Modern Foreign Languages (MFL)
Curriculum Key Principles: Intent
The curriculum is designed to enable learners to be confident communicators. The use of Sentence Builders allows students to understand and produce accurate sentences from the outset. As the units progress the activities are designed to routinise these structures, and explicit grammar instruction will enable them to personalise a number of structures that can be used in everyday situations.
Learners will be taught what it is to be a linguist. They will be explicitly taught how to learn a language, and will understand how languages are interconnected, and how they play a part in our daily lives. By the end of KS3, learners will possess an extensive core of vocabulary and grammatical structures which will be regularly practised, with retrieval being built into the scheme.
Students will become resilient learners, who are explicitly taught how to problem-solve and infer information.
When communicating, 75% of the time is spent on listening and speaking (Adler, R., Rosenfeld, L. and Proctor, R. (2001) and 25% on reading and writing. Therefore, each unit will focus first on listening and speaking before progressing to reading and writing.
Language will be taught in chunks as this supports fluency and long-term memory recall. CUDDLES will be used to support memory and pronunciation.
Curriculum Key Principles: Implementation
The SKA Languages Department employs the Extensive Processing Instruction approach developed by Dr Gianfranco Conti.
We employ a range of strategies to ensure students learn in an inclusive and enjoyable environment. The focus of our teaching is communication – from the outset our students speak in the Target Language, and respond to spoken French.
Teaching sequences are built around the three pillars of progression: PHONOLOGY, VOCABULARY and GRAMMAR.
Direct teaching of phonics will enable students to converse confidently when encountering new vocabulary. In addition, learners will be able to transcribe and understand what they hear, giving them the tools to progress in their language acquisition.
Vocabulary will be taught in chunks. Since Working Memory can only process four items simultaneously, regardless of whether the item is one word or four. Therefore, teaching in chunks is more efficient in terms of cognitive loads than teaching single words. https://gianfrancoconti.com/2017/05/21/why-you-should-ditch-word-lists-and-traditional-grammar-rules/
“A chunk is a frequently recurring, meaningful string of two or more words either fixed or with variable slots which can be learned as a single unit, without the need to analyse its elements. Once committed to (long term) memory, a chunk can be retrieved and used ‘as is’ or with modifications, if necessary, bypassing the need to generate it from individual words and grammatical rules.”
Where necessary pop-up will be taught during the MODELLING and AWARENESS RAISING stages, for example adjective agreement. Grammar will then be taught in greater depth during the EXPANSION stage. Learners will have already routinised the target structures. Explicit grammar will then be taught to enable students to manipulate the structures by deploying the rules of grammar.
Key Stage 3
The EPI approach at the Skegness Academy means that each unit of work includes the following:
- Sentence Builders enabling learners to build accurate sentences.
- Identification of misconceptions at the planning stage, meaning these can be addressed before they become embedded.
- Discussion of the Learning Outcome of each UNIT and each LESSON to ensure students know the learning journey they are on.
- Use of CUDDLES to support memory and pronunciation and reduce cognitive load when speaking.
- Extensive drilling of Target Chunks using games and speaking activities.
- Adaptive teaching methods and planning for progress to ensure that all students can access and benefit from tasks.
- Direct teaching of phonemes relevant to each unit of work.
- Focus on listening and speaking skills at the start of each unit of work.
- Use of texts that are 95% comprehensible and flooded with the Target Chunks to avoid cognitive overload and improve fluency.
- Explicit teaching of language learning, decoding and parsing skills which will enable learners to substitute vocabulary.
- Regular ‘pop-up’ grammar sessions.
- Built-in retrieval of previous learning to produce lasting knowledge.
- Regular use of Parallel Texts and Knowledge Organisers to retrieve previous knowledge and support substitution of vocabulary to expand knowledge.