During Cohort 7 and 8 the focus of learning in languages is about the process of acquiring knowledge and language skills. Learners will discover the techniques and skills of learning a language followed by the practice and the creative application of the language. Indeed the focus of the how we learn in languages will enable learners to become successful later in their quest to be qualified with a GCSE in French, German and/or Spanish.
Every learner at Honywood studies languages at KS3. In Cohort 7 and Cohort 8 all learners will study French, German and Spanish. In cohort 8 when learners make their Guided Choices they will have the choice of studying at least one of the three languages.
Learners will learn across a wide range of themes with the key focus on language acquisition. Learners will learn the building blocks of languages and how to piece them together to construct and use sentences successfully. For example, learners will learn the toolbox of grammar which they need to communicate and express themselves successfully in French, German and Spanish.
Across Cohort 7 and Cohort 8 there will be regular assessments across the four skill areas in French and German, consisting of Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing. Each will be given equal weighting of 25% each. Learners will complete two reading and two writing tasks of their choice, individually, during the term and for speaking and listening they will complete one task as a whole group per half term.
In Cohort 7 and Cohort 8 learners are provided with a variety of guidance, including written comments in exercise books, verbal feedback during learning sessions, peer assessment using the success criteria provided and electronic feedback via email, showbie and ilah. Following written and spoken tasks learners are also provided with the appropriate feedback sheet which shows which types of grammar have been correctly used with space for both teacher and learner comments.
KS4 Learning (Cohorts 9 and 10)
Learners in Cohorts 9 and 10 will follow the new AQA GCSE specification. The course will reflect the new equal weightings across the four skill areas of speaking, listening, reading and writing (25% each). Across the GCSE learning will be based upon different themes, including Who I Am, Daily Life, House and Home, School Life and many more. The course will use authentic material as stimulus for the learning across the four skill areas and learners will need to keep a folder with separate sections to keep the resources safe and to store examples of their learning. The folders will be kept for the complete 3 year GCSE course and will be essential for revision for the final exams.
KS4 Assessment (Cohorts 9 and 10)
The assessments for the new GCSE will be assessed across linear exams taken at the end of cohort 11. There will be a reading paper including questions both in English and French/German/Spanish using authentic French/German/Spanish texts and there will also be a translation task from French/German/Spanish into English. The listening paper will also include questions in both French/German/Spanish and English, listenin
g to range of questions in the target language. The written paper will include a range of short written tasks, including a translation task from English into French/German/Spanish. Finally, the speaking exam will be examined in school and learners will have a short amount of preparation time to complete the tasks, such as a role play and talking about a certain image in the target language. Across Cohorts 9 and 10, all learners w
ill take part in regular skill week challenges, designed to allow learners to reflect on their progress so far and to exemplify what the final examinations will entail.
KS4 Guidance (Cohorts 9 and 10)
In Cohorts 9 and 10 learners are provided with a variety of guidance, including written comments in exercise books and/or folders, verbal feedback during learning sessions, peer assessment using the success criteria provided and electronic feedback via email. Every half term learners also complete skill assessments in the four skill areas of reading, listening, speaking and writing and following these challenges, learners receive both written and verbal marks alongside feedback and areas for development.
KS4 Learning (Cohort 11)
In Cohort 11, learners continue the task of becoming qualified in languages with a GCSE qualification following the OCR syllabus. Learners will continue to build their confidence applying the grammar toolbox they have formed across a range of themes including Holidays, Travel, School Life and Work Experience. Learners will build upon their grammatical knowledge and continue to construct a variety of phrases in order to communicate and express themselves confidently in the target language. Throughout the GCSE, learners will have studied the following topics and by doing this, will have completed both spoken and written controlled assessment as well as learning and focusing on key vocabulary for the final reading and listening exams:
Topic Area 1: Home and Local Area
• Life in the home, friends and relationships
• Local Area
Topic Area 2: Health and Sport
• Sport, outdoor pursuits and healthy lifestyle
• Food and Drink
Topic Area 3: Leisure and entertainment
• Socialising, special occasions and festivals
• Current affairs and social issues in the context of media
Topic Area 4 : Travel and the Wider World
• Holidays and exchanges
• Environmental, cultural and social issues
Topic Area 5: Education and Work
• School life
• Work experience
The learning across the five topic areas will enable learners to apply their knowledge and links are made to the real world and purpose of learning a new language. In addition there is a strong focus on motivation and the purposeful and rewarding nature of learning a language. It is important to make the learning experience real, fun and rewarding!
KS4 Assessment (Cohort 11)
The existing GCSE is made up of 30% written controlled assessment (two tasks at 15% each) and we will submit the strongest two pieces to be marked by the exam board at the end of cohort 11. The next 30 % is made up of speaking controlled assessment (two tasks at 15% each) and again, we will choose the best two pieces which will be marked internally in school and moderated by the exam board. Finally, learners will sit a final listening and reading examination at the end of cohort 11, accounting for the final 40% of the overall grade.
KS4 Guidance (Cohort 11)
In Cohort 11 learners are provided with a variety of guidance, including written comments in exercise books, verbal feedback during learning sessions and electronic feedback via email. Following all controlled assessment tasks for speaking and writing, learners are also provided with GCSE feedback sheets which show the success criteria and areas for development for the future.
Approach to Independent Study
Independent study is crucial to becoming a success linguist and each learner will be set clear tasks to complete, with manageable deadlines. We encourage the little but often approach to independent study in languages, especially with regards to vocabulary learning. Furthermore, at KS4 (Cohort 11) learners should allow sufficient time to prepare for written and spoken controlled assessments and clear guidance is always given by the teaching staff regarding time and strategies.
Resources to support learning:
Learners are emailed a large range of resources during their learning in languages.
In addition at KS4 we recommend the following:
French/German/ Spanish Dictionary
French/German/Spanish Verb Book
French/ German/ Spanish Vocabulary book
French/German/Spanish AQA revision guides, available to purchase via the Honywood shop
Questions about studying a language
Everyone speaks English, don’t they?
Well, no. Actually only about 6.5% of the world’s population speak it as a first language. Researchers calculate that another 18.5% speak it as a second or foreign language which leaves 75% of humanity who don’t understand a word. No one would deny that English is now a global language, and that there has been a massive growth in English learning throughout the world – but that just means that the world is becoming more multilingual – and monolingual English speakers are being left behind. Today there is a global market for jobs. Once others speak English, they can compete for jobs in the English-speaking market. They are not learning English for our benefit!
Languages are not a vocational option
Languages can be studied in an academic way – but many courses are really practical, especially those that combine languages with another subject. The range of vocational degrees involving a language is virtually limitless – from Accountancy with Russian to Engineering with Italian. Subjects like Business Studies or IT combine particularly well with a language and you’ll get a much broader range of possibilities after graduating. And even if you don’t want to do a language as a main subject, many universities offer institution-wide language programmes which mean you can take up a new language or keep up one your learnt at school alongside your other subjects.
The only jobs you can do with languages are teaching or translating
Language graduates have a vast array of career opportunities open to them, ranging from work with well-known multinational companies to international organisations or charities. There are exciting opportunities – often involving travel abroad – in almost every sector. A recent survey shows that only about 5% of language graduates go into teaching, and much fewer into translating or interpreting. About 27% go into business services, and around 10% go into each of the following: manufacturing, sales, banking/finance, community/social services, transport/communications. Don’t think you’re limiting your career options by choosing languages.
There’s no demand for language skills in the jobs market
You may be surprised to know that language graduates have lower rates of unemployment than graduates in the great majority of other subjects – only 3% of German graduates were still unemployed at the time of a recent survey, as opposed to over 5% of those with degrees in Business Studies, and an amazing 8% of those who did Computing. Employers are waking up to the need to recruit people with languages – and not just the obvious ones either. Community languages such as Arabic, Urdu and Chinese are increasingly being required too, as are Welsh and British Sign Language. Rest assured if you choose languages your skills will be in high demand.
Jobs with languages don’t pay well
Because of the shortage of English native speakers with language skills, employers are willing to pay over the odds. The Guardian reported last year that secretarial and clerical staff with languages can earn 20% extra than those with only English. Another survey of the jobs market generally found employers paid on average 8% more for staff with languages. Having another language often gives you the edge when it comes to promotion or competing for a plum job.
Language courses are all boring
With languages, the idea is to learn to communicate, and course designers have realised for some years now that sitting with your head in a book is not the best way to do this! The project work and activities you can get involved in on language courses now are really exciting. For example, students at the University of Central Lancashire take part in an international challenge via video-conferencing, competing with teams in Germany and Scandinavia to resolve a business problem. Language courses may give you experience of working in international teams and a whole range of ICT applications which will be useful in the future as well as fun.
Learning languages is a hard slog!
Languages are a very sociable subject. It’s hard work learning to banter or tell jokes in another language, but it’s fun too! If you enjoy being with people and communicating with them, the chances are you’ll enjoy doing it in a foreign language too. And you get to travel abroad! Most language courses include a year in a country where the language is spoken, where you can attend courses at a foreign university or get valuable work experience.
It doesn’t teach you anything worthwhile
Another language is a concrete and demonstrable skill – like being able to drive a car or touch type. But learning a language teaches you all sorts of other valuable things too – which you’ll find invaluable later when you get into work. Using language to persuade, argue or explain, preparing presentations, putting text in different forms for different audiences, just putting ideas across clearly – all these are vital skills for the workplace, whatever language you’re operating in. Learning how to interact with speakers of other languages can help you to see things from a range of perspectives – making you more adaptable, creative, and insightful. The ability to operate cross-culturally is becoming just as much valued by employers as straight language skills.
It’s difficult to get to a good enough level
Of course some jobs – like translating into the foreign language – involve a very high level of competence and are best done by a native speaker. Others require specialist knowledge of the context you’re working in – which you will pick up on the job. But in today’s multilingual world, when a different language can pop up any time in an e-mail or on the phone – then what you’ll need is the ability to tell at a glance whether that fax is an order, and which department it should go to; to make the foreign visitors feel at ease and welcomed; to spot opportunities or problems that the monolingual won’t be aware of. You’ll be surprised how much you can do!
The MFL Team
Philippe Bilby KS3/KS4 French, KS3 German, KS3/KS4 Spanish
Anne Mitchell KS3/KS4 French, KS3 German
Jo-Anne Hickford KS3/KS4 German, KS3 French/ Spanish
Tracey Ward KS3/KS4 French, KS3/KS4 German, KS3/KS4 Spanish
Alice Martin KS3/KS4 German and Business Studies
Rachel Hoogakker KS3/KS4 French and German
Sophie Aravinthan KS3/KS4 French and German