MFL

MFL LOGO


In the Modern Foreign Languages department at Wildern School, we aim to ensure that all language learners develop the skills and confidence to consider themselves as ‘World Citizens’ who belong in a multicultural, mutually respectful world. We aim to support students to understand other countries and cultures so that they can be more open and adaptable to new experiences; ensuring that each topic contains an element of cultural reference to not only the target language country, but the wider Francophone, Hispanic or Germanic spheres.


At Wildern School we are committed to developing strong, lifelong linguistic skills and to encourage students to become curious and interested in the world. We want all our students to feel successful in, and proud of their language skills and begin a lifelong learning journey that can open doors and take them around the world.


Ultimately, we want our students to have a love of languages, and aim to achieve this by nurturing a linguistic curiosity and an intrinsic motivation to explore, respect and communicate with other cultures and people.

Learning a language at Wildern School


The MFL Department is a dynamic, passionate, and enthusiastic department; a collaborative and creative approach to teaching and learning is embedded within daily practice and future planning. The department endeavours to make learning languages enjoyable and meaningful, providing students with many opportunities for both collaboration and independent work in each lesson.

Watch our open evening video here to find out more...

MFL Journey

 Above: The MFL visual 5 year curriculum map

Our curriculum in French, German and Spanish is designed to ensure that all our students can make excellent progress, regardless of their prior language learning. Topics cover a range of life situations and thoroughly prepare students for the GCSE course and life beyond Wildern.


Curriculum maps are designed to ensure that all four skills (Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing) are covered in every unit and key skills are built into students’ learning journeys and are regularly revisited. Students start building sentences and speaking the language straight away. Grammar is the foundation for building language skills. Learning grammar enables students to understand how language fits together and speak and write more accurately, confidently and fluently. All this is built upon students' grammatical knowledge from English lessons. Consequently, grammar skills are taught explicitly through every unit of work, and regularly revisited; emphasis is on equipping students with the linguistic skills to unpick and decode unfamiliar language.


The MFL department has high expectations for all our students and all students are supported to be the best language learner they can be. We use a range of strategies such as group talk, role-plays and sentence builder work to ensure that every lesson counts. Learning in the classroom is enhanced through self-study, which are set every week, and consist of vocabulary learning, reading and listening tasks, exam practice, and quizzes.

You can find out more about learning languages at Wildern in our WINK video ‘Love Languages’

Students begin a lifelong language journey using a range of resources, including Kerboodle online textbooks, language learning apps and the school’s excellent EdTech provision. This, in turn, is supplemented by interactive games, practical language activities and Group Talk tasks.

Students need to be resilient language learners. Within the MFL classroom, we consistently emphasise that it is ok to make mistakes. We believe where students learn is in deciding 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.

With skilled native and non-native linguists in the department, we endeavour to challenge our students by using a high ratio of target language. It is one of our department aims to expose students to authentic language use in real and practical situations through the classroom teacher, the use of videos and by inviting guests into the classroom to emphasise the value of language as a communication tool. Using the target language ensures that students are hearing authentic language each time they are in the MFL classroom and by immersing them in the target language we aim to help them use it more independently and this will lead to increased confidence and wider vocabulary.

MFL at Wildern equates to a second to none introduction to lifelong language learning. Echoing the Wildern ethos and in the ever-changing face of the MFL learning landscape, we broaden our student’s horizon to breed tolerance, empathy, adaptability and consideration for others within our local and wider communities.

 

The Wildern MFL team


The MFL department consists of 8 full time teachers who are able to each teach a variety of languages; French, Spanish and German. The department also boasts native speakers of French, Spanish and Arabic, which brings languages alive for all students. All of our team are accomplished language learners and know what is needed to be successful in MFL. They all have a good story about the challenges of putting languages into practice. Why not ask next time you see them? Teachers are more than happy to answer any questions that you may have about languages at Wildern. Get in touch via wildern@wildern.org.


MFL TEam

The KS3 Curriculum - starting off right...


Students at KS3 can either continue with the language that they learned at primary school (French, German or Spanish), or elect to switch to another language from scratch. At KS3 the Wildern School MFL department aims to ensure that all students:

 

  • Deepen their interest in the world around them by developing a knowledge of cultures and languages different to their own.
  • Feel successful in their language learning and are confident in their lessons.
  • Know what they need to improve and where their learning fits into their learning journey.
  • Are supported in their learning so that they can be the best possible linguist.
  • Understand and respond to spoken and written language from a variety of authentic sources
  • Speak with increasing confidence, fluency and spontaneity, finding ways of communicating what they want to say, including through discussion and asking questions, and continually improving the accuracy of their pronunciation and intonation
  • Can write at varying length, for different purposes and audiences, using the variety of grammatical structures that they have learnt
  • Discover and develop an appreciation of a range of writing in the language studied.
  • Understand the role of languages in their careers, later lives and wider life.

At the heart of a KS3 MFL lesson is multiple opportunities for students to learn new language and practice, building their confidence and growing their knowledge. We use sentence builders to introduce new language, giving the students the opportunity to put their vocabulary into practice immediately, knowing that they can get their message across and are supported in doing so.

 

Grammar and vocabulary


KS3 Students are taught to become resilient, independent and inquisitive linguists who:

  • can use tenses and talk about the past, present and future.
  • can give justified opinions on a range of topics.
  • use and manipulate a variety of key grammatical structures and patterns, such as conjunctions and adjectival agreement.
  • develop and use a wide-ranging and deepening vocabulary that goes beyond their immediate needs and interests, allowing them to take part in discussion about wider issues
  • use accurate grammar, spelling and punctuation.

 

Linguistic competence


In lessons students build a range of skills such as:

  • listen to a variety of forms of spoken language to obtain information and respond appropriately
  • transcribe words and short sentences that they hear with increasing accuracy
  • initiate and develop conversations, coping with unfamiliar language and unexpected responses, making use of important social conventions such as formal modes of address
  • express and develop ideas clearly and with increasing accuracy, both orally and in writing
  • speak coherently and confidently, with increasingly accurate pronunciation
  • read and show comprehension of original and adapted materials from a range of different sources, understanding the purpose, important ideas and details, and provide an accurate English translation of short, suitable material
  • read literary texts in the language [such as stories, songs, poems and letters], to stimulate ideas, develop creative expression and expand understanding of the language and culture
  • write prose using an increasingly wide range of grammar and vocabulary, write creatively to express their own ideas and opinions and translate short written text accurately from and into foreign languages

Assessment at KS3

At KS3, students are assessed regularly, both formally and informally. There are weekly vocabulary checks to monitor students’ vocabulary power and a formal assessment prior to each WAD collection. Students are assessed on their listening, reading and writing/translation skills and are given a Wildern Step mark for each that demonstrates their progress. In class, there are quizzes, activities and recall tasks that allow students to demonstrate all the language they have learnt and to help them feel proud of their progress, lesson by lesson.

Self study at KS3


In years 7 and 8, students are set weekly self study to prepare them for their lessons and consolidate their learning. Self study is vital in building students’ vocabulary and practising new language so that they can master their skills. In the Autumn Term of year 7, students take part in the Year 7 Vocabulary Challenge, their first house competition, and get to grips with learning to recall, spell and use new words. After Christmas and for the rest of KS3, students self study alternates between learning new vocabulary and putting their language into practice with online exercises to really embed the structures they are learning.

Here at Wildern we use the websites Memrise and Sentencebuilders.com to support student learning and give them a rewarding and interactive tool to really master vocabulary and structures.

The KS4 Curriculum - building independence


Students at KS4 choose a designated MFL Pathway in year 8 and continue with the language that they are learning at KS3. For our most dedicated and ambitious students, there is the option to begin a second foreign language from scratch, alongside advanced learners in year 9. Once they begin the 3 year AQA GCSE course, they develop their ability and ambition to communicate with native speakers in speech and writing. GCSE MFL learning also broadens students’ horizons and encourages them to step beyond familiar cultural boundaries and develop new ways of seeing the world; becoming a compassionate and resilient Global Citizen.


You can find out more about learning MFL at GCSE in our pathways video here.

 

Subject aims and learning outcomes


The AQA course across all MFL languages taught at Wildern incorporates the latest GCSE specifications and enables students to:

  • develop their ability to communicate confidently and coherently with native speakers in speech and writing, conveying what they want to say with increasing accuracy
  • express and develop thoughts and ideas spontaneously and fluently
  • listen to and understand clearly articulated, standard speech at near normal speed
  • deepen their knowledge about how language works and enrich their vocabulary in order for them to increase their independent use and understanding of extended language in a wide range of contexts
  • acquire new knowledge, skills and ways of thinking through the ability to understand and respond to a rich range of authentic spoken and written material, adapted and abridged, as appropriate, including literary texts
  • develop awareness and understanding of the culture and identity of the countries and communities where the language is spoken
  • develop language learning skills both for immediate use and to prepare them for further language study and use in school, higher education or in employment
  • develop language strategies, including repair strategies

Context and purposes


The MFL GCSE requires students to understand and use language across a range of contexts, appropriate to their age, interests and maturity levels. Each theme, as outlined below, is taught across one year; year 9 – identity and culture, year 10 - local, national, international and global areas of interest and year 11 - current and future study and employment. Within these themes students are expected to:

  • use language for a variety of purposes and with a variety of different audiences, including for personal, academic and employment-related use
  • make use of appropriate social conventions, including informal and formal address and register, as relevant to the task and language studied
  • understand different types of spoken language, including recorded input from one or more speakers in public and social settings and recorded material from authentic sources and the media
  • understand different types of written language, including relevant personal communication, public information, factual and literary texts

 

Grammar requirements at GCSE


GCSE MFL students will be expected to develop and use their knowledge and understanding of grammar progressively throughout their course. By the end of year 11 students will be able to:

  • Use verbs in the past, present and future
  • Use modal verbs to say what they want, must and can do
  • Give their opinion in a variety of ways, always explaining why
  • Link their sentences together with a range of conjunctions
  • Use a range of complex, higher level structures, such as the passive, impersonal verbs and the conditional

 

The GCSE languages exam


The terminal exam requirements for GCSE are set out in two tiers: foundation and higher and these apply to four exams (equally weighted 25% of the final GCSE grade); Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.


More detailed information about the exam at the end of year 11 is available on the AQA website here.

Self study at KS4


At KS4 students have weekly self study to prepare them for GCSE exams, widen their vocabulary and embed the learning that they do in class. This is achieved through a combination of vocabulary learning and independent practice tasks. Students should be regularly practicing their vocabulary on Memrise or Quizlet [year 11 only] and revisiting key skills on Seneca.

Assessment at KS4


At KS4, assessment mirrors the expectations of the AQA GCSE with adaptation to support students along the way. In year 9 students are introduced to the format of the exams and at the end of year 9 complete a full foundation tier (grades 5-1) paper in listening, reading and writing. In year 10, this continues and in the year 10 practice exams, students complete a full exam in all 4 skills at either foundation (5-1) or higher (9-4) depending on progress. In year 11, students have another full set of practice exams and weekly practice papers to support final exam preparation.

 

Bridging the gap outside the MFL classroom


The MFL team provides a wide range of extra-curricular language opportunities to enthuse and motivate the young linguist. Foreign Language Film club in year 7, video and written exchanges with students in South America, France and Germany European culture club to Vocab Clinics in KS4 and the 38-year strong German Exchange and additional international visits, expose students to a culture where languages are alive and easily accessible for all.


The MFL team actively seek to hold whole school activities to raise the MFL profile- highlighting the importance of language learning in our diverse world; celebrating the European Day of Languages through dance, food tasting, al fresco dining and interactive map discovery and challenge. The Wildern MFL team aims to work in collaboration with other departments in the school to ensure languages are not seen as an isolated subject just taught within the confines of the MFL classroom, but a key part of their whole curriculum.


You can watch our MFL hub trailer here to get an idea of what activities are available.