Learning a foreign language is a liberation from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures. A high-quality languages education should foster pupils’ curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world. The teaching should enable pupils to express their ideas and thoughts in another language and to understand and respond to its speakers, both in speech and in writing. It should also provide opportunities for them to communicate for practical purposes, learn new ways of thinking and read great literature in the original language. Language teaching should provide the foundation for learning further languages, equipping pupils to study and work in other countries.
(National Curriculum 2014)
The National Curriculum for languages aims to ensure that all pupils:
The earlier children encounter a foreign language, the more competent they become in that language as they develop.
At the White House School we wish to promote and encourage a broad cultural understanding. Language plays a key role in this vision. Through the teaching of foreign languages we hope to introduce and develop skills that will be the basis for lifelong enjoyment and open up avenues of communication. We hope to foster an understanding of France and Spain, and French and Spanish people and culture. Children will encounter common everyday situations and language associated with the classroom, friends and family, the home and shopping. They will learn vocabulary and simple phrases and sentences so that by the end of Class 6 they will be able to read and understand short, simple authentic texts. They will engage in role-play situations, games and songs so that they will be able progressively to communicate with increasingly confident use of the language.
French and Spanish will be taught in Years 1 & 2. Currently the emphasis is on French in Years 3-6. Lessons take into account National Curriculum guidelines for Key Stage 1 and 2. Syllabuses follow a 4 year rolling programme so that children learn languages through repetition but progressively increase their skills in literacy and oracy. Writing, speaking, listening and reading are covered.
Schemes of work used are based on ‘La Jolie Ronde’ in conjunction with other schemes such as those published by Catherine Cheater, Rigolo and Scholastic, as well as other publications which contain appropriate material for the topic being taught. To complement the schemes of work, languages are taught using puppets, games, songs, rhymes, stories, worksheets, internet links and interactive material. The children have the opportunity to hear native speakers as well as (hopefully) linking up with schools in the appropriate country, so they can exchange with their European peers. Through pen pal schemes the children develop their understanding of the life of children in these countries.
The school has worked hard to achieve the full International Schools award of the British Council, celebrating cultural diversity and love of languages.
Latin Club supports the teaching of modern foreign languages by encouraging children to explore the roots of many European languages.