“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.”
“Learning another language is not only learning different words for the same things, but learning another way to think about things.”
“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.”
Our Curriculum Intent
We aim to develop and nurture curious, confident and enthusiastic linguists capable of respecting and valuing the cultural and linguistic diversity that enrich our global community. Intercultural awareness and foreign language skills are valued by further education establishment and employers alike. We endeavour to empower our students to succeed at languages and cultivate the desire to be lifelong language learners through a carefully constructed curriculum and engaging learning environment enhanced by a variety of multi-media resources, and perhaps most importantly by sharing our own enthusiasm and passion for languages.
Language teaching at Orchard Mead Academy starts with a range of activities to promote phonological awareness (the sound-spelling correspondences of French/Spanish and how to pronounce French/Spanish words), the ability to introduce oneself in French/Spanish and an appreciation of the scope of the French-and Spanish-speaking worlds (it’s not just in France/Spain where French and Spanish are spoken!).
Excellent study habits are cultivated through weekly vocabulary tests that students are asked to revise for at home (short revision sessions of 5-15 minutes over several days is recommended). The passive vocabulary tests are designed to be accessible to all students and the first eight items in passive tests are a match up activity requiring only recognition, with the remaining items to be translated from French or Spanish into English, while in active tests the initial letter of each word is provided for the first 4 sentences.
Our homework expectation is that all students work hard to commit this vocabulary to long term memory by using Quizlet or paper. We ask all students to either submit a screen shot of their Quizlet homework with the date on Satchel One or to bring in paper evidence of self-quizzing (look/cover/write/check) and give it to their teacher on the day of the vocab test. If at that point, any students have not submitted electronically or brought in paper evidence, they will receive a negative point, which could lead to a detention, as per our school homework policy.
KS4 students are also required to complete one page of a Reading/Translation/Grammar booklet to practise their exam skills and bring this to class on the day of the vocab test, or if they misplace the booklet to write their answers on paper and bring this instead.
Spaced learning and retrieval practice of past topics and vocabulary are integral to the curriculum, all of which help to facilitate long-term retention of key vocabulary chunks and structures. We also encourage students to listen to the target language at home as regular exposure to the language is extremely helpful and we provide links to useful websites with short, engaging videos and audio resources. In addition, students can take their learning further, by using the app Duolingo and joining the OMA French / OMA Spanish class to take part in the regular competitions.
As pupils progress, they acquire grammatical understanding and increased awareness of similarities and differences between French and English, which empowers them to be creative with the language, skilfully adapting and manipulating words, chunks and structures to express themselves with increasing accuracy and confidence.
Within the eleven topics that comprise our Key Stage 3 & 4 curriculum, students learn to analyse the most important and frequently used words, chunks and structures of the French language, how to use different strategies to develop their speaking, listening, reading and writing skills and experience the pleasure of understanding and communicating successfully in a foreign language. Overarching the whole curriculum is the idea that the understanding of a second language can vastly improve their understanding of their own language, their ability to see patterns and recognise trends, and to fully embrace the global community to which they belong.