichment Days cover global aspects of language learning, including culture, traditions, history as well as communication and language skills. To date, our enrichment days have covered Japanese, Swahili and Spanish.
The MFL Faculty is also pleased to be able to offer Mandarin lessons as twice weekly twilight sessions where students can gain their qualifications in listening, speaking, reading and writing. A Chinese teacher of Mandarin is provided by the Essex Jiangsu Chinese Centre to deliver exciting and vibrant lessons after school to our Beginner and Intermediate students. We have seen our numbers flourish and the popularity of Mandarin grow.
Students in KS4 and 5 also have the opportunity to visit other language specialist schools, colleges and universities and participate in events, activities and lectures.
Learning from home and useful websites
To support your child outside the classroom, here is a list of useful websites for KS3, KS4 and KS5:
www.pearsonactivelearn.com – This is a website we subscribe to which has tailor made activities for the courses we teach. This provides excellent reinforcement to what is taught in lessons.
www.quizlet.com – A vocabulary revision site
www.duolingo.com – A vocabulary revision site similar to “memrise”
www.senecalearning.com – A site for free, online, interactive revision of topics and grammar.
www.GCSEpod.com – A site the school subscribes to. This supports pupils with interactive videos for all subjects taught at the school.
Portal and VLE
From the portal, students are able to access the following:
- textbooks used in class
- KS3 homework booklets
- KS3 vocabulary sheets
- exchange folder: students can access resources added by their classroom teacher such as Powerpoint presentations, worksheets, listening practice, past exam papers…
- school closure work.
Our faculty, affectionately known by us as the `penthouse suite’, has far reaching views in each direction across town and country. It is spacious, attractive and welcoming. Learning takes place in a stimulating suite of bright, tidy and well-resourced rooms including a brand new set of laptops which is exclusively for the use of the MFL department, with the latest technology. For A Level students, we can offer a brand new teaching suite designed especially around the needs of these pupils. Each teaching room is equipped with the latest course books, up to date dictionaries and smart screens in order to support both class based and independent learning. Every student has access via the internet to course material tailored to the students courses which is created to reinforce learning either at home or in the classroom.
A flavour of our Educational Visits
German Exchange Trip Article and Translation
Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural education through Modern Foreign Languages
Great Baddow High School is committed to ensuring the best possible qualifications for each and every child. However, we also aim to ensure that students develop to their full potential as people:
This is about the development of a sense of identity, self-worth, personal insight, meaning and purpose.
- Exploration of religious and non-religious celebrations and festivals in Francophone countries and in German speaking countries, reflecting on their meaning and significance and how they may differ with our own celebrations.
- At A-Level we explore the Muslim faith in Francophone countries and German speaking countries, and the impact and issues arising from tension, xenophobia, fear etc.
Moral development is about students building a framework of moral values which regulates their personal behaviour. It is the development of understanding society’s shared and agreed values, the range of views and the reasoning behind them and the student forming their own opinion.
- Exploration of relationships between friends and family members.
- Discussion about rights and responsibilities of young people
- Exploration of and discussion about moral tension that young people face when discussing an aspect of youth culture (A Level)
- Exploration of and discussion about ‘fair trade’ business, equal opportunities the environment, death penalty, organ donation (A Level)
Social development is about young people working effectively with each other and participating successfully in the community as a whole. The development of the skills and personal qualities necessary for living and working together. The functioning effectively in a multi-racial, multi-cultural society, including understanding people as well as understanding society’s institutions. Social development looks at the structures and characteristics of economic, political principles and organisations, roles and responsibilities and life as a citizen, parent or worker in a community. It also involves the development of the inter-personal skills necessary for successful relationships.
- Learning how to work independently, in groups and in pairs
- Exploration of healthy lifestyles and reference to the negative impact of smoking, alcohol or drug abuse
- Discussion about rights and responsibilities and about age of consent for various rights
- Exploration of issues surrounding drugs, smoking, alcohol consumption
- Social exclusion e.g. homelessness
Cultural development is about our students understanding not only their own culture but that of the world about them. It is about understanding and feeling comfortable in a variety of cultures and being able to operate in the emerging world of shared experiences provided by television, travel and the internet. The key message is that “different isn’t wrong”:
- visits to France and Germany and links with Bavaria
- an ever increasing uptake in a foreign language at GCSE
- understanding of the multicultural make-up of France and German
- contact with native speakers.
- introduction of Spanish to the curriculum.