Modern Foreign Languages
The study of MFL is an important part of the pupils’ curriculum. It equips them with a useful practical tool for communication in an international context; it strengthens their ability to express themselves, it enables them to develop transferable language learning skills; it encourages them to analyse a foreign Language and compare it to their own; it provides an insight into other nations, countries and cultures and thus widens their intellectual horizons. 70% of all employers and universities require a GCSE in another language and here at BMA languages are compulsory. Students trial German, French and Spanish and then opt in Year 7 for their language of choice to study until Year 11.
We would encourage students to practice the language they are learning in that country with Native Speakers, by going on a school trip to either Barcelona, Berlin or Paris.
We aim to broaden pupils’ knowledge and skills beyond the subject specification. In addition to the obvious benefits for the key skills of communication and literacy, MFL learners are required to work collaboratively with their peers and develop independent research skills. Pupils’ ICT literacy is progressed as they use the internet to access authentic target Language. The study of MFL requires pupils to explore the notions of citizenship and personal and social responsibility.
The MFL courses aim to develop the pupils’ communicative competence in the four equally important attainment targets of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Lessons are taught as far as possible in the target Language (TL) thus allowing the students to see it as a valid medium of communication. They, in turn, should be encouraged to use maximum TL in the classroom and to ask for help when necessary in that Language. Much of the lesson content involves the development and practising of oral and comprehension skills with writing tasks most commonly set as prep to enable pupils to work more easily at their own level and speed. However, it is important that grammar is introduced from the early years in order that pupils gain confidence and competence in TL structures. Regular writing assignments and tests in vocabulary and grammar should be set to support this.
The MFL department is committed to teaching Languages at a level which is appropriate to the ability of each pupil. It is important that each pupil is able to realise his or her potential. Teaching strategies should be varied and staff should be willing to try out new ideas and approaches in order to encourage interest and enthusiasm to promote effective learning. Staff should aim to develop a relationship with pupils, which will allow them to recognise the individual pupils’ needs and to be seen as approachable by the pupils.
Above all, we are committed to making Language learning an enjoyable experience. Pupils must feel confident using the foreign Language and see us as relevant to their needs. Serious productive work should not preclude fun.
German is one of the 3 main languages studied at BMA with a number of experienced specialists. German is a respected qualification for those who wish to pursue a career in engineering and Germany is the UK’s biggest trading partner in Europe. German grammar is logical and easy to spell, so we recommend it to students who find spelling challenging. As a subject, it is well established with its own foreign language assistant and sharing of departmental multi – media resources, as well as offering pupils opportunities for contact with native speakers via trips.
In Europe, Spanish is the second most popular second language, after English. With some 400 million speakers, Spanish is the fourth most commonly spoken language in the world. There are also other reasons why study Spanish. For example: to enhance your travel experiences& improve your employment potential.
France is the homeland of countless inspirational, iconic artists and musicians, sports heroes and film stars, as well as the source of inspired cuisine enjoyed throughout the world. French-speaking countries throughout the world have so much to offer us in terms of cultural experiences, influences on Western lifestyle and even the food we buy at the supermarket … and possibly as holiday destinations! Among them we can count France, Canada, The Channel Islands, Luxembourg, Belgium, Madagascar, the Ivory Coast, the Seychelles, Morocco, Tunisia, Haiti…. the French-speaking world can enrich our lives on a daily basis.
In both KS3 & KS4, students study French, German or Spanish.
In French, we follow the textbook Expo. Work and resources are differentiated accordingly depending on the group and abilities within each group.
In German and Spanish, we study Echo and Mira respectively using all associated resources as well as internet materials.
It is not expected that teachers follow the textbooks as a matter of course – the schemes of work outline key teaching points each term and teachers adapt their own materials to these accordingly.
Students are allocated 2 lessons of MFL teaching each week until Year 9 and then 3 lessons per week in Years 10 & 11.
By the start of the summer term of Year 9, teachers will effectively start to teach GCSE courses although students will not make a final option until the second half term. We use the AQA / Edexcel courses for all languages in the department.
In Years 10 and 11, all students study their GCSEs in French, German, or Spanish with speaking and written elements examined throughout both Years. Testing will take place at appropriate times during the Academic Year according to student performance. After school revision sessions take place on a weekly basis on a Friday with an emphasis on exam skills and vocabulary.
Our languages offer necessarily reflects the diversity of our student population.
At BMA, we believe that it is essential to recognize the importance of the languages spoken by our students at home. Celebrating and promoting these diverse languages gives our students confidence and raises their self-esteem. It is also a central tenet of our contribution to community cohesion. Where possible, we support our students to achieve their potential in their home language by providing support and accreditation. In past years we were able to accredit 13 languages: French, German, Spanish, Polish, Arabic, Russian, Turkish, Urdu, Hindi, Mandarin, Bengali, Portuguese, Panjabi, and Cantonese. If you speak another language at home and this exists as a GCSE qualification, we will enter you for this exam in addition to your choice of German, French or Spanish.