Primary languages (Spanish)
Aims and Objectives
“Learning a language enriches the curriculum. It provides excitement, enjoyment and challenge for children and teachers, helping to create enthusiastic learners and to develop positive attitudes to language learning throughout life. The natural links between languages and other areas of the curriculum can enhance the overall teaching and learning experience. The skills, knowledge and understanding gained can make a major contribution to the development of children’s oracy and literacy and to their understanding of their own culture/s and those of others.” The Key Stage 2 Framework for Languages (DfES 2005)
At Sandgate Primary School we believe that the learning of a foreign language provides a valuable educational, social and cultural experience for our pupils. It helps them to develop communication skills including key skills of speaking and listening and extends their knowledge of how language works. Learning another language gives children a new perspective on the world, encouraging them to understand their own cultures and those of others.
Sandgate Primary School provides age-appropriate Primary Languages learning opportunities for all children throughout the school. The focus language taught in our school is Spanish from Foundation Class to Year 6 and the Scheme of work indicates the units/areas taught throughout the school, although the Government’s statutory requirement only refers to Key Stage 2.
The aims of Primary Languages teaching at Sandgate Primary School are to
- foster an interest in language learning by introducing children to other languages in a way that is enjoyable and accessible to all pupils;
- stimulate and encourage children’s curiosity about language and creativity in experimenting with it;
- support oracy and literacy, and in particular develop speaking and listening skills;
- help children develop their awareness of cultural similarities and differences;
- lay the foundations for future language study by pupils;
- provide an added perspective on first language teaching and learning;
- give an extra dimension to teaching and learning across the curriculum.
Speaking and Listening
The children will learn to
- listen carefully and recognise sounds and combinations of sounds which are similar to, or different from, those of English;
- understand and respond with increasing competence, accuracy and confidence in a range of situations;
- join in songs, rhymes, raps and stories which enable them to practise the sounds of the language in an enjoyable and non-threatening way;
- take part in conversations at an appropriate level, reacting to instructions and questions and expressing opinions and feelings;
- memorise and recite short texts, and prepare and give a talk on a familiar subject confidently and with regard for the audience.
Reading and Writing
The children will learn to
- remember grapheme-phoneme correspondences and vocabulary directly taught and reinforced through word games and similar activities;
- read stories and rhymes for enjoyment and to gain awareness of the structure of the written language;
- read, copy and write independently familiar words and simple phrases in context e.g. classroom items, display labels, weather chart, date;
- write sentences and short texts independently and from memory.
The children will learn to
- describe the life of children in the countries where the language is spoken;
- identify similarities and differences in everyday life, social conventions, traditional stories and celebrations;
- recognise how symbols, products and objects can represent the culture of a country, and how aspects of the culture of different countries become incorporated in the daily life of others;
- recognise and mistrust stereotypes, and understand and respect cultural diversity.
Teaching and Learning
At Sandgate Primary School we integrate language learning into everyday school life, with teachers, teaching assistants and children using and experimenting with their knowledge of different languages whenever the opportunity arises. We foster a problem-solving approach, giving children opportunities to work out language use for themselves in a supportive context where risk-taking and creativity are encouraged, and there is an emphasis on having fun with the new language. ICT is used where appropriate to enhance teaching and learning.
There are three main contexts in which language teaching and learning take place.
1 Languages lessons
Although Primary Languages cuts across the curriculum, children are taught specific skills, concepts and vocabulary in a bi- weekly dedicated lesson with the class teacher leading.
Primary Languages lessons need to take place regularly for learning to be sustained, which is why we encourage lessons to take place at least once a fortnight or more.
2 Languages embedded into other lessons
Where appropriate, teachers give children opportunities to practise their foreign language in the context of lessons in other subject areas. For instance, some instructions may be given in another language in a PE lesson; or children may count in another language while carrying out a numeracy activity. This acts to reinforce the vocabulary and structures they have learned.
3 ‘Incidental’ language
Languages are part of the day to day life of the school. For example, teachers use the foreign language to give simple classroom instructions (‘come in quietly’; ‘listen’; ‘look’), to ask questions (‘who wants school dinner?’; ‘what’s today’s date?’) and to take the register, lead Assembly and give permission for children to leave the room. Children are encouraged to respond using the language they have learned, and sometimes teachers and pupils develop new language skills together, teachers acting as role models in the learning process.
This integrated approach is a strong model for teaching and learning, giving children opportunities to use and develop their language for communicating in stress-free real-life contexts.
Assessment and Recording
Primary Languages learning is recorded in Learning Links books and should typically evidence all four stages (Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing). Due to the oral nature of PL, evidence of work undertaken by children can be in the form of teacher’s notes or as a photographic record.
Teachers assess children’s knowledge, understanding and skills in Primary Languages by making observations of the children working during lessons. As part of our assessment for learning process (and in line with our school’s assessment policy), children will receive both verbal and written feedback in order to aid progress in the subject. Children are also encouraged to be critical of their own work, highlighting their own next steps. Twice a year, Foundation subject assessment grids are completed by class teachers, showing children’s attainment in the following four areas: Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing knowledge. The school’s banding system is used to do this. The Curriculum Leader then analyses this data and provides feedback to the PL Leader in order to inform and improve future practice.
Primary Languages teaching at Sandgate Primary School is fully inclusive. No child is excluded by reason of a learning difficulty, or because they have English as an additional language. Experience has indeed shown that such children can derive particular benefit from taking part in Primary Languages learning activities in which they may be less disadvantaged than in other areas of the curriculum.
Language learning activities are planned in such a way as to encourage the full and active participation of all pupils. Work is differentiated as appropriate to the needs of individual children. Pairs and groups for collaborative work may be made up in different ways, depending on the task.
Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and British Values
In learning about another language, it is necessary to be aware of “difference” in a positive way. To know that there are other ways to live and behave which are valid, despite not being the same as the one that the child knows at home. It gives an opportunity for insight and debate into why things are not always as one has grown up to believe, but arise from Sociological differences. At the same time, recognising that there are certain basic, fundamental truths that are common to our humanity, such as the need for honesty, trust and mutual respect in order for us all to live together in harmony.
Collaborative work in Primary Languages develops mutual respect for the differing opinions, beliefs and abilities of others. In addition, children learn to appreciate the value of similarities and differences and learn to show tolerance. A variety of experiences teaches them to appreciate that all people – and their views – are equally important.
Primary Languages provides a basis for teaching and learning about other cultures, and this is incorporated into many areas of the curriculum including personal and social education and citizenship, geography, religious education, design and technology, music, art and dance. Efforts are made to ensure that teaching material across the curriculum includes a ‘flavour’ of the countries where the focus language is spoken.
The five fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith are interwoven into the teaching of Primary Languages, in particular how it relates to the intercultural understanding elements of Spanish and Hispanic culture and its similarities/differences to life in Britain.