Bienvenue, bienvenido, to the Modern Foreign Languages Department (MFL).
Whilst the initial excitement for youngsters in learning a foreign language derives from the excitement of playing with new sounds, parents’ pride and joy in their child’s early achievement is moreover supported by the conviction that knowledge of a foreign language will, ultimately, contribute towards career prospects and consequently long-term well-being.
However, although pupil enjoyment, parental satisfaction and long-term goals all contribute towards our aims and therefore approach in teaching MFL here at Godstowe, its inclusion within the curriculum from Lodge to year 8 is based upon a wider perspective of ideals that views Languages as part of the cultural richness of our society and the world in which we live and work.
“Through the study of a foreign language, pupils understand and appreciate different countries, cultures, people and communities and as they do so, begin to think of themselves as citizens of the world as well as of the United Kingdom. Pupils also learn about the basic structures of language. They explore the similarities and differences between the foreign language they are learning and English or another language, and learn how language can be manipulated and applied in different ways. Their listening, reading and memory skills improve, and their speaking and writing become more accurate. The development of these skills, together with pupils’ knowledge and understanding of the structure of language, lays the foundations for future study of other languages.”
(National Curriculum document for MFL at Key Stages 3 & 4)
MFL learning within Godstowe is experienced within a multi-national environment, where many of our pupils are already bilingual, or even trilingual, in languages often including French and Spanish. Our pupils are offered the opportunity to develop listening, speaking, reading and writing skills, to develop knowledge about language and language-learning skills, and to express themselves with increasing confidence, independence and creativity.
Through structured language-learning, promoting literacy and language-learning skills, we encourage language awareness and directly support work within other language-related subjects. Curiosity, enquiry, tolerance and understanding, which are encouraged through foreign language learning, and are relevant and valuable for all of our pupils, reflect moral, spiritual and pastoral values embraced by the School.
Firmly embedding language-learning within its wider cultural context, the MFL curriculum is supported by a wide variety of opportunities for pupils to apply and extend their experience in authentic situations. These include subscriptions to Language Magazines, annual whole school cross-curricular celebrations of languages and La Fête des Rois (El día des Reyes), performances of Christmas carols, after-school activities in French, Spanish and Mandarin, performances by visiting theatre companies and a range of foreign visits. These activities firmly underline our belief that the ability to understand and communicate in another language is a lifelong skill for education, employment and leisure in this country and throughout the world.