Our vision in the Modern Foreign Languages department is that all language learners develop the skills and confidence to consider themselves as ‘World Citizens’ who belong in a multicultural, mutually respectful world. We aim to support students to understand other countries and cultures so that they can be more open and adaptable to new experiences; ensuring that each topic contains an element of cultural reference to not only the target language country, but the wider Francophone, Hispanic or Germanic spheres. The department is committed to developing strong, lifelong linguistic skills and to encourage students to become curious and interested in the world.  Ultimately, we want our students to have a love of languages, and aim to achieve this by nurturing a linguistic curiosity and an intrinsic motivation to explore and respect other cultures and people. We endeavour to inspire all MFL practitioners/peers through collaboration, support and modelling exceptional practice- no matter what stage of career journey.

Curriculum design, teaching and learning             

The MFL Department is a dynamic, passionate, and enthusiastic department; a collaborative and creative approach to teaching and learning is embedded within daily practice and future planning. The department endeavours to make learning languages fun and meaningful, providing students with many opportunities for both collaboration and independent work in each lesson.

Curriculum maps are designed to ensure that all four skills (Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening) are covered in every unit and opportunities to revisit key skills, in different ways, are built in to students’ learning journeys.  Grammar is the foundation for building language skills. Learning grammar enables students to speak and write more accurately, confidently and fluently.  Consequently, grammar skills are taught explicitly through every unit of work, and regularly revisited; emphasis is on equipping students with the linguistic skills to unpick and decode unfamiliar language.

Lessons are engaging and seen as bricks in the ever growing bridge of language learning. We strongly feel that students need to be involved in tasks they find interesting in an environment where active and successful learning is encouraged. Competitions, technology and quizzes keep motivation levels high in lessons.  The MFL department has high expectations for all students and the climate for learning encompasses the contributions of all abilities; we trust in the success of each student. A range of strategies, such as group talk, think-pair-share, role plays are employed to create a classroom culture where learning from others is valued.

Learning in the classroom is enhanced through self-study, which are set every week, and consist of vocabulary learning, extended writing tasks (including creative writing), exam practice, and quizzes.                           

Students need to be resilient language learners.  Within the MFL classroom, we consistently emphasise that it is ok to make mistakes. We believe where students learn is in deciding how they move on from these errors. This open environment allows students to grow in confidence and not feel intimidated in speaking out in front of the class.  Opportunities for reflection are built in at regular intervals, and the curriculum is designed to build students’ independence.

With skilled native and non-native linguists in the department, we endeavour to challenge our students by using a high ratio of target language. It is one of our department aims to expose students to authentic language use in real and practical situations through the classroom teacher, the use of videos and by inviting guests into the classroom to emphasise the value of language as a communication tool.  Using the target language ensures that students are hearing authentic language each time they are in the MFL classroom and by immersing them in the target language we aim to help them use it more independently and this will lead to increased confidence and wider vocabulary.              

MFL at Wildern equates to a second to none introduction to lifelong language learning. Echoing the Wildern ethos and in the ever changing face of the MFL learning landscape, we broaden our student’s horizon to breed tolerance, empathy, adaptability and consideration for others within our local and wider communities.

The Wildern MFL team 

The large MFL department consists of 8 full time teachers who are able to each teach a variety of languages; French, Spanish and German. The department also boasts 3 native speakers from France, Spain and Italy who seek to bring languages alive for the students they teach. A grammar and skills approach at both Key Stages ensures students have the bare bones of language learning which is, in time, fleshed out by their widening vocabulary learned along the way. Students begin a lifelong language journey using support from current AQA textbooks and the online Kerboodle suite of resources. This, in turn, is supplemented by interactive games, practical language activities and Group Talk tasks.

Welcome to our world

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 Mr T Russell                                   Mrs M Kingsbury

           Acting Director of Learning             Acting Subject Learning Coordinator

The KS3 Learning Landscape in MFL

Students at KS3 have the opportunity to opt between continuing the language they learned at Primary School or to start another as part of their transition from Year 6 to 7.  While every effort is made to meet the first choice of each student, it may not be possible for every student to learn their preferred language.  At KS3 the Wildern School MFL department aims to ensure that all students: 

  • begin an adventure that ensures progression through deep knowledge of grammar and skills; a bespoke linguistic guide for each student begins to take shape.
  • understand and respond to spoken and written language from a variety of authentic sources
  • speak with increasing confidence, fluency and spontaneity, finding ways of communicating what they want to say, including through discussion and asking questions, and continually improving the accuracy of their pronunciation and intonation
  • can write at varying length, for different purposes and audiences, using the variety of grammatical structures that they have learnt
  • discover and develop an appreciation of a range of writing in the language studied.

Grammar and vocabulary

KS3 Students are taught to become determined, independent and curious linguists who:

  • identify and use tenses or other structures which convey the present, past, and future as appropriate to the language being studied
  • use and manipulate a variety of key grammatical structures and patterns, including voices and moods, as appropriate
  • develop and use a wide-ranging and deepening vocabulary that goes beyond their immediate needs and interests, allowing them to give and justify opinions and take part in discussion about wider issues
  • use accurate grammar, spelling and punctuation.

Linguistic competence

The Wildern language learner is introduced to the concept of becoming a ‘Global Citizen’ in a world where there is diversity not division. They being to show a deepening knowledge of being able to:

  • listen to a variety of forms of spoken language to obtain information and respond appropriately
  • transcribe words and short sentences that they hear with increasing accuracy
  • initiate and develop conversations, coping with unfamiliar language and unexpected responses, making use of important social conventions such as formal modes of address
  • express and develop ideas clearly and with increasing accuracy, both orally and in writing
  • speak coherently and confidently, with increasingly accurate pronunciation and intonation
  • read and show comprehension of original and adapted materials from a range of different sources, understanding the purpose, important ideas and details, and provide an accurate English translation of short, suitable material
  • read literary texts in the language [such as stories, songs, poems and letters], to stimulate ideas, develop creative expression and expand understanding of the language and culture
  • write prose using an increasingly wide range of grammar and vocabulary, write creatively to express their own ideas and opinions and translate short written text accurately from and into foreign languages

The KS3 half termly assessment schedule is defined by a need to replicate the high expectations at KS4 allowing students to make rapid progression in all skill areas; listening, reading, writing and speaking. 

The KS4 language learning platform

Students at KS4 choose a designated MFL Pathway at year 8 (a continuation of the language learned at KS3 or German from scratch) and begin the 3 year AQA GCSE course in year 9. They develop their ability and ambition to communicate with native speakers in speech and writing. GCSE MFL learning also broadens students’ horizons and encourage them to step beyond familiar cultural boundaries and develop new ways of seeing the world; becoming a compassionate and resilient Global Citizen.

Subject aims and learning outcomes

The AQA course across all MFL languages taught at Wildern incorporates the latest GCSE specifications and enables students to:

  • develop their ability to communicate confidently and coherently with native speakers in speech and writing, conveying what they want to say with increasing accuracy
  • express and develop thoughts and ideas spontaneously and fluently
  • listen to and understand clearly articulated, standard speech at near normal speed
  • deepen their knowledge about how language works and enrich their vocabulary in order for them to increase their independent use and understanding of extended language in a wide range of contexts
  • acquire new knowledge, skills and ways of thinking through the ability to understand and respond to a rich range of authentic spoken and written material, adapted and abridged, as appropriate, including literary texts
  • develop awareness and understanding of the culture and identity of the countries and communities where the language is spoken
  • be encouraged to make appropriate links to other areas of the curriculum to enable bilingual and deeper learning, where the language may become a medium for constructing and applying knowledge
  • develop language learning skills both for immediate use and to prepare them for further language study and use in school, higher education or in employment
  • develop language strategies, including repair strategies

Context and purposes

The MFL GCSE require students to understand and use language across a range of contexts, appropriate to their age, interests and maturity levels. Each theme, as outlined below, is taught across one year; year 9 – identity and culture, year 10 - local, national, international and global areas of interest and year 11 - current and future study and employment. Within these themes students are expected to:

  • use language for a variety of purposes and with a variety of different audiences, including for personal, academic and employment-related use
  • make use of appropriate social conventions, including informal and formal address and register, as relevant to the task and language studied
  • understand different types of spoken language, including recorded input from one or more speakers in public and social settings and recorded material from authentic sources and the media
  • understand different types of written language, including relevant personal communication, public information, factual and literary texts

Grammar requirements at all Key Stages

GCSE MFL students will be expected to develop and use their knowledge and understanding of grammar progressively throughout their course; vocab checks and a skill based consolidation homework is set on a weekly basis to ensure students are confident in their language learning journey.  The terminal exam requirements for GCSE are set out in two tiers: foundation and higher and these apply to four exams (equally weighted 25% of the final GCSE grade); Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.

Students are provided with vocabulary guides in year’s 7 and 9 with a full GCSE exam criterion to ensure they take responsibility for their progression and exam requirements are made explicit at all times.

Bridging the gap outside the MFL classroom

The MFL team provide a wide range of extra-curricular language opportunities to enthuse and motivate the young linguist. From Foreign Language Film club in year 7, German language Club in year 8 to Vocab Clinics in KS4 and the 38-year strong German Exchange, students are exposed to a culture where languages are alive and easily accessible for all.

The MFL team actively seek to hold whole school activities to raise the MFL profile- highlighting the importance of language learning in our diverse world that we live in today; celebrating the European Day of Languages through dance, food tasting, al fresco dining and interactive map discovery and challenge.

The Wildern MFL team aim to work in collaboration with other departments in the school to ensure languages are not seen as an isolated subject just taught within the confines of the MFL classroom.