Modern Foreign Language (MFL)
At Firs Farm Primary School, we teach a Modern Foreign Language so that each and every child between the ages of 8 and 11 has access to a world beyond their own community and culture. Our pupils discover not only new words and phrases but also different cultures, different moral values and different perspectives.
We aim to foster the love of languages. We also aim to provide children with the ability to exchange ideas with others in another tongue. At Firs Farm, this foreign tongue is French.
In the classroom, teachers create an environment of mutual respect where each child’s contribution and effort is encouraged, valued and celebrated. We provide opportunities to communicate orally and in written form, to perform, play, read books, watch films, reflect on our learning and have fun, not necessarily in this order!
Learning and Teaching Style
We have recently changed our L&T style to ensure better retention of the second language (L2). Cognitive and linguistic sciences have recently influenced new ways of teaching that better take into account the way children retain information. We have now placed Listening at the core of our teaching because we believe that it is the most important skill for the development of second language proficiency. Our brains are wired to pick up language through listening. After all, this is the way young children learn their first language! We aim to take advantage of this amazing skill through lots of aural modelling of groups of words (chunks) that the children will learn to put into a certain order to form sentences.
We will play a lot of listening games to teach phonics, vocabulary, grammar and syntax (sentence structures), because science tells us that this is what works best. We will also continue to encourage children to reflect on their learning strategies and share them.
Beyond the lessons
Each of our Key Stage 2 classes has a French book corner and pupils have the possibility to pick up and read authentic French children’s books from La Bibliothèque Française in the hope that they begin to develop a common culture with French children they may meet.
Year 5 have the opportunity to go on a trip to Northern France for the day where they visit a boulangerie, a chocolate factory and all the shops they want in the old town of Boulogne!
Year 2 also get a chance to sample the French language and culture during their French Day when they play boules, taste “crèpes” (pancakes) and learn some French nursery rhymes.
Our pupils are very enthusiastic language learners. They love learning French in class; they discuss it in the playground and readily practise it with adults whenever they can. I cherish being wished a lovely afternoon by groups of children walking past me. “Bon après-midi Madame Dejonghe!”