We encourage a positive attitude to foreign language learning. At Knighton House French, German, Spanish and Latin are studied; French by all year groups, in addition, B2 (Year 4) study German, and A2 (Year 6) upwards either Latin or Spanish. We believe that learning a language develops an awareness of other cultures, traditions and ways of life and encourages pupils to respect and make connections with their own culture. The department helps pupils find out about different cultures in Europe and Spanish speaking countries and includes learning about their customs, foods, mealtimes, traditions and religious festivals and comparing their own; in this way pupils learn to understand diversity and the interdependence of cultural traditions.
One of the passions of MFL at Knighton House is the role which grammar plays in promoting all skills in language learning. Grammar works in patterns and by finding patterns and making connections, girls develop skills to make sense of language. Conjugating verbs, repeating their paradigms aloud, aids pronunciation; spotting cognates, drawing on a word derivation they know, gives confidence when confronting unfamiliar vocabulary in Speaking tasks.
The department uses a multi-modal approach to language teaching, the phrase, ‘sight and sound’ a recurring theme; Disney films in French, the cartoon series, ‘Il était une petite grenouille’, even the Simpsons in the target language, all motivate girls to see language learning as a living, vibrant act.
The A1 and A2 trip to France crystallizes all they have learned; an opportunity to use the language in its actual context, shopping, eating, making friends, using currency and experiencing the reality of a culture they have read and heard about extensively.