Modern Froeign Languages - Curriculum Vision

Head of Department - Miss Hannah Mond

Full Curriculum Map: MFL Curriculum.pdf

The MFL curriculum has two aims:

1) to be confident and proficient French speakers 

2) be curious about Francophone culture (its history, literature, society)

We want Ark Acton students to have the confidence and skills to: a) have a foundational conversation in French with native speakers talking about themselves, their interests and their opinions on topical issues, and to ask questions, and b) use French with purpose in businesses such as restaurants, shops and accommodation. In order to gain the fundamental communication skills there is a strong focus in year 7 and 8 on high frequency structures and cognates. Our approach at KS3 is to flood the pupils with the same language over and over again until they can produce it automatically. We try to emulate as best we can the process of learning a language naturally, whereby babies slowly but consistently build up their vocabulary schema. Each week only a handful of new words are introduced, and they are always used with the previous language, building on what pupils have already learnt. As a result, listening drills, spaced practice and deliberate practice are key characteristics especially at KS3 in order to embed high frequency language into the pupils. Lessons have opportunities for pupils to read out loud and master French pronunciation, listen to spoken French, translate from French into English and vice versa, read and understand long texts. At the end of each topic, pupils will write extended paragraphs in French from memory. By the end of KS3 pupils will be able to have a conversation introducing themselves and give their opinions on hobbies, school subjects, food, clothes, the weather, family and relationships and holidays. These points of conversation form the foundation of 3 overarching GCSE themes (identity & culture, school, and local area and travel).

There is more of a focus on grammar towards the end of KS3 and at KS4 so that pupils can manipulate the language further. Grammar is not taught early on because we want pupils to experience rapid progress in how much they can understand, write and say. Also, once pupils have learnt more language and structures, they will be able to use the grammar rule in many contexts and apply it with a greater variety of language, therefore helping them to embed the rule into their long-term memory. The key grammar will be: articles, gender + adjective agreement, prepositions, verb conjugations in the present, past and future and direct object pronouns.

At KS4 pupils will build on KS3 knowledge and learn how to have longer conversations (using a greater variety of language) on hobbies, school subjects, food, clothes, hobbies, the weather, family and relationships and also careers. Pupils will have separate grammar lessons where they will learn more complex grammar rules (direct + indirect pronouns, imperfect vs. the perfect, perfect tense with etre, the subjunctive) and will be required to understand, write and speak French using several grammar rules at once. They will be applying the new grammar on the key topics learnt at KS3, therefore revising and building on those topics. Non grammar lessons will contain the core skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking – and these skills will be developed through Francophone culture and society topics. These topics include: education in France, tourism and religion & culture in Francophone countries, colonialisation of Francophone African countries, and eco-fashion in the French speaking world. These topics overlap with the language in the GCSE curriculum (tourism = ‘holidays’; religion & culture = ‘festivals’, education = ‘school’, eco-fashion = ‘international and global dimension’. They surpass the GCSE requirements so that the content as well as the language challenges and interests pupils (especially the high attainers who can effectively evaluate and analyse literature, society and historical events in other subjects). These topics also create a more academically rigourous curriculum where pupils develop their analytical thinking in MFL as well as other subjects. These modules will also better prepare pupils for A level, when they need to engage in even more depth with Francophone society, history and culture.