Exciting Global Citizens
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” Nelson Mandela
French is a core subject at Langley Preparatory School at Taverham Hall. It is introduced in Year 2, and then fully included in the Prep School curriculum all the way to Year 8 when students prepare for their final exams and some for Scholarship examinations.
We aim to develop every child’s ability to understand and communicate effectively in the target language while promoting cultural awareness and tolerance. Although grammatical accuracy is strongly encouraged, we focus on developing the pupils’ confidence and ability to use the language independently and spontaneously through creative activities and fun language games. Every child’s effort and participation is valued and individual successes are celebrated, irrespective of the pupil’s ability.
Languages and ICT
We use a variety of resources tailor-made within the department for our pupils. In addition, we use a range of French magazines, video material, story books, interactive language websites and other up-to-the-minute materials to maximise exposure to authentic texts and recordings.
The French department has recently taken a technological leap forward in the way we support our pupils in their study of French. Our website, www.LangLangs.com, is used extensively as pupils practise their units, revise topics as well as laying the foundations for new topics coming up. Our YouTube channel, LangLangs French, has got off to a great start with 40 tutorial videos and practice activities which pupils can use to develop specific areas of their learning.
In our effort to personalise the children’s learning, self and peer assessments are used on a regular basis and a wide variety of activities – many of them facilitated by our interactive whiteboards and visualisers – which enable us to keep enthusiasm and motivation high, while catering for all learning styles. Listening, reading, speaking and writing skills are developed strategically, and activities and expectations are adjusted to the needs of all children, whatever their ability.
Every effort is made to develop the children’s cultural awareness and their appreciation of French history, traditions and customs.
All together now, speak!
The new GCSE courses in Modern Foreign Languages which began examining in Senior Schools across the country in 2018 have a strong, new emphasis on being able to speak spontaneously. Here at Langley Preparatory School at Taverham Hall, learning to respond in French to what goes on around us in the classroom lies at the very heart of what we do, and so we are delighted that our pupils will leave us with well-developed skills in this area, ready to pursue their GCSE studies at Senior School. As a result of this, our Head of French was invited to deliver training in strategies for developing spontaneous talk for SCITT, a teacher-training programme for schools around the country, at Sheffield Hallam University and also at training events for teachers organised by the Association for Language Learning.
Calling all bookworms!
September 2019 saw the launch of our French library. Pupils are able to borrow short books bursting with exciting stories, written by native speakers for non-native readers at different stages of their learning. Most come with a CD, so pupils will be able to listen to the story being read to them and they can join in too! This is a wonderful opportunity to support their learning with the written word, to broaden their range of vocabulary and to consolidate their sense of how the language fits together.
A Growth Mindset helps to become successful learners
Learning a foreign language really helps to develop a Growth Mindset, and a Growth Mindset transforms the experience of learning a foreign language. Many language learners of school age and much older are tempted to compare themselves to native speakers and can soon feel despondent, but a Growth Mindset helps them to embrace the challenge in a very practical way as they keep in view both the long-term goal of confident, accurate communication and the more immediate steps that will help them to get there. Our PSB Programme works hand in hand with a Growth Mindset as it lays out those steps and provides the opportunities to see the Core Skills develop.
Language Awareness Programme
From Year 7, for those pupils for whom learning French presents a number of difficulties, we offer a newly launched Language Awareness Programme which replaces the more traditional preparation to the challenging French Common Entrance examination. The pupils study the basics of several languages, starting with German and Japanese, and the programme aims to:
- make language learning fun
- give pupils an understanding of how to learn different languages
- develop listening skills and stimulate communication
- promote cultural and linguistic diversity
The programme focusses on:
- listening and communication skills with minimal practice of reading/writing
- universal language learning skills, which will cross-reference with consolidating literacy basics in English
- providing children with a wider cultural awareness about the world
World Languages Day
Multiculturalism is a key feature of our modern world and we celebrate A World Languages Day every other year in May with a special assembly, international lunch menus, taster sessions in a wide range of languages, songs, quizzes and various inter-house competitions such as a multilingual Treasure Hunt in and around the grounds and ‘Mathémafrançais’ our veru own arithmetic championship in French! Our school community is truly multi-cultural.
From time to time we invite a Professional Language Theatre Company to perform a play in French in front of our younger learners. This always provides the children with a great boost of confidence and offers invaluable opportunities for cultural awareness. For example, the Onatti Theatre Company has delighted our young audience with ‘Shipwrecked en France’, the funny story of a special friendship between an English boy and a French girl and ‘La Salle des Enigmes’, an engaging play in which two French teenagers have to solve the puzzles in order to find their way out of an Escape Room.
Parents of Year 2 pupils are invited to a French breakfast every year in June. They enjoy being waited on by their children (in French!) and can enjoy a musical treat of traditional French songs, performed by our little budding Francophiles!
Trips to France in Years 7 and 8
Trips to France are essential to provide the children with authentic opportunities to practise their linguistic skills in real-life situations and they also help to broaden their cultural awareness. Every two years we embark on a residential trip to Normandy. Our pupils thrive linguistically and socially as our highly skilled hosts lead activities and cultural experiences for the group completely in French, including a visit to a goat farm and a market, bread-making, cycling, kayaking and a visit to Le Mont St Michel.