Head of Department/Faculty
MFL Faculty Lead
Did you know that only 6% of the world speaks English as their first language? Think of all the possibilities that exist for those who can speak more than just English? You could communicate more, discover more and maybe even earn more! Languages are of great importance in an international world so we want our students to be ‘ahead of the game’.
In the Languages Faculty, we believe that language lessons should be relevant, fun, but most of all, useful. Here at Commonweal, we teach French, Spanish and Italian from Years 7-11 (you choose them as a GCSE in Years 10 & 11).
To be a successful language learner, you need to develop your four main skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing and becoming proficient in grammar; we improve these skills through solo, pair, group work and whole class activities.
Top Tips to do well in MFL
Learn your vocab
The more words and grammatical structures you know, the more confident you will feel in your MFL lessons.
Take advantage of trips
We run lots of trips for all year groups, where possible, try to involve yourself in MFL events and trips. Your learning comes to life!
Watch films and listen to music
The more you involve French, Spanish or Italian in your own life, the more you will learn. Your favourite film in the target language (subtitles, the audio or both) will teach you loads or listen to music in that language, eventually, you will understand the lyrics.
Go above and beyond
Learning a language is a skill that has to be improved and improved, it is not easy to learn to communicate from scratch! What can you do to improve your language skills? How can you go above and beyond to help yourself?
Repetition. Repetition. Repetition.
Once you have learnt something, use it again and again. Our most successful students learn a concept (a word/a grammar point) and then apply it something else
French and Spanish are delivered to Year 7 and 8 over 5 one-hour lessons a fortnight. Students are given a choice as to whether they wish to swap to Italian at the end of Year 8. Year 9 therefore allows students to study French, Spanish or Italian. To study a language at GCSE, students have to choose it as one of their four options.
Year 7 – Mixed Ability
Gaining initial skills in listening, reading, speaking and writing and basic grammar.
- Introductions / Classroom routines / Gender / Dictionary skills / Alphabet / Numbers
- Nationality / Country / Family / Animals / Physical description / Penfriend letters
- School / Subjects / Opinions / Timetable projects / Daily routine
- Sport / Hobbies / Days of the week / Weather / Activities
- Places in town / Reflexive verbs / Time and Number revision / Items in bedroom / Dream house project
- Holidays / Near future tense / Activities and Opinions / Money and Number revision / Food / Restaurants
Year 8 – Taught in Sets
Applying skills to topic areas
- Directions / Imperatives / Map reading / Weather revision / Weather forecast project
- Weekend activities / Meeting with friends / Pocket money / Numbers, time,
- Comparatives and Superlatives / Adverbs / Talking about yourself and others
- Food / Meal times / Time revision / Hunger and thirst
- Shopping / Fashion / School uniform and Opinion / Fashion project
- Tourism – where to go / Activities / Restaurants and food
Year 9 – Taught in Sets
Preparing for KS4 and/or project work
- Enjoying yourself. / Going out / Cinema / Film / TV
- School / Opinions
- Soap opera project
- Film project – Backpacker
- Market stall project
- Reviews and writing
- Film/Event review
- The future
- Peer teaching project
Year 10 & 11
Options booklet document
There are three main types of homework:
Most year groups will have 10 words or phrase to learn every two weeks dependant upon age.
- Revision and improvements
Whether you are working towards an assessment or a project, you will always need to go ‘above and beyond’ to improve your understanding in MFL.
Enrichment and trip possibilities
- European Day of Languages. Celebrating all things ‘Languages’ in September.
- Year 7 French immersion trip. Residential spent in Northern France with French-speaking ‘instructors’.
- Year 8 French day trip to St. Omer. All of Year 8 welcome, regardless of what language you study. We leave at 4am and return at 11pm.
- Year 8/9 Spanish Exchange. Every other year, 30 students spend a week in Valdepenas and Madrid. Spanish students also stay in the homes of our Commonweal students beforehand. A week in each country.
- Year 9/10 French/History trip. Residential spent in Northern France (Normandy) with French-speaking ‘instructors’.
- Years 9 – 11 Onatti Productions performs plays in Foreign Languages in school.
- Year 10 Film and tapas. A foreign language film and tapas afterwards, usually held in Swindon or Bristol.
Students are assessed in two main ways between Years 7 to 9. Vocab tests every two weeks and two big exams a year (listening, reading, writing or speaking, translation, grammar).