Modern Foreign Languages
“Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own” said Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, outlining very succinctly the reason why at Hockerill we put the learning of foreign languages at the heart of all learning. Learning foreign languages not only provides essential life tools in a globalised world but also allows learners to become confident and competent communicators with an awareness of their own culture and the culture of others around them.
Our aim at Hockerill is to give students confident possession of their innate linguistic abilities, and to help them discover where these abilities lie. This is achieved through offering all students opportunities to excel within a distinctive International Baccalaureate based curriculum and a rich co-curricular offering.
All students at Hockerill will study at least two foreign languages to GCSE level, starting with French or German as first foreign language in Year 7 and then adding a second foreign language in Year 8, choosing from French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin or Spanish.
To achieve our aim of developing competent and effective communicators in foreign languages, we will deliver all our lessons through the target language to create an ideal immersion environment. The classroom experience will always be supplemented by our extensive and excellent programme of visits and exchanges which every year gives our students the opportunity to experience the culture and people in the target language country.
Enquiring and caring global citizens
Language is the prism through which we perceive other cultures. It is not only our aim to encourage a natural curiosity about the local and global world our students grow up in, while equipping them with the tools to access its cultures as well as the competences and opportunities to experience and learn about these first-hand. "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", said Nelson Mandela.
Excellence in education
Our target language tuition for all students creates an immersion learning environment that aims to recreate the target language and target culture environment in the classroom. This is extended through our unique bilingual programme that enables most students to study some Music in Year 7 as well as History and Geography through French or German in Years 9 and 10. It will further aid acquisition of and provide exposure to the foreign language and thereby equip learners with valuable transferable learning tools. Lastly, the outstanding and comprehensive programme of visit and exchanges connects the classroom with the real world and challenges students to apply their developing linguistic skills while experiencing other people in their cultures.
Language acquisition aims to develop a respect for, and understanding of, other languages and cultures, and is equally designed to equip the student with a skills base to facilitate further language learning.
Concept-Based Student-led Inquiry
The objectives of language acquisition encompass the factual, conceptual, procedural and metacognitive dimensions of knowledge. The student’s knowledge and understanding will be developed through:
• learning language
• learning through language
• learning about language (Halliday 1985)
Approaches to Learning
The following are at the heart of the Modern Foreign Languages curriculum, allowing students to thrive.
Thinking skills. critical thinking. creativity and innovation are critical as students learn to problem solve.
Communication skills ensure that students successfully communicate their intentions.
Social skills allow students to work in groups and discuss ideas and concepts.
Self-management skills. organisation. affective. Reflection Mean that students are efficiently working and improving.
Research skills. information literacy. media literacy allow students to produce work that has depth and breadth, integrity and flair.
Approaches to Teaching
All students at Hockerill study two Modern Foreign Language (MFL) of the six that form the curriculum. The languages are delivered through a communicative target language immersion approach. The inclusive classroom learning experience in College is greatly enriched through an extensive trips and exchanges programme as well as the bilingual Humanities studies in Year 9 and 10, which further enhances the immersion experience.
For Year 7 students are giving the choice between French and German as first foreign language and almost always are students able to study their chosen language (All MFL courses are foreign language acquisition courses, which means students with prior knowledge a language must not choose this as a subject at Hockerill). The first foreign language will be studied until the end of Year 11 and the course concludes with the GCSE examinations.
For Year 8 all students are invited to express a first and second choice for their second foreign language, again selecting from the remaining five available languages. Almost all students are allocated their preferred language and all students will be able to study either their first or second choice second Modern Foreign Language.
Multiple broad interdisciplinary connections exist between Languages studies and several other subject areas such as Geography & History (identifying the target language speaking world and talking about histories in these areas), Maths (Use of numbers for dates, talking about money, modern media, surveys and many more), Music. Sport & Literature (Considering the history of music/literature/sport in the target language country as well as talking about modern music/literature/sport).
Literacy is developed in the four skills: Listen, Reading, Speaking and Writing. The thorough understanding of linguistic concepts such as vocabulary, grammar, genres, pronunciation and many more lie at the heart of the successful delivery of the modern foreign languages curriculum.
The use of numbers in the target language is a permanent part of MFL lessons. Competencies are developed from the first lesson on.
Developing international mindedness as well as an awareness of British values is the second key focus in the delivery of the MFL curriculum alongside teaching and learning communicative skills. The consideration of International Mindedness and British Values begins in the classroom when learning about the target language culture while cooperating respectfully with peers and staff and always culminates in the participation the trips and exchanges programme, when students immerse themselves into a new culture. Throughout the whole language learning process students are able to learn about their own values, often British values, as well as the values of others. The expanding and deepening content of the MFL curriculum and lastly the firsthand experiences continuously introduce and reinforce International Mindedness & British Values.
Purpose: How does the curriculum support a holistic approach to education that goes beyond academic development?
The core aim of developing competent communicators in at least two modern foreign languages and doing so through a target languages immersion approach benefits learners far beyond gaining the skill to speak two further languages. Multilingualism has a significant effect on cognitive development, especially so in young people. Therefore, learning foreign languages positively affects learning and progress across the academic curriculum range as well as outside the academic context. Furthermore, the required learning skills are always transferable and further support the general learning of students. Being a confident and competent communicator in multiple languages will be an outstanding attribute in academic environments as well as the professional world.
Environment: How is the curriculum adjusted to ensure all students can succeed?
All students are encouraged to follow the prescribed MFL curriculum of two modern foreign languages at Hockerill. Throughout the courses individual learning needs are reviewed and addressed in a variety of ways to achieve the highest level individual attainment for every learner. Most learner groups across the age range are set up as mixed ability. Student cooperation and mutual support are a key element of the approach to teaching and learning. The approach benefits the support giver as well as the receiver and roles will vary over time. Differentiation of different types is used, to further support each learner and achieve consistently high results in external examinations.
Learning: How is feedback written into the curriculum to ensure that all students are set challenging goals?
Students receive regular formal written and informal verbal feedback. The written feedback is given through Faculty feedback forms specific to the course of study (IBMYP, GCSE, IBDP). Written feedback on summative assessments will be given twice per half term and once informal on a vocabulary/grammar test (IBMYP, GCSE).
Verbal feedback takes place ad hoc and may precede/follow formal written feedback. It may also be given spontaneously in class following the review of work but can also have a more formal set up when it takes place in the context of major internal assessments such as mock examinations.
Some students are able to support the teachers of our Community Languages classes, classes for primary school children as well as classes for adults, as foreign languages assistant. Sixth form students as also offered tutoring sessions for younger learner or have organised cultural clubs looking at target culture films, literature or news.
The link to TOK mainly becomes apparent during the study of Literature in the Higher Level Language B courses as well as the Language A course. The existence of knowledge, the history of knowledge as well evaluation of knowledge in relation to the literary works read is a central and exciting part of the courses.