With an increasingly global economy, language learning is rapidly becoming a pursuit which can ensure success in our hectic job market. Students leaving Settlebeck with a good GCSE in French, Spanish and possibly Latin have a greater understanding of how languages work and their influence on cultural heritage. Although a small department, Mrs Brown will always endeavour to meet the needs of each student to ensure maximum achievement.
All modern languages lessons are taught by a specialist teacher and take place in a well-resourced room. A bank of 15 laptops are available with Wi-Fi connection to our computer network and the Internet, there are also 6 permanently networked workstations and a printer. We have a vast collection of magazines, reference books and picture dictionaries selected by students during our annual trip to France.
The Modern Languages Department has a responsibility to raise awareness of other cultures and to develop good communication skills to promote mutual understanding. Studying Modern Foreign Languages equips students with skills and personal attributes required to excel in our swiftly changing and uncertain global future.
French in years 7&8
During years 7 and 8, all students develop their language-learning skills whilst studying French. We focus strongly on developing our independent learning skills, since this enables young people to pursue their preferred learning styles and study collaboratively if appropriate. We study French in a highly creative manner; meeting grammatical structures and a broad vocabulary whilst planning, designing and writing extensively about our dream home or ideal school. We also aim to achieve level 5 and beyond whilst writing about a recent holiday to an exotic location; using a variety of tenses whilst researching the destination, hotel accommodation, methods of transport and appropriate items to take based on the weather forecast. Having learned the key vocabulary and structures for a shopping dialogue, we can change the room into mini boutiques with clothing, shoes and jewellery in order to spend our Euros.
Students are assigned to two groups, dependent upon linguistic ability and willingness to learn at a faster pace. Each group pursues dynamic project-based programmes of study which aim to develop linguistic flair and an appreciation of the wider world.
In November of year 8 we endeavour to take the whole year group for a five-day residential trip to Northern France. Staying initially on the Opal Coast, we learn how to make traditional French bread, order a drink in a café using dialogues constructed and practised in class, visit an environmental awareness centre (Nausicaa), visit a World War 1 cemetery, walk and play in the sand dunes and enjoy a disco. We then travel to Paris for a day’s sightseeing; climbing the Eiffel Tower, appreciating authentic art in the Modern Art gallery of the Pompidou Centre, a moment’s peace in the Cathedral of Notre Dame, a River Seine cruise followed by an evening meal in a restaurant and a night in a Paris hotel. Our last day is a full day at Disneyland, followed by our return coach journey. We try hard to ensure the cost remains under £350 and are keen to help everyone partake in this exciting and highly educational opportunity.
During years 9 and 10, students can choose to pursue a GCSE course in French. The two-year rolling programme enables students to access all aspects of the curriculum whilst working with students of different ages, abilities and varied experiences. This enriches the learning as individuals are able to select their own working groups, and are exposed to more mature approaches to study.
By the end of year 10, it is hoped that at least a grade C would be achieved, in order to achieve the EBACC with a GCSE in Humanities. Learning a language at this level is becoming increasingly favourable as it gives students additional skills for life which may well be used in the workplace. Students study for 3 periods per week, with extensive private study to broaden vocabulary and practise essential skills. There is a focus on the four language skills; listening independently, speaking spontaneously, reading both for pleasure and for specific information, and extended writing using helpful writing frames.
Students wishing to pursue their French studies in a local sixth form are invited to study an A/S level top-up class twice a week. This ensures maintenance and further extension of the linguistic skills achieved at GCSE.
The GCSE languages course is assessed over the two-year rolling programme:
|Listening:||Written exam||May of year 10||20%|
|Speaking:||Controlled Assessment||Several pieces during year 9 & 10||30%|
|Reading:||Written exam||May of year 10||20%|
|Writing:||Controlled Assessment||Several pieces during year 9 & 10||30%|
- Personal and social life – family, friends, home life, healthy living, fashion, free time
- Local Community – my home, home town/village compared to larger cities, school, protecting our environment
- The World of Work – part-time jobs, future career plans, work experience
- The Wider World – writing an account of a recent/imaginary holiday, young people in France, TV and cinema, travel
Motivation – it is vital that students engage fully when learning French at GCSE level. The lessons are fun and varied, yet the student is responsible for ensuring maximum progress is made at a challenging pace.
Active Learning – due to the amount of material to be covered, it is vital that students engage in active learning from the outset. Studying a broad range of vocabulary, lists of conjugated verbs and useful structures in a variety of tenses (past, present, future, conditional) will enable students to perform well in assessments and broaden their understanding of how the language works.
Focus on skills – students develop independent and collaborative study skills, in order to make good use of their preferred learning styles. We use a wide variety of technology autonomously to practise a range of high level skills.
Controlled Assessment – in May of year 10 each student must submit their two best pieces of written work and speaking evidence. Working towards these pieces forms an essential part of the course. Students must ensure they meet regular deadlines
Speaking in French – as students become increasingly confident, there are many opportunities to practise speaking French in a supportive environment. This skill is actively developed with whole-group discussions about each topic