Modern Foreign Languages
The Modern Foreign Languages Department at Regents Park is a passionate and exciting area of the school that aims to provide students not only with new language experience, but also enrich their cultural understanding of the world around them. Although, we predominantly focus on studying French and Spanish, we are determined to also represent the many Community Languages that belong to the Regents Park students.
The Modern Foreign Languages curriculum has been designed to meet the needs of all learners, through a sequence of knowledge-rich language acquisition and opportunities to communicate this creatively. By the end of their time at Regents Park, it is our aim to ensure all students are confident in conversational basics of either French or Spanish, with many students taking this challenge further by studying at GCSE and hopefully beyond. Our curriculum includes a variety of relevant and practical topics such as food, health and transport. However, the curriculum also features more diverse and challenging topics, such as the environment and homelessness, thus allowing the opportunity to discuss these issues in the target language whilst incorporating higher order thinking. Modern Foreign Languages also serve an essential cultural purpose, exposing our learners to new cultures beyond our classroom walls. Our aim is to develop students’ linguistic capabilities, alongside the concept of cultural capital; ensuring students leave Regents Park with sufficient knowledge of the world around them.
When students join us at Regents Park, they often have contrasting previous experiences of studying a language at Key Stage 2. They therefore have the choice of learning either French or Spanish. At KS3 (Years 7 and 8), students will have three lessons a week. Students will begin their linguistic journey by learning the basics such as introductions, numbers and talking about their family. The scheme of work is then designed to quickly build upon this knowledge, incorporating other topics such as school, home and local area and holidays. Throughout all five years of study, students are expected to develop their skills in four essential areas: reading, writing, listening and speaking. As a department, we also prioritise the teaching of how to use a bilingual dictionary. Although our study is topic-based, the curriculum interleaves opportunities to develop essential grammar that can often lead to a better understanding of the grammar in their mother tongue. The department at Regents Park is committed to delivering both facets of language learning whilst remembering the importance of cultural capital - we strive to include authentic resources such as songs, poems, stories and recipes to ensure students can see the ‘real-world’ impact of their studies. As students develop competency in both grammar and a variety of topics in the target language, they will then continue their studies onto GCSE.
GCSE students also have three lessons a week. At Regents Park, students follow the AQA curriculum, where study is divided into three themes: Identity and Culture; Local, National, International and Global Areas of Interest and Current and Future Study and Employment. Although some topics are replicated from KS3, they are now taught in significantly more detail again interleaving the ability to give justified opinions on a variety of topics using different time frames. Students will also continue to develop their exam technique, in particular improving their confidence on role-plays and photo descriptions in preparation for the speaking exam. We also have the opportunity to get to grips further with longer literary texts, as they also feature in the GCSE specification.
As a department, we also provide extra-curricular provision. We have subscribed to a service called Language Nut that allows differentiated practice at both KS3 and KS4 in reading, writing, listening and speaking. We also offer Key Stage 3 cinema clubs, where students are able to watch French and Spanish films. We are also passionate about offering trips abroad and have visited Madrid, Paris and Barcelona in previous years.
Although, language can be acquired communicatively, teachers regularly monitor students’ exercise books and offer feedback, especially on longer written pieces. The Modern Foreign Languages department also prioritise lesson time in order to understand teacher feedback and more importantly for students to improve their work. Students’ progress is closely monitored with classroom teachers regularly reporting on progress, which is tracked and monitored by the Curriculum Leader who then reports to the Senior Leadership Team link for this area. Any under-performance is highlighted and interventions put in place, this is particularly pertinent with our GCSE students.
Assessment takes places in languages at the end of every topic, and normally students will be assessed in two of the four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking). Students should have the opportunity to be assessed in each of the four skills once a term. Within lessons, we also stress the importance of formative assessment and use a range of strategies to obtain instant feedback in our classrooms. Lessons are also regularly monitored, with a series of drop-ins planned throughout the year. This is also supported by student voice which allows the Curriculum Leader to see an honest overview of the department.