At Kessingland CofE Primary Academy, we believe that it is important for our pupils to learn Christian and British Values from a very young age. We know that by learning a foreign language and by acquiring a wider knowledge and understanding of how people live around the world, our children will develop a greater Respect and Tolerance of cultures which might different to their own; thus preparing them well to live in an ever increasing global community.
At Kessingland CofE Primary Academy, Year 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 pupils have one hour of French a week which is taught by a specialist Language Teacher who is also a native speaker. Mimes, quizzes, games, videos, songs, stories and role plays ensure that all learning styles are catered for. As a result French is an inclusive and engaging subject in our school which is accessible and enjoyable for all.
A wide range of topics is covered throughout the 5 years which encompass greetings, colours, numbers, playground songs and games, opinions, countries, weather, school life as well as shopping and eating out. In addition to acquiring practical communication skills pupils have the opportunity to reinforce the grammatical knowledge they have acquired in their own language when literacy notions such as “nouns, singular, plural, verbs, adjectives, connectives, conjunctions and subordinate clauses” are referred to in French lessons.
In Year 2 and 3, the language focus is on acquiring good pronunciation as well as learning useful memorisation strategies so that children can build up the confidence to deliver a short role play in front of an audience. Pupils are also shown fun techniques to learn the spelling of simple words in the target language.
From the onset, students are made aware of the importance of gender and number – singular and plural – in French. In Year 4, pupils are taught a range of ways to memorise whether nouns are masculine, feminine or plural. Physical locations – such as tables – are used to help pupils remember the gender of school items for example whereas parts of the body are introduced by splitting the body in half and introducing male and female words with the corresponding side. In Year 5 pupils are also taught that definite and indefinite articles as well as word endings provides clues as to genders. They are also shown how to use this knowledge to agree adjectives correctly.
As the years progress, pupils build up their vocabulary range and grammatical expertise and are encouraged to write in extended sentences as well as urged to manipulate the language by using a dictionary. Furthermore, the teacher is currently experimenting with using Talk4Writing in French to make longer texts more accessible to pupils as well as encourage them to memorise texts as well as help them produce original stories in the target language.
Cultural Aspect of Learning
Learning about other cultures form an integral part of the French lessons. In Year 2 and 3 pupils have the opportunity to learn how to say Hello in various languages as well as learn the range of gestures which pupils use to greet each other around the world. They are taught that it is important to know the social conventions when visiting a foreign country so that not to offend anyone.
We feel that pupils’ cultural experience is enriched by having a native French teacher who was raised in a country different to that of the children. They are inevitably drawing parallel between her life in France and theirs in England as she:
- Shows pupils where she grew up on a map
- Uses Meteo France to check the weather in her family’s back garden and talks about seasons
- Show pictures of where her family lives back home using Google Earth and pictures of landscapes and daily life
- Narrate her grandmother’s and grandfather’s experiences when pupils learn about the 2nd World War in Topics
- Share traditional Christmas or Easter cake recipes
- Compare her experience of schools to that of the children
- Talk about important festivals, special events and customs relating to Christmas, Ephiphany, Shrove Tuesday, April Fool’s Day, Easter, French National Day, the Tour de France or Euro2016.
- Talk about prominent past and present French or French speaking figures in the area of Arts (Monet), Music, Science, Politics (Napoleon, DeGaulle), Sports, Media (Asterix, Schtrumpfs) and Literature
On Tuesday 24th May 2016 Kessingland CofE Primary Academy will present its first-ever French Theatre Production. “Parlez-vous Français” tells the story of an English student who ends up in a French hospital on the first day of his skiing trip. Left alone in the examination room, he has to use his limited French to make himself understood by a very stern and unsympathetic nurse. All is not lost as a young French maiden comes to the rescue! As usual, an Onatti production full of laughs and full of great French language too! More details can be found on the company’s website here.
On Tuesday 7th June 2016 Year 4 and 5 pupils will have the opportunity to share their experience of language learning with two adult members of their family. The aim of the session is for children and adults to work together – and support each other – whilst learning a new skill. The event will take place in the Atrium and will start with a lesson during which all participants will learn how to order food in French. This will be followed by a Continental breakfast which will provide an authentic context for all learners to practise their new skills.
Examples of Work
Pupils wrote the numbers from 1 to 10 accurately and showed understanding by drawing the same number of objects.
Le Fermier dans son pré
Pupils showed understanding of the writing of the playground game they had learnt by drawing the various characters as they appear in the song.
Parts of the Body
Pupils had to listen to a part of the body in French. Then, they had to draw it to show their understanding as well as put a tick next to the male or female stick person to indicate whether they thought the noun was masculine or feminine.
Pupils performed a role play with props on Greetings.
My pencil case
Pupils designed a pencil case. The focus of the exercise was to write accurately from memory the nouns of the items contained in the pencil case paying particular attention to gender.
Lion Class singing a made-up song about greetings.
Pupils were asked to write about their opinions. They were urged to use extended sentences starting with “because/parce que” as well as encouraged to use a dictionary to adapt the language they had learnt to suit their own purpose.
Useful Links to songs the children have learnt: