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Charles Darwin School

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Modern Foreign Languages

Course Overview

Languages are taught through interactive activities, taking in the four main skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Language is built up logically and students are encouraged to use their prior knowledge of vocabulary and grammar to progress from one topic to the next. Interwoven into all the topics are opportunities to communicate in the foreign language, to develop strong literacy and memory skills and to use ICT, including the department’s own learning programmes (Key Stage 3: Allez 1 and 2 Stimmt 1, 2 and 3, Key Stage 4: Active Teach and Kerboodle and at Key Stage 5: Kerboodle) as well as other subscription websites such as www.linguascope.com, to widen students’ knowledge and to encourage research. 

Key stages 

Key Stage 3

Currently half of year 7 study French and half German. Pupils choose their options during year 8 and in year 9, most students continue with the language they have been learning in years 7 and 8 (French or German) to begin a foundation year in preparation for their GCSE course. 

From September 2015, pupils in years 7-9 will be working towards the new GCSE in languages which involves learning some different skills.  Pupils will be taught the skills of translation from the foreign language back into English and from English into the foreign language.  Pupils will also have the opportunity to use literacy skills to look at French and German literary texts.  These will be in the form of poems and short passages taken from French and German literature.

Year 7 topics

  • Why learn a language?
  • Meeting and greeting people
  • Alphabet and spellings
  • Counting to 100
  • Introducing myself 
  • School equipment 
  • Saying what you like and dislike
  • Talking about hobbies
  • Describing family and pets
  • Saying what you eat and drink
  • Talking about the weather
  • Exploring rhyming and syllables
  • School - giving opinions on school subjects, describing my timetable, a typical school day, school dinners. 

Year 8 topics

Free time activities

  • Talking about computers and mobile phones
  • Sports and other hobbies
  • Talking about holidays
  • Eating out
  • Speciality dishes from French/German speaking countries

Clothes

  • Describing outfits
  • Making plans to go out

Where I live

  • Describing my town
  • Giving directions
  • Talking about where you go at the weekend
  • Saying what you can do in your town

Holidays

  • Talking about holidays
  • Getting ready to go out
  • Buying drinks and snacks
  • Talking about holidays in the past and future
  • Booking hotels


Key Stage 4 (Years 9 - 11)

We aim to encourage as many pupils as possible to learn a foreign language to GCSE level and beyond. Having a foreign language qualification is highly valued in the world of work and when applying to universities. 

Year 9

Year 9 is a Foundation year to develop language and grammar skills and widen vocabulary in preparation for the GCSE course. 

If you can answer ‘yes’ to the following questions then the study of a foreign language is for you:

  • Would you like to communicate in a foreign language?
  • Would you like to find out about different cultures and countries?
  • Would you like to learn to use and develop a set of useful, transferable skills?
  • Would you like to have better opportunities for employment?

Year 9 topics for Modern Foreign Languages

German

  • Parts of the body
  • Describing role-models
  • Talking about past experiences
  • Future plans
  • Talking about music tastes
  • Music festivals
  • Ambitions
  • Jobs
  • Reflecting on childhood
  • Rights and responsibilities

Year 10 GCSE

The new GCSE course is examined in the following way:

Students study all of the following themes on which the assessments are based.

Theme 1: Identity and culture

Theme 2: Local, national, international and global areas of interest

Theme 3: Current and future study and employment

Assessments

GCSE French has a Foundation Tier (grades 1–5) and a Higher Tier (grades 4–9). Students must take all four question papers at the same tier. All question papers must be taken in the same series.

Paper 1: Listening

What's assessed

Understanding and responding to different types of spoken language.

How it's assessed

  • Written exam: 35 minutes (Foundation Tier), 45 minutes (Higher Tier)
  • 40 marks (Foundation Tier), 50 marks (Higher Tier)
  • 25% of GCSE

(Each exam includes 5 minutes’ reading time of the question paper before the listening stimulus is played.)

Foundation Tier and Higher Tier

  • Section A – questions in English, to be answered in English or non-verbally
  • Section B – questions in French, to be answered in French or non-verbally

Paper 2: Speaking

What's assessed

Communicating and interacting effectively in speech for a variety of purposes.

How it's assessed

  • Non-exam assessment
  • 7–9 minutes (Foundation Tier) + preparation time
  • 10–12 minutes (Higher Tier) + preparation time
  • 60 marks (for each of Foundation Tier and Higher Tier)
  • 25% of GCSE

Questions

Foundation Tier and Higher Tier

The format is the same at Foundation Tier and Higher Tier, but with different stimulus questions for the Photo card and different stimulus materials for the Role-play. The timings are different too:

  • Role-play – 15 marks (2 minutes at Foundation Tier; 2 minutes at Higher Tier)
  • Photo card – 15 marks (2 minutes at Foundation Tier; 3 minutes at Higher Tier)

General conversation – 30 marks (3–5 minutes at Foundation Tier; 5–7 minutes at Higher Tier)

Paper 3: Reading

What's assessed

Understanding and responding to different types of written language.

How it's assessed

  • Written exam: 45 minutes (Foundation Tier), 1 hour (Higher Tier)
  • 60 marks (for each of Foundation Tier and Higher Tier)
  • 25% of GCSE

Questions

Foundation Tier and Higher Tier

  • Section A – questions in English, to be answered in English or non-verbally
  • Section B – questions in French, to be answered in French or non-verbally

Section C – translation from French into English (a minimum of 35 words for Foundation Tier and 50 words for Higher Tier).

Paper 4: Writing

What's assessed

Communicating effectively in writing for a variety of purposes.

How it's assessed

  • Written exam: 1 hour (Foundation Tier), 1 hour 15 minutes (Higher Tier)
  • 50 marks at Foundation Tier and 60 marks at Higher Tier
  • 25% of GCSE

Questions

Foundation Tier

  • Question 1 – message (student produces four sentences in response to a photo) – 8 marks
  • Question 2 – short passage (student writes a piece of continuous text in response to four brief bullet points, approximately 40 words in total) – 16 marks
  • Question 3 – translation from English into French (minimum 35 words) – 10 marks
  • Question 4 – structured writing task (student responds to four compulsory detailed bullet points, producing approximately 90 words in total) – there is a choice from two questions – 16 marks.

Higher Tier

  • Question 1 – structured writing task (student responds to four compulsory detailed bullet points, producing approximately 90 words in total) – there is a choice from two questions – 16 marks
  • Question 2 – open-ended writing task (student responds to two compulsory detailed bullet points, producing approximately 150 words in total) – there is a choice from two questions – 32 marks
  • Question 3 – translation from English into French (minimum 50 words) – 12 marks

Year 11

The current year 11 (the pupils sitting their final exams in summer 2017) are the last cohort to do the old specification at GCSE.

Currently in Year 11 the GCSE course is assessed as follows:

20% Listening Examination – this takes place at the end of year 11

20% Reading Examination - this takes place at the end of year 11

Controlled Assessments can take place at any point over the two GCSE years. 

Your teacher will know when you are ready to be assessed.

30% 2 x Speaking Controlled Assessments – prepared in lessons and tested in the form of a speaking exam

30% 2 x Writing Controlled Assessments – prepared in lessons and tested in the form of a writing exam 

GCSE Topic Areas

Identity and Culture

Myself, family, free time, health, relationships and choices

Local, national and international issues

Home, local area, environment and holidays

Current and future study and employment

School, college, future plans, current and future jobs

Key Stage 5

Studying a language at A Level is challenging yet very exciting.  The level of language that students develop in the Sixth Form is very high.  Students find the course interesting and engaging and enjoy how much they can communicate in the foreign language. 

AS French

AS  Topic Areas

Media

TV, Advertising, Communication Technology

Culture

Cinema, Music, Fashion

Healthy Living

Sport and Fitness, Health and Wellbeing (Alcohol, Tobacco, Drugs), Holidays

Family and Relationships

Family Relationships, Friendships, Marriage or Partnership 

Why choose the subject? 

Would you like to …
    • communicate in a foreign language?
    • find out about different cultures?
    • use and develop transferable skills?
    • have better opportunities for employment?

Common Questions 

Q. Which language do you learn?
A. In year 7 you start to learn French or German and can continue this language to GCSE level and beyond.

Q. Does everybody learn a language?
A. Yes, in years 7 and 8 you learn either French or German. Languages are an option choice in year 9 but most students in the upper pathways opt for a language and are happy to continue this to develop their language skills further. The most talented and keen linguists may then continue to A Level.

Q. What kind of activities do we do in lessons?
A. To make sure all four language skills are developed, we aim to make lessons as varied and interactive as possible, so activities include: 

  • class surveys, role-plays, interviews, learning songs, playing language-learning games 
  • listening to CDs and watching video clips either in the classroom or in an IT suite
  • using up-to-date engaging textbooks, magazines and websites to develop reading comprehension skills
  • writing for various purposes: letters, brochures, reviews, blogs, essays, scripts for conversations, reports. 

Q. What trips are there?
A. In the past we have organised a number of trips abroad.  These have been for pupils in all Key Stages.

France
We have organised day trips to France, residential trips to Normandy, Paris and the Boulogne region.

Germany
We have organised trips to the German Christmas markets in Cologne and visited the Rhine region of Germany in the summer term. 

If there are enough pupils who want to take part in a trip, then we are always keen to organise one.

Who will teach me? 

The following table shows you to what level and which languages the MFL teachers can teach:

 

Key Stage 3

Key Stage 4

Key Stage 5

French

Miss Banyard
Miss Milton
Mrs McIntyre
Mr Lewis
Miss Ahmet
Mrs Kaye-Chubb

Miss Banyard
Miss Milton
Mrs McIntyre
Mr Lewis
Miss Ahmet
Mrs Kaye-Chubb

Miss Banyard
Miss Milton
Mrs McIntyre
Mr Lewis

Miss Ahmet

German

Mrs Kaye-Chubb
Mrs McIntyre
Miss Ahmet
Miss Banyard
Miss Milton

Mrs Kaye-Chubb
Mrs McIntyre
Miss Ahmet

 

Mrs Kaye-Chubb
Mrs McIntyre
Miss Ahmet

 

Spanish

Miss Milton
Mr Lewis
Mrs McIntyre

 

Miss Milton
Mr Lewis

Miss Milton
Mr Lewis

Useful Resources 

  • Linguascope - students will be give a user name and password by their teachers
  • Languages online
  • BBC Bitesize
  • Memrise

Key Stage 5

  • Kerboodle - students will be give a user name and password by their teachers

Teachers have many more fun, exciting online resources specific to the language you are learning. Just ask and they will be more than happy to share them with you.