Modern Foreign Languages

‘Language is the road map of a culture, it tells you where its people come from and where they are going’ 

Rita Mae Brown 

Our vision in the MFL Department is that languages will take you further and beyond in life, improve your cognitive abilities and your literacy skills. Therefore, students should explore possibilities beyond frontiers, and this is achievable through breaking language and culture barriers.

Although we can only introduce them to Spanish and French language and culture, we take every opportunity to encourage debate about other languages and cultures in an interactive way as part of an enjoyable learning experience. Knowledge of culture is essential in our conception of language learning. We promote intercultural, inter-linguistic discussion and contrastive analysis at all Key Stages.  

In MFL we are committed to this vision and through our department, St. George’s  School has been awarded  International School Award Foundation Certificate: Introducing Internationalism. See below

MFL Curriculum

At St. George's we offer both French and Spanish from Year 7 to Year 13. In Years 7 and 8 half of students study French and the other half study Spanish. Normally, at the end of Year 9 students opt to do French or Spanish for their GCSE.

We provide a broad MFL curriculum that is connected to other subject areas with variable routes through the key stages to allow students to maximise their attainment by developing the skills and talents they already hold. We understand the importance of a spiral curriculum; thematic content and the linguistic transition are connected bottom to top and top to bottom.

Our MFL curriculum has been designed to give students the knowledge, understanding and skills to progress onto the next stage of their education, irrespective of their prior attainment, background or ethnicity. Nonetheless, we also take into account the validity of languages in the world and how they are a means of unifying cultures through awareness of common values. We have included explicit mention to each cultural area in our Schemes of Work.

 

Staff

  • Madame K Derdabi - Head of MFL Department 
  • Ms S Redondo - Teacher in Charge of MFL 
  • Ms E Cajas - Spanish Assistant 
  • Mr T Carswell - Teacher of Spanish and French 
  • Ms T Coleman - Teacher of Spanish and French & British Council Link 
  • Ms C Dubois - Teacher of French 
  • Mr P Giambaressi - Teacher of French
  • Ms L Ling - Teacher of French 

Want to find out more? 
If you wish to find out more about Modern Foreign Languages at St George’s please feel free to contact Ms S Redondo at 
S.Redondo@stgeorgesrc.org

Students of Spanish or French have two hour-long lessons per week. The department follows the National Curriculum for MFL putting special attention to improving students’ general language skills and developing their enthusiasm to get to know other cultures.

By the end of Year 9 our students can understand, express and develop their ideas in a number of topic areas such as: personal information and local area, home, school, holidays, French and Spanish Speaking countries, the workplace, shopping, free time and leisure pursuits.

We provide KS3 extra support once a week on Tuesday period 6.

Assessment

In addition to the immediate feedback on their language use by our teachers and assistants, students are levelled every half term through end of unit tests. These tests assess students across the four skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Homework

Students are given their own vocabulary and grammar booklet at the beginning of the year for their own personal study. They have access to Active Learn where they are asked to complete reading and listening tasks once a week, normally on the first lesson. We also have a range of homework books with differentiated material for extra practice. Extended writing tasks are set at least once a week. We provide diagnostic comments at least once every three weeks to provide students with guidance towards their targets.

Every half term we set independent cultural enhanced tasks that aim to make them explore cultural similarities and differences with the target language countries and to encourage them to start thinking about taking languages in the future.

Useful Links

Grammar: http://www.languagesonline.org.uk/Hotpotatoes/Index.htm

Please, see our Independent learning area on this website for extra language learning support.

At KS4, students have lessons two a week and have one hour period 6 revision session per fortnight. We also arrange Saturday and half term revisions near examination times or as intervention for particular students. We run two intervention sessions in the morning before registration for students who are struggling with either French or Spanish.

According to the current MFL Curriculum students study GCSE French or Spanish from Year 10. The new curriculum emphasises the value of listening and reading authentic material and expects students to speak and write spontaneously. These skills are embedded in our lessons.

The French and Spanish GCSE courses are taught over a period of 2 years starting in Year 10 until Year 11. The 4 skills of reading, listening, speaking and writing are all assessed at the end of the course. All students will have the opportunity to work with a Foreign Language Assistant to hone their speaking skills. The MFL Department also offers students the opportunity of sitting exams in their own native language that counts towards the number of GCSEs at the end of year 11. Students should contact the Head of Department at the start of Year 10 to arrange this.

Homework

Students are given their own vocabulary and grammar booklet at the beginning of the year for their own personal study. They have access to Active Learn where they are asked to complete reading and listening tasks once a week, normally in the first lesson. We also have a range of homework books with differentiated material for extra practice. We set a writing task on the second lesson we see the students. We provide diagnostic comments at least once every three weeks to provide guidance towards their targets.

At Key Stage 4, every half term students will have speaking preparation tasks on two units (one from Year 10 and one from Year 11) that have been covered in class and a Year 10 revision unit that has been covered in revision. The interleaving of Years 10 and 11 areas has proved very effective for exam revision by distributing the preparation for exams across the year. These speaking questions are also inside their grammar and vocabulary booklet.

Every half term we set independent cultural enhanced tasks that aim to make them explore cultural similarities and differences with the target language countries and to encourage them to start thinking about taking languages in the future.

Exam Board

The Examination Board used is AQA. Each examination assesses one of the four skills. Each exam is worth 25% of the overall GCSE. Students must either sit all Foundation tier or all Higher tier examinations.

Assessment

Each half term students are assessed on a combination of the skills of reading, listening, speaking and writing. All written assessments follow the exact format of the GCSE examination. In Year 11 students will be assessed on their performance on AQA past examination papers. There is also an internal MFL mock speaking examination in December which is exactly like the actual speaking examination which takes place after Easter each year. We have whole school mock examinations in November and March which in MFL consist of Listening, Reading and Writing. By the Easter holidays students will have an accurate idea of which area they have to revise to reach their desired grade.

Final examinations are taken in all 4 skill areas, each counting for 25% of the total GCSE.

Theme 1: Identity and culture covers the following four topics with related sub-topics shown as bullet points:

Topic 1: Me, my family and friends

  • Relationships with family and friends
  • Marriage/partnership

Topic 2: Technology in everyday life

  • Social media
  • Mobile technology

Topic 3: Free-time activities

  • Music
  • Cinema and TV
  • Food and eating out
  • Sport

Topic 4: Customs and festivals in Spanish/French-speaking countries/communities

Theme 2: Local, national, international and global areas of interest covers the following four topics with related sub-topics shown as bullet points:

Topic 1: Home, town, neighbourhood and region

Topic 2: Social issues

  • Charity/voluntary work
  • Healthy/unhealthy living

Topic 3: Global issues

  • The environment
  • Poverty/homelessness

Topic 4: Travel and tourism

Theme 3: Current and future study and employment covers the following four topics:

Topic 1: My studies

Topic 2: Life at school/college

Topic 3: Education post-16

Topic 4: Jobs, career choices and ambitions

How parents can support students:

  • Check Show My homework and ensure that all tasks are completed
  • Assist students with vocabulary learning by testing them
  • Help test students on their speaking booklet questions
  • Purchase the CPG revision guides and workbooks

At Key Stage 5 MFL classes have 5 hours’ weekly contact and a further minimum of one hour with the language assistant, by arrangement. Again, we are fortunate to be able to offer such support by native speakers.

 

Homework

At Key Stage 5 we set homework tasks that require higher independence. The main core of the A Level courses relies on cultural contents We also set guided tasks to model language and higher level evaluation and critical analysis of cultural content. However, at this high level real learning takes place through individual and independent research.  We provide links to enhance students’ language and cultural skills.

Students must read and analyse a literary text and a film on their own time.

Every half term as per previous years we set independent cultural research tasks that aim to make them explore cultural similarities and differences with the target language countries and to encourage them to pursue languages in the future.

 

AS and A Level 

This is the second year students are sitting the new AS MFL exam at the end of year 12 to provide a milestone for their second year A Level exam at the end of year 13 In these exams there is stronger emphasis on the cultural knowledge of the target language country. The course leads to obtaining a standalone qualification if students decide to sit their exam either in year 1 for an AS in Spanish or year 2 for an A Level in Spanish. The marks from the AS Level exam do not count towards the A Level qualification which students can choose to take or not. The main content areas are as follows:

General AS and A-level French/Spanish themes and sub-themes

Aspects of Francophone / Spanish society (AS and A-level)

  • Modern and traditional values
  • Cyberspace
  • Equal rights

Artistic culture in the Francophone world (AS and A-level)

  • Modern day idols
  • French/Spanish / Spanish regional identity
  • Cultural heritage

Multiculturalism in Francophone/ Spanish society (A-level)

  • Immigration
  • Racism
  • Integration

Aspects of political life in the Francophone/ Spanish world (A-level)

  • Today's youth, tomorrow's citizens
  • Monarchies and dictatorships
  • Popular movements

Exams

AS Level:

Paper 1 - Listening, Reading and Writing. 1 hour and 40 minutes. 45% of total AS marks (90 marks).

Candidates will listen, read and respond to spoken passages from a range of contexts and sources. Questions in French/Spanish to be answered with non-verbal responses or in French/Spanish 

Summarising information from spoken and written sources, reporting key points and subject matter in speech and writing.

There will also be a translation into English.

Paper 2 - Writing. 1 hour and 30 minutes. 25% of AS (50 marks).

Either one question in French/Spanish on a set text from a choice of two questions or one question in French/Spanish on a set film from a choice of two questions (35 marks).

Translation into French/Spanish; a passage of minimum 70 words (15 marks).

Paper 3 - Speaking. 12 – 14 minutes plus 15 minutes preparation time. 30% of AS marks (50 marks).

Candidates will discuss two sub-themes (6 – 7 minutes on each) with the discussion based on a stimulus card for each sub-theme.

A Level - Second Year:

Paper 1 - Listening, Reading and Writing.  2 hours and 30 minutes. 50% of total A level marks (100 marks).

Summarising information from spoken and written sources, reporting key points and subject matter in speech and writing

  • translating an unseen passage from French/Spanish into English
  • translating an unseen passage from English into French/Spanish.

Paper 2 - Writing. 2 hours. 20% of A level (80 marks).

Either ONE/TWO questions in French/Spanish on a set text from a choice of two questions AND/OR one question in French/Spanish on a set film from a choice of two questions. 300 words (40 marks each).

Paper 3 - Speaking. 21-23 minutes (16-18 plus 5 minutes preparation time). 30% of A level marks (60 marks).

16-18 minutes plus 5 minutes preparation. The 5 minutes’ preparation time will take place in the examination room in the presence of the examiner. Students may make notes during the preparation period.

  • One Stimulus Card: 5-6 minutes.
  • Presentation of Individual Research Project: 2 minutes
  • Discussion based on Individual Research Project: 9-10 minutes

 

Set Texts for French

  • Molière Le Tartuffe
  • Voltaire Candide
  • Guy de Maupassant Boule de Suif et autres contes de la guerre
  • Albert Camus L’étranger
  • Françoise Sagan Bonjour tristesse
  • Claire Etcherelli Elise ou la vraie vie
  • Joseph Joffo Un sac de billes
  • Faïza Guène Kiffe kiffe demain
  • Philippe Grimbert Un secret
  • Delphine de Vigan No et moi

Set Films for French

  • Les 400 coups François Truffaut (1959)
  • Au revoir les enfants Louis Malle (1987)
  • La Haine Mathieu Kassovitz (1995)
  • L’auberge espagnole Cédric Klapisch (2002)
  • Un long dimanche de fiançailles Jean-Pierre Jeunet (2004)
  • Entre les murs Laurent Cantet (2008)

Set Texts for Spanish

  • Federico García Lorca La casa de Bernarda Alba
  • Gabriel García Márquez Crónica de una muerte anunciada
  • Laura Esquivel Como agua para chocolate
  • Ramón J. Sender Réquiem por un campesino español
  • Carlos Ruiz Zafón La sombra del viento
  • Isabel Allende La casa de los espíritus
  • Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer Rimas
  • Fernando Fernán-Gómez Las bicicletas son para el verano
  • Luis de Castresana El otro árbol de Guernica
  • Gabriel García Márquez El coronel no tiene quien le escriba

Set Films for Spanish

  • El laberinto del fauno Guillermo del Toro (2006)
  • Ocho apellidos vascos Emilio Martínez-Lázaro (2014)
  • María, llena eres de gracia Joshua Marston (2004)
  • Volver Pedro Almodóvar (2006)
  • Abel Diego Luna (2010)
  • Las 13 rosas Emilio Martínez-Lázaro (2007) 

The department provides multiple opportunities for students to gain first-hand knowledge of Spanish and French culture through the continuous help of native language assistants and trips. In previous years these have included: BFI MFL INSET Days, trips to the French Institute, One Man Cinemas and the theatre.

The French/Spanish clubs that take place every Wednesday after school where students develop their language skills through songs and games with native speakers. We also run a French Day Trip for year 7 students in June.

Some of the international initiatives that have taken place in school and online:

  • Starting a British Council Connecting Classrooms partnership with a French-speaking school in Morocco -which we marked with the Moroccan Themed School Lunch and Eid-al-Fitr celebration.
  • A French Institute run song workshop webinar for year 7.
  • The year 10 Language Ambassadors programme for students to promote multilingualism and worked on the Stephen Spender Poetry Translation prize.
  • A University of Westminster webinar for year 10 on studying languages at University and beyond.

At Key stage 5, we attend MFL INSET days at BFI on the films that are set on the French and Spanish specifications. We have organised a theatre outing to Cervantes Theater London to see La Casa de los Espíritus, and we also liaise with the French Institute, Instituto Cervantes for special events.

In year 12, we normally take part in the LCLC Programme each year. The London Centre for Languages and Cultures is a collaboration between Pembroke College (University of Oxford), the Open University and the Tri-Borough. As part of this programme students attend several MFL workshops at Westminster Academy, two university days of MFL lectures at the University of Oxford and they participate in a Summer School three day residential stay later on in June at Pembroke College, University of Oxford. All costs for this programme are covered.

Independent Learning

In general, in MFL learning in the classroom is enhanced through self-study, which are set every week, and consist of vocabulary learning, extended writing tasks (including creative writing), exam practice, and quizzes.                          

Students of Modern Foreign Languages need to be resilient language learners. Within the MFL classroom, we consistently emphasise that mistakes are to be celebrated as part of the learning process. We believe that MFL learning takes place when students decide how they move on from these errors. This open environment allows students to grow in confidence and not feel intimidated in speaking out in front of the class.  Opportunities for reflection are built in at regular intervals, and the curriculum is designed to build students’ independence. See Independent Learning links below for Spanish and French.

Made with Padlet

Made with Padlet

With globalisation, language skills have become a useful adjunct to almost any combination of A level subjects. Students whose main interest is language should continue to study languages at A level and beyond. Employers say they value the key skills developed by language learners – these include: communication skills, team working skills, interpersonal skills, presentation skills, problem solving skills, organisational skills, good learning strategies, and independence.  Languages can be continued as single or combined studies at University. It is possible to study a language in combination with almost any other subject, but particularly useful are Business Studies, Travel and Tourism, Accountancy and Law.