Modern Foreign language (MFL) teaching starts in Year 3 and German is taught weekly to all children in Key Stage 2 by Miss Siswick, a native German speaker.
We follow the National Curriculum for MFL and use the Key Stage 2 Framework for languages to ensure progression in skills and language.
German is taught through topics such as ‘All about me’, ‘Food and Drink’ or ‘Our school’. Each topic allows the children to learn new vocabulary and grammar and also to apply and adapt their previous learning to the new topic.
When learning a new language, children reinforce and reinterpret knowledge and understanding gained in learning their first language(s). Building on their experience of interaction with and in the new language, they begin to increase their understanding of how language works. They compare the new language with English or another language and reflect on similarities and differences. They become aware of rules or patterns in language and begin to apply their knowledge when creating new language. Knowledge about language supports children in communicating effectively in speech and writing. It helps them to apply their prior knowledge, both to understand and to generate new language. It makes them aware of pronunciation and intonation and how these influence meaning. It helps them investigate how languages work and how users adapt language in formal and informal contexts.
All of the objectives are mapped out across the year groups and can be seen in the MFL Progression Map.
Our German topics cover progression in these three main strands:
Oracy (listening, speaking and spoken interaction) has a more prominent place in language learning than in most if not all other areas of the curriculum. In the early stages children will spend much of their time listening, speaking and interacting orally and will be given regular and frequent opportunities to listen to a good model of pronunciation. This emphasis on exposure to the sound patterns of the new language is particularly important because, unlike with their home language/s, children will be reliant on the classroom to provide most of their spoken language experience.
Children listen to the teacher, to songs and rhymes, to each other and to native speakers, to recorded and on-line speech and songs, recognising familiar and unfamiliar sounds. They reproduce these sounds themselves and create phrases and sentences. They engage in simple conversations to obtain and provide information and exchange opinions. They also reinforce and expand their knowledge of their own language or languages and other subject areas.
Click here for a film that Year 5 made for our German partner school by adapting the language that they had learnt in this and previous topics.
The literacy skills of reading and writing are supported by, and in turn reinforce, the development of oracy. They are likely to take on greater prominence as children become familiar with the relationship between sounds and letters/characters in the new language and apply this knowledge in their reading and spelling. As they increase their understanding of the language, they gain increasing access to different forms of text – simple stories, poems, information texts, advertisements, letters, messages –in paper and electronic forms. Children will have opportunities to apply their skills and understanding to read, enjoy and make use of this widening range of texts. They should be able to write simple sentences and short texts for different purposes and audiences, often using a frame or model to help them structure meaning. Children use the skills of reading and writing to develop a basic knowledge of the writing system, the spelling and the structure of the language. In doing this, they reinforce and expand their knowledge and understanding of their own language(s).
Language competence and intercultural understanding are an essential part of being a citizen. Children develop a greater understanding of their own lives in the context of exploring the lives of others. They learn to look at things from another’s perspective, giving them insight into the people, culture and traditions of other cultures. Children become more aware of the similarities and differences between peoples, their daily lives, beliefs and values. There are many opportunities to link this strand closely with work in other subjects. Learning a new language inevitably and naturally brings children into contact with aspects of the culture of other countries. The practical nature of language learning makes this contact even more real, by using the internet and links with our partner school in Bad Bentheim, Germany.