94% of the world population does not speak English as their first language and 75% speaks no English at all. Knowing even the basic phrases of another language makes a real difference as jobs from receptionist to top level management need language skills. Languages improve the quality of your life and your understanding of how other people live and think. Travelling abroad is a lot more interesting when you can speak the language of the country you are visiting. Even something as simple as ordering a meal can become so much more enjoyable.
The Modern Languages department aims to develop skills in Speaking Listening Reading and Writing in French so that pupils use them creatively to increase their knowledge and understanding and become confident speakers with good intonation and pronunciation. Students develop intercultural understanding and respect for diversity within our own community and world-wide. Students are encouraged to show independence in their studies and use a range of resources, including ICT, to develop their language skills and investigate aspects that interest them.
After two years of language learning in Y7 and 8, students have the opportunity to follow a ‘pathways’ course leading to a GCSE in French. Topics covered include Sports & leisure, My Town, School and Media and Culture. Students read extracts from magazines, papers, books, watch films and listen to authentic native speakers on the internet or through TV and radio broadcasts. They write dialogues and create songs and poems. They have the opportunity for 1-1 tuition in conversation from our native speaker French assistant.
We are involved in an ‘e-twinning’ project with a school in Besançon in the East of France; each student has a pen-friend so that they can exchange letters and emails. There is an annual study visit to France. In 2011 we visited the exciting Futuroscope Theme park near the historic city of Poitiers. Next year we are off to Paris to experience art and culture in the French capital.
French adds an international dimension to the curriculum which is something many future employers and higher education providers look for. Languages are not only needed in interpreting, translation or teaching. Other jobs where languages are equally important are: Accountant, air-hostess, computer games designer, engineer, journalist, marketing manager, tourist guide.