The Modern Languages Department
International Schools Award
Our Department and school have been awarded the International Schools Award for our work and commitment to the International dimension. We have a link with a school in Salamanca and hosted a number if their students during a visit. We have links with British Airways and visit their learning centre annually with different year groups. Students are given the opportunity to practise their language skills in an authentic environment.
We also visit the Europa Centre with groups and have regularly organised trips abroad to Northern France and Barcelona. Our Year 10 students annually take part in the Capital L Summer School. This is a languages summer school which involves attending a number of universities in London and a day trip to Brussels paid for by Routes into Languages.
We are an enthusiastic department currently comprised of four dynamic teachers who provide opportunities to learn French and Spanish; Mrs. Anne-Marie Ash, Head of Languages and Gifted & Talented Co-ordinator, Miss Helen Miller, Languages Teacher and Year 7 Transition Tutor, Miss Maria Hall, Languages Teacher, and Miss Romina Albarran, Languages Teacher. We are fortunate to have Foreign Language Assistants each year, usually one from France and one from Spain. Our assistants work with all year groups and are particularly valuable to those studying GCSEs and A levels.
Our aim in the Modern Foreign Languages Department is to make learning languages a positive experience for our students. Fun is combined with hard work and encouragement and regularly leads to very good academic achievement. We also strive to foster cultural awareness, openness and tolerance of other cultures.
At Rivers most students start either French or Spanish in Year 7 and continue to the end of Year 9 when they may choose
French or Spanish GCSE courses.
Finally, AS and A2 French/Spanish can be chosen by our most linguistic students.
The department believes it is vital that students learning a foreign language spend some time in the target country. Whenever possible, we plan trips to France or Spain.
LANGUAGES AT KEY STAGE 3
For some students, Year 7 will be the first year of French or Spanish. Others may have had some starter lessons in their primary school. That is no problem at all, as our course starts from the basics, but offers the ones who are already familiar with particular topics plenty of fun activities to extend their knowledge on that topic.
Our Units of Learning are carefully designed to include interactive activities to enhance the students' learning. There is a careful development of grammar and learning strategies introduced within suitable contexts, which ensures that students learn to use the language for their own needs.
Our aim is to combine a lively communicative approach with a clear structural grammatical progression. The four skills - reading,listening, writing and speaking - are built up through purposeful and entertaining activities.
Each student should have their own bilingual dictionary.
FRENCH FOR GCSE IN YEARS 10 AND 11
The aim of these two years is to prepare the pupils so that they can take their GCSE French exam successfully. We use the Edexcel GCSE specification.
Our main objective is for students to achieve to the best of their ability. Of course this will depend on each individual, but everything will be done to give the student the opportunity to get the highest possible results.
We want to create a very positive atmosphere in which the students feel confident and are keen to work to their full potential.
We are working with new textbooks, ‘Edexcel GCSE’ for the new examination specification. They are excellent resources which give a lot of attention to developing learning strategies and offer the students plenty of exam practice resources in the four skills of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing..
Many exam past papers and practice tests of different levels are also used. As in Key Stage 3, each student should have their own bilingual dictionary.
After GCSE linguists can study French and/or Spanish at Advanced Level in the Sixth Form where students develop their linguistic skills and undertake independent research into all matters of cultural and current interest in the target country. Emphasis is placed on oral fluency as well as grammatical accuracy and students are given every opportunity to form informed personal opinions on matters of global and individual interest. Students are given the opportunity to travel abroad and experience the culture of that country. We have language assistants who work with students of all years and help them to improve their spoken language.
The members of staff in the Languages Department are available most days at lunch times and after-school to help students with their French or Spanish. We also subscribe to many Languages websites etc in order to facilitate Independent Learning for our students – your child will be told how to log on to these by his/her languages teacher.
It may also be our assistants who help students who need some extra support with their exam preparation, homework, newly covered grammar aspects or vocabulary learning.
Anyone is welcome!
You can use the following websites at home.
Ask your teacher for login details www.linguascope.com for French and Spanish all levels
www.atantot.co.uk for French and Spanish Key Stage 3
www.rfi.fr for A level French