At Millfields Primary School we believe that the learning of a foreign language provides a valuable educational, social and cultural experience for our pupils.
Language learning helps pupils to develop their ability to communicate, including key skills of speaking and listening and extends their knowledge of how language works. It provides excitement, enjoyment and challenge for children and teachers, helping to create enthusiastic learners and to develop positive attitudes to language learning throughout life. Learning another language gives children a new perspective on the world, encouraging them to understand their own cultures and those of others. The natural links between languages and other areas of the curriculum can enrich the overall teaching and learning experience.
All Key Stage 2 pupils are entitled to foreign language learning in school time. Millfields Primary School recognises the value of this initiative and will provides age-appropriate Primary Languages learning opportunities for all children in Years 3–6. The focus language taught in our school is Spanish.
Aims and objectives of Primary Languages education at Millfields Primary School
The aims of Primary Languages teaching at Millfields Primary School are to
- foster an interest in language learning by introducing children to other languages in a way that is enjoyable and accessible to all pupils;
- stimulate and encourage children’s curiosity about language and creativity in experimenting with it;
- support oracy and literacy, and in particular develop speaking and listening skills;
- help children develop their awareness of cultural similarities and differences;
- lay the foundations for future language study by pupils;
- provide an added perspective on first language teaching and learning;
- give an extra dimension to teaching and learning across the curriculum.
Speaking and listening
The children will learn to
- listen carefully and recognise sounds and combinations of sounds which are similar to, or different from, those of English;
- understand and respond with increasing competence, accuracy and confidence in a range of situations;
- join in songs, rhymes, raps and stories which enable them to practise the sounds of the language in an enjoyable and non-threatening way;
- take part in conversations at an appropriate level, reacting to instructions and questions and expressing opinions and feelings;
- memorise and recite short texts, and prepare and give a talk on a familiar subject confidently and with regard to the audience.
Reading and writing
The children will learn to
- read stories and rhymes for enjoyment and to gain awareness of the structure of the written language;
- read, copy and write independently familiar words and simple phrases in context e.g. classroom items, display labels, weather chart, date;
- write sentences and short texts independently and from memory.
The children will learn to
- describe the life of children in the countries where the language is spoken;
- identify similarities and differences in everyday life, social conventions, traditional stories and celebrations;
- recognise how symbols, products and objects can represent the culture of a country, and how aspects of the culture of different countries become incorporated in the daily life of others;
- recognise and mistrust stereotypes, and understand and respect cultural diversity.
Teaching and learning Primary Languages at Millfields Primary School
At Millfields Primary School we endeavour to integrate language learning into everyday school life, with teachers, teaching assistants and children using and experimenting with their knowledge of different languages whenever the opportunity arises. We foster a problem-solving approach, giving children opportunities to work out language use for themselves in a supportive context where risk-taking and creativity are encouraged, and there is an emphasis on having fun with the new language.
There are three main contexts in which language teaching and learning take place.
Although Primary Languages cuts across the curriculum, children are taught specific skills, concepts and vocabulary in a weekly dedicated lesson with the class teacher and teaching assistant.
Languages embedded in school day
Languages are part of the day to day life of the school. For example, teachers use the foreign language to take the register. Children are encouraged to respond using the language they have learned, and sometimes teachers and pupils develop new language skills together, teachers acting as role models in the learning process. Also in school assemblies children perform, or sing. This integrated approach is a strong model for teaching and learning, giving children opportunities to use and develop their language for communicating in stress-free real-life contexts
Primary Languages provides a basis for teaching and learning about other cultures, and this is incorporated into many areas of the curriculum including personal and social education and citizenship, geography, religious education, design and technology, music, art and dance. Efforts are made to ensure that teaching material across the curriculum includes a ‘flavour’ of the countries where the focus language is spoken.
Primary Languages teaching at Millfields Primary School is fully inclusive. No child is excluded by reason of a learning difficulty, or because they have English as an additional language. Experience has indeed shown that such children can derive particular benefit from taking part in Primary Languages learning activities in which they may be less disadvantaged than in other areas of the curriculum. It provides opportunities for EAL children to shine, to teach, model and share their bilingualism (or trilingual for some!). It can be a real celebration of their heritage. As well as raising self-esteem and confidence. Language learning activities are planned in such a way as to encourage the full and active participation of all pupils. Work is differentiated as appropriate to the needs of individual children. Pairs and groups for collaborative work may be made up in different ways, depending on the task.
Planning and resources
Primary Languages is planned following the broad guidelines set out in the Key Stage 2 Framework for Languages. The school’s Scheme of Work (which is updated regularly) ensures that there is continuity and progression in both skills and content across all classes. Teachers collaborate over planning, sharing ideas for activities, resources and special events. Published resources including fiction and non-fiction texts, posters, CDs, DVDs and interactive computer software are available for use throughout the school.
Teachers and other staff are given opportunities and encouragement to develop their own language and language teaching skills, through in-school workshops. There are also opportunities to meet native speakers and in school and in their own countries through the school’s International links. The subject leader for Primary Languages identifies school needs and circulates professional development opportunities.
Monitoring progress and assessing attainment
Opportunities to monitor the children’s progress in Primary Languages are built into our programmes of study. Most assessment is formative and is used to support teaching and learning and inform future planning. Assessments are based on observation of children working on different oral activities and (where appropriate) written product. For reporting purposes, pupil’s attainments in listening, speaking, reading and writing are given levels based on the Languages Ladder descriptions).
Links outside school
Primary Languages gives us an ideal opportunity for making links outside school. We encourage children to share their experiences of visiting or living in other countries, and we welcome visiting speakers who are able to talk about life in the countries where the focus language is spoken.