When communicating 75% of the time is spent listening and speaking (Adler, R., Rosenfeld, L. and Proctor, R., 2001) - L:45%, S: 30% and 25% on reading (16%) and writing (9%), therefore our curriculum will focus on these 2 skills before progressing onto the written production. Language will be taught in chunks (not individual words) as this supports fluency and LTM recall.
“Language learning is not simply about combining words and applying grammar rules but rather the retrieval of the patterns and combinations we are primed for.” (Micheal Hoey – Lexical Priming 2005)
“L2 research has shown that making use of formulaic expressions and memorizing long chunks of text (and making substitutions within them) is far more efficient and effective than learning to assemble new linguistic strings in the process of language production.” (Nation,2013 Ellis,2015)
Chunks can then be manipulated.
" A chunk is a frequently recurring, meaningful string of two or more words either fixed or with variable slots which can be learned as a single unit, without the need to analyse its elements. Once committed to (long term) memory; a chunk can be retrieved and used 'as is' or with modifications, if necessary, bypassing the need to generate it from individual words and grammatical rules." (Selivan, 2018).
Through a thorough and frequent exposure to the language of that topic or the communicative function, students will be able to pick up subtleties such as phonemes, syllables, meaning, lexis, Grammar and syntax.
Our languages department employs a range of strategies to ensure students learn in an enjoyable, positive and inclusive environment. All members of staff have studied and are applying the Dr Gianfranco Conti's approach (a respected MFL teacher, specialist and linguist) of his Extensive Processing Instruction (EPI) method. To enable our students to become successful language learners, we have reviewed our curriculum and created our own bespoke teaching resources to implement the EPI principles into our lessons and to supplement the Pearson course.
Our EPI approach includes:
· Sentence builders central to all lessons, enabling students to build accurate sentences
· Extensive drilling of chunks of language through LAM and RAM using engaging games and speaking activities
· Focus on listening and speaking skillsat the start of every unit of work/sequence
· Use of texts that are at least 95% comprehensible (comprehensible input) to build fluency and to avoid cognitive overload
· Explicit teaching of language learning, decoding and parsing skill to support metacognition
· Regular 'pop up' Grammar sessions
· Systematic retrieval of knowledge to produce deep and durable learning
As a department we are at different stages in researching and experimenting with the EPI methodology.
Our intent is that students feel comfortable and happy enough to want to try to sound authentically French.
Anglicisms and mispronunciations are correctly only when they impede comprehension
Our intent is that pupils know what vocabulary they need to know in advance of each half term's work. They know where to find it, know how to learn new words and appreciate the need to revisit vocabulary little and often.
Our intent is that the metalanguage of grammar is never a barrier to the enjoyment of being able to communicate. Students are routinely taught our seven communiction functions to give them an early taste of fluency the mechanics behind that language is
Our intent is that students recognise that by its very nature the study of the French language is an investment in their cultural capital. Aside from linguistic competece, we aim to develop an appreciation for the place of French with the world to celebrate its music, film , poetry and festivals.
French is used for the register, routine classroom instructions and praise. The amount of French spoken in the class is at the discretion of the individual teacher and dependent on the ability of the individual class. English is the preferred medium for marking and feedback and for detailed instructions of a task.
We plant the seeds of complex language early on and only then explain the grammar behind such chunks when we see fit. We are teaching how to communicate and never teach grammar in a vacuum.
RAG cards, learning checks, and small stakes quizzing as well as self-quizzing are all used to map pupils learning to inform practice activities.
We would rather teach a maximum of 12 phrases per lessons which are introduced, practised and consolidated over time than overload pupils with more vocabulary which is practised in less depth.
We present vocabulary in manageable amounts and the upcoming vocabulary is always available on the website to facilitate home learning. Students are trained in Year 7 on different ways to learn vocabulary and most lessons will feature a small stakes quiz to check on learning and retention.
Quizlet, Blooket, Wordwall and Gimkit are all highly motivating for students and we use them to support home learning and vocabulary learning. In class they are used sparingly and in a highly controlled way as a plenary for example to gauge which vocabulary has been learnt.