Modern Foreign Languages

Welcome to MFL!

Cheam 071In the MFL department we are passionate about our communicative and interactive approach to language learning. We teach French, German and Spanish and our aim is to enable students to become competent communicators, building students’ confidence and their ability to communicate and develop as global citizens. We equip students with language qualifications which are increasingly seen as essential by employers and therefore improve their opportunities in the workplace and give them an understanding and an appreciation of other cultures – not forgetting the social and personal benefits. We aim to further students’ skills of empathy and creativity as well as their cultural insight and understanding, and their ability to communicate effectively with a high degree of fluency and accuracy.

Our Curriculum

All Year 7 pupils study French for three hours a week. In Year 8, all pupils continue with French and pupils who show an aptitude for language also study German. Currently all pupils are also offered the opportunity to study Spanish in Year 8. In Year 7, the main focus is on learning to use the Target Language as the language of communication, whilst developing grammatical competence. Pupils learn to express their needs and opinions; to participate in a number of increasingly complex and challenging classroom routines (such as discussing how they are, who is going to be a volunteer that lesson, evaluating each other’s performance, how long the register will take, etc). Pupils also learn to discuss their likes and dislikes; to use the past tense to talk about what they did at the weekend, and to express their appreciation of French paintings. They also develop their cultural understanding with the study of poetry and fables.

Cheam 080In Year 8 French, pupils continue to develop their grammatical competence, advancing their fluency in the target language. They work on the future tense; study a film, “Les Choristes” and the topic of the French-speaking world, which introduces pupils to Francophone cultures, traditions and societies around the world. In German and Spanish in Year 8 pupils focus on the language of communication and start to develop their grammatical competence in their second language.

Students are encouraged to continue with at least one language to GCSE level and in Key Stage 4 they have two or three lessons per week for French and two lessons in their second language. Students follow the AQA Languages GCSE course. Students are assessed in the four skill areas of listening, speaking, reading and writing.

We currently offer French, German and Spanish with AQA at A Level. Students have five lessons per week as well as a weekly session with a Foreign Language Assistant in small groups. This is an invaluable support to aid their speaking skills and prepare them for the challenge of the A Level oral exams. The main topic areas include the topics of changing family models, the digital world, immigration and politics in the Target Language countries as well as the study of two cultural topics, a book and a film. In French this is the book Un Sac de Billes by Joseph Joffo and Kassovitz's film La Haine. In Spanish the book is La Casa de Bernada Alba by Federico García Lorca and the film is Ocho Apellidos Vascos by Martínez-Lázaro. In German the book is Der Besuch der Alten Dame by Dürrenmatt and the film, Das Leben der Anderen by Donnersmarck.

Enrichment and Extra Curricular Activities

The MFL department organises a variety of trips to enhance students’ learning. These vary from year to year, but typically include: an A Level trip to a European Languages Conference in Paris, a trip to Berlin in collaboration with the History department and a Paris trip which includes a study of 20th century French artists. We also offer a variety of opportunities to enrich students’ language learning with cinema visits and visits to French, German and Spanish cultural centres in London.