The Department of Modern Languages is made up of a dedicated team of staff; a Head of Department supported by three specialist teachers of French and Spanish, who are highly committed to demonstrating their passion for languages, in order to promote students’ enjoyment and engagement with their learning. We strive to deliver high quality, challenging, interesting and appropriate learning experiences to all our students, both inside and outside of the classroom.
The Department is dedicated to providing quality first teaching to our students. In Modern Foreign Languages we aim to:
– assist students in the development of their ability to understand and use language effectively
– provide a positive & stimulating learning experience which may then encourage students to
pursue further study of language learning
– develop greater awareness of the benefits of foreign language skills in the workplace, travel
– develop students’ cultural awareness
– encourage tolerance and acceptance of others
– promote the acquisition of transferable language learning skills
– encourage language learning through the use of new technologies
A high standard of work is expected. Students’ progress is assessed through classwork, homework, oral contributions, assessment tasks and end of unit assessments. A variety of teaching and learning styles are used to encourage pupils to think deeply and participate fully in lessons. Students are encouraged to develop their independent learning skills and the ability to use knowledge of their own native language to make connections to French / Spanish which will allow fluent and comprehensive conversation and knowledge to be transferred and retained now and in the future.
Pupils are set 2 to 3 pieces of homework a fortnight, which may take the form of a learning task, a written task, a reading task, research or a creative task. We also use websites such as Seneca Learning and ActiveLearn to promote students’ independence and resilience.
Whilst the main language studied is Spanish, all students have the opportunity to study a unit of French in Years 7 & 8 so that they can; further develop their language skills, see how learning one language can lead to a second or third, strengthen their learning of English grammar and literacy, deepen their understanding of world culture, and support them when making a choice of which language they would like to continue with in Year 9.
In Year 7 through the introductory unit, students cover the alphabet, numbers, colours and personal introductions. They then study a wide range of topics such as family and relationships, education, free-time and where they live. Students begin to develop their language skills through a range of written and oral activities and are given the opportunity to explore the cultural aspects of the language(s) they are studying.
In Year 8, to further develop the skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing, there is a greater focus on grammatical structures and accuracy in students’ written and spoken work. Topics covered include holidays and lifestyle including health and wellbeing and new technology and students will acquire a more thorough cultural knowledge base.
In Year 9, students deepen their knowledge and understanding of the language(s) and are encouraged to improve their listening and reading comprehension skills and their confidence in speaking tasks. An increased independence in writing assessments is expected. Students will further develop the key skills required for future success at GCSE, which include translation and transcription and the use of several tenses in their written and spoken work.
GCSE French & Spanish
Exam board: AQA
The GCSE course is made up of three Themes which build upon the foundations of Years 7-9:
Theme 1 – Identity and culture covers: family, friends and relationships, technology in everyday life, free-time activities, customs and festivals in French-/Spanish-speaking countries and communities.
Theme 2 – Local, national, international and global areas of interest covers: home, town, neighbourhood and region, social issues, global issues, travel and tourism.
Theme 3 – Current and future study and employment covers: my studies, life at school, education post-16, jobs, career choices and ambitions.
In Year 11, students are required to sit examinations in each of the four skills: Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. Each examination is worth 25% of the overall mark.
Students at St. Joseph’s are offered a variety of enrichment activities for Modern Languages, including the opportunity to go on school trips to France and/or Spain or other French-/Spanish-speaking countries.
Throughout the year, there are lots of internal and national activities and competitions in which to participate, including: Dia de los Muertos challenge, MFL Christmas Card competition and Poetry competitions, and we also work together with A Level tutors and students from our local colleges to give our students a taste of what to expect if they progress to further study.
Our first event of the year is European Day of Languages on 26th September, which is celebrated in schools all over Europe. This day promotes the rich linguistic and cultural diversity we have within our school community and across the world. Students and staff alike get involved in a variety of activities in lesson time, form time and at break and lunch time. Staff and students are invited to a Bake-Off in aid of Macmillan Cancer Charity, and prizes are awarded for the best decorated cakes.
Polish, Italian, Arabic, Urdu, Russian, Perisan and Punjabi languages are also potentially available as additional subjects at GCSE level, for students who have native-speaker knowledge.
Mrs J Hopkins – Head of Department; Teacher of French and Spanish
Mrs A McDonnell – Assistant Headteacher Learning & Teaching / Teacher of French & Spanish
Mr P Smith – Teacher of French and Spanish
Mrs C Yates – Teacher of French and Spanish