The vision at Rivers Academy is to develop independent and creative language learners who go on to maintain a lifelong interest in languages. The MFL team wants all our students to enjoy learning, make progress and achieve.
We recognise that modern language skills are a prerequisite in today’s professional job market and we promote advanced study of languages. As well as achieving highly academically, we think it is important to promote language confidence and skills for real-world purposes. Our aim is that students develop openness towards other cultures and understanding through their learning of the richness unique to each language. In a global community, understanding the principles of different languages and how to apply them to learning new ones is a vital skill.
The MFL team at Rivers Academy is committed to securing excellent outcomes for children of all abilities to drive high aspirations of our students. We deliver a curriculum that is both accessible and engaging so that students feel confident and make progress regardless of prior attainment.
The curriculum is designed to be broad and knowledge rich to support students having a secure base of knowledge to progress and integrate new knowledge into existing domains. We aim to achieve fluency in our students whilst supporting them to be independent in their language learning.
MFL teachers at Rivers have high expectations of students to support developing them into well rounded language students who are open to other cultures and understand and value the importance of language learning.
The methodology upon which the MFL department bases its teaching and learning is based on the EPI (Extensive Processing Instruction) approach to second language acquisition. Language is taught through flooding comprehensible input, organising content by communications functions and related construction with a big focus on reading and listening as modelling. Furthermore, we teach through the receptive skills in “chunks” which are presented in a sentence builder style format. This reduces the cognitive load and allows pupils to be able to communicate meaningfully quicker.
To support students in lessons, they each have a workbook which models these sentence builders that integrate not just vocabulary but the structures and grammar required to achieve independence. Chunks of language are recycled throughout units of study, year groups and Key Stages meaning that schemes of work are carefully sequenced to ensure that links are explicit between current and previous learning and that there is optimal opportunity at retrieval practice. This means that students are constantly building language into their long-term memory. This increases motivation and confidence in students as they feel more able to communicate.
Modern foreign language learning at Rivers Academy is motivating and engaging. We make use of regular assessment tools to ensure that learning is secure and to measure the impact of our teaching. However, we also value the importance of engagement and confidence in our students in lessons and measure through student voice and progress of students in lessons. When motivation is greater and students feel more confident, their outcomes are stronger.
Academy wide full assessments take place four times a year which provides opportunities for us to evaluate the four skills. In addition, regular progress checks form part of the end of topic tests which are a mix of exam style questions which require application of learnt language and structures but also provides opportunity for some students to manipulate structures independently to demonstrate their ability.
Students supplement their in-class learning with weekly learning homework which are tested in class based on the sentence builders for the unit of study. Embedding these key structures is vital so that students are able to build and be creative with this language is KS4.
It is our responsibility to support the development of our future global citizens by lighting the way to the breadth of opportunity that is available to linguists in the modern world.