Case Study: Special Events
One headteacher in a large primary school in the North West of England has turned his school into a place where languages are part of the everyday life of the school. His own passion for foreign languages and in particular for French has filtered down through the school. Children, teachers, teaching assistants and parents are all extremely enthusiastic about language learning and the benefits it brings. Although staff expertise ranges widely from fluent speakers to complete beginners, all members of staff have been involved in a CPD programme for French, where they learn about primary methodology and have the opportunity to improve their language skills if needed.
By celebrating all languages with high profile events such as the European Day of Languages, this headteacher has managed to bring everybody in the school community on board, with a shared vision of a rich, multi-lingual learning environment.
Case study: Topics delivered in MFL
Case Study: Experts teach class teachers
Ten primary schools are involved in a primary languages project launched by a specialist language college in County Durham in 2003.
In 2004-5, the lead teacher switched to work with Year 3 in order to progress through KS2, in line with the framework. The specialist primary languages teacher visits the ten schools currently involved in the project every fortnight and the class teacher observes the specialist teacher deliver a 30-minute lesson. The specialist teacher provides the class teacher with a detailed lesson plan for them to refer to during the lesson.
The project works on the coaching model, so the class teacher then replicates the lesson before the next visit by the specialist teacher. There’s a wide range of training needs among the different teachers, with some class teachers requiring more support than others. In a programme such as this, class teacher commitment is essential if the model is to be both successful and sustainable. Close collaboration between the specialist teacher and class teacher is also vital and time must be put aside for this to happen.
Case Study: A language a month in East End school
One inner-city school in East London, with a rich ethnic mix, has opted for a multi-lingual approach, with an emphasis on developing generic literacy skills, language awareness and intercultural understanding. Rather than learning one language from Year 3 to Year 6, a different language is looked at each month. Children are encouraged to make connections between the language and English, as well as drawing comparisons with their home language. The key stage 2 framework is flexible enough to be used with this model, although there are clear implications for the kind of outcome expected in Year 6 in terms of language proficiency, compared with children who have studied the same language for four years.