At St. Joseph’s, French is taught to all KS2 children as part of the normal school curriculum. In Years 3 and 4, lessons usually last for 30 minutes, once a week. In Years 5 and 6, it is taught for 45 minutes per week. The class teacher normally teaches the class.
The Scheme of work that we use is The Catherine Cheater Scheme of Work for French. This Scheme of Work covers all the aims and objectives set out in The National Key Stage 2 Framework for Languages.
French is taught for several reasons. Firstly, we believe that many children really enjoy learning to speak another language. Secondly, we also believe that the earlier a child is exposed to a foreign language, the faster the language in question is acquired. We also believe that it is a good idea to introduce a new language to children when they are at primary school, as they tend to be less self-conscious about speaking aloud at this stage of their development. It is widely believed that the early acquisition of a foreign language facilitates the learning of other foreign languages later in life.
We use a variety of techniques to encourage the children to have an active engagement in French lessons. These include games, role-play and songs (particularly action songs). We often use puppets, soft toys and mime to accompany new vocabulary. We emphasise the listening and speaking skills as well as those of reading and writing. We also use a multi-sensory and kinaesthetic approach to teaching, i.e. we try to introduce a physical element into some of the games, as we believe that this serves to reinforce memory.
Throughout the children’s learning, we aim to make the lessons as entertaining and enjoyable as possible, as we realise that this approach serves to develop a positive attitude in the children to the learning of a modern foreign language. We build children’s confidence through constant praise for any contribution they make in French lessons, however tentative.