Department Mission statement
Key Stage 3:
Our pupils come from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, and many speak languages other than English at home. At MIHSG we believe that learning a language other than the mother tongue contributes greatly to the intellectual and personal development of the individual, a fact that is increasingly recognised by the top universities. Knowledge of languages other than English or the mother tongue is becoming increasingly important in a global employment market, and young people with language skills are now highly sought after.
Languages allow us to share the rich cultures of our society and the world in which we live. Pupils learn to value different people, cultures and communities and, by comparing these, they build up a greater understanding of their own culture and society. The communication skills acquired, help to develop an understanding of the nature of language therefore enhance literacy skills in English and a pupils own language.
At MIHSG we have one teacher of French, Mrs Smart. The subject is taught in mixed ability form groups to all pupils at Key Stage 3. There are two lessons per week in Years 7 and 9, and one lesson per week in Year 8. At the end of Year 9 pupils may choose to continue studying French to GCSE level. GCSE pupils have three lessons of French per week. Lessons are taught in a specialist room equipped with interactive whiteboard, internet access and CD player.
The aim of the department is to ensure that pupils are able to nurture and develop all four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Lessons comprise of a variety of structured and interactive pair/whole class work activities alongside independent learning, and a variety of different resources such as flashcards, interactive whiteboard, games and songs are used to enhance lessons. The main coursebook used is the up to date publication “Expo”. Pupils have their own copy of the coursebook and its related materials. All pupils are expected to fully participate in all lessons and complete regular homework.
In Year 7 topics covered include personal identification, family, pets, describing people, hobbies, telling the time and talking about school.
In Year 8 topics include daily routine, describing your house, talking about your town, shopping, visiting cafes and future activities.
In Year 9 pupils learn how to talk about the past, food and mealtimes, shopping for clothes, going out and holiday plans. Throughout the course pupils study appropriate grammar in order to facilitate independent use of the language. Through a clear grammatical and structural progression within a communicative approach we aim to provide a stimulating and relevant language learning experience.
Pupils get one 30 minute homework per week at Key Stage 3, and two 45 minute homeworks at Key Stage 4. Homework consists of written tasks, reading comprehensions, researching and learning of vocabulary, and display work. As well as ongoing assessment through teacher observation and marking, pupils are formally assessed through exams at the end of term.
Key Stage 4:
At Key Stage 4 we follow the AQA GCSE course. The four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing are taught through four main themes – Lifestyle, Leisure, Home and Environment , and Work and Education. Within each theme pupils study a number of topics relevant to the lives of young people today, such as current problems facing the planet, healthy and unhealthy lifestyles, relationships with family and friends, fashion and trends, advantages and disadvantages of new technology.
Speaking and Writing account for 30% each of the final grade, with listening and reading making up 20% each. Speaking and writing are assessed through coursework undertaken under the supervision of the teacher at any appropriate point during the two year course, for which pupils are given about six lessons to prepare their response to a given task. Listening and reading are tested through a final exam at the end of the course.
In Year 10 pupils have the opportunity to visit France. This is a combined French and History trip, with visits to the sites of the major battles of the First World War, whilst at the same time giving the pupils the chance to practise their French in real life situations.
Extra curricular activities or opportunities for KS5:
Pupils are given the opportunity to visit France, a bi-annual trip that is organised in collaboration with the History department.
Results at GCSE are consistently above 95% A*-C with many pupils achieving A* grades.
Several pupils have chosen to continue studying French at A-Level and as part of their University degree, with some pupils now working as French translators.