Languages - French
If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart –Nelson Mandela
As the UK is becoming an increasingly multicultural society, we have a duty to provide our children with an understanding of other cultures and languages. We aim to do this at Whitegrove by considering language learning to be a very important and useful life-long skill, helping to foster children’s awareness of and positive attitudes towards other countries and cultures and building tolerance. Learning a language enriches the curriculum, providing excitement, enjoyment and challenge for children and teachers, helping to create enthusiastic learners and to develop positive attitudes to language learning throughout life. The skills, knowledge and understanding gained make a major contribution to the development of children's oracy and literacy and to their understanding of their own culture and those of others.
Our aim for the children at Whitegrove is to develop the ability to understand, read, write and converse in French. We do this in a variety of fun and interesting ways, from songs, films and stories to games, roleplay and other immersive cultural experiences, with a main emphasis on communication. Children spend much of their time in language lessons speaking, listening and interacting. They take part in role-plays, conversations and question and answer work, sing songs and recite, perform to an audience and respond to a wide range of aural stimuli. This emphasis on communication underpins children's capabilities in oracy, which is critical to effective communication as well as a key foundation for literacy.
At Whitegrove, in line with the National Curriculum, we teach French over the four years of Key Stage 2, but we also informally introduce French in Key Stage 1 through song, dance and games, as we feel it is never too early to be exposed to a love of languages. Each year we choose a whole school project related to an aspect of French culture, in which all year groups approach the project from different angles and come together to share their learning. Wherever possible we encourage children to use and apply their learning in other areas of the curriculum across the timetable. Teachers are encouraged to use French on a regular basis, whenever possible, such as completing the register or using classroom commands in French.
We also endeavour to make contact with people in other countries and cultures, by using the technology available to us, to help the children gain a sense of purpose and relevance to their learning. It also gives children a great sense of accomplishment when they are able to converse with others in another language.