Our curriculum across both KS3 and KS4 is driven by our vision: ‘To create confident and resilient linguists who understand how to manipulate chunks of language independently, to be able to use the language fluently in the target language .’
Through our decisions about curriculum structure and content, we aim to develop pupils’ ability to communicate in the target language fluently. We want our students to be able to converse spontaneously, within the framework of the communicative function they have learnt. Pupils will embed in their long term memory, the sounds, the structures and the grammar through constant recycling of prior learning. This level of independence will be achieved by understanding how to manipulate patterns or “chuncks” of language. By the end of KS4, students will become experts at manipulating the grammar, to be able to produce sophisticated sentences in the target language. When they leave school, pupils of Yavneh College will be able to apply their knowledge to a range of contexts from family life to the world of work and the Environment as well as to less familiar contexts, to be able to communicate fluently. Through this knowledge, pupils will become resilient and competent linguists, open to the world around them. They will develop a curiosity for other cultures and people, having an interest and intention to travel in order to deepen their understanding of different cultures and societies. The communication and listening skills developed through learning a language, will foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of other cultures on a local, national and international stage. Pupils will be better equipped to evolve and understand their place as a global citizen living in a multicultural society.
Implementation at Key Stages 3 and 4
Our students secure this knowledge through the careful planning of our lessons and schemes of learning, all built and predicated on the expectations of the National Curriculum model. This is then also developed out further, to ensure a depth and breadth to the content that is covered.
Planning for lessons and schemes of learning is rooted in an understanding of Cognitive Science and predicated upon the ‘Dr Conti model’ for language learning. Fluency is achieved through constant retrieval of the structures previously learnt, through a systematic sequencing of lessons.
A sequence of lessons follows the following pattern:
1) Modelling the phonology of the sentence builder .
The core structures or chunks of language are presented and modelled in context through reading aloud (e.g. Sentence builders & subsequent activities) using 98 % comprehensible input. “With the majority of Language learners for listening and reading input to be conducive to learning, around 98 of the words must be familiar.” (Nation, 2013)
Pupils are gaining familiarity with the language phonetically and translate it into their own language.
2) Listening as modelling/ reading as modelling-
In these lessons, the core phrases are practiced until pupils are absolutely confident, before progressing on to students producing them themselves. (Longer texts but still 98% comprehensible input.) Pupils are extensively exposed to the chunks of language, so they are more likely to retain the language. In parallel, Intensive Recycling in the lesson occurs as research has shown that Major memory loss happens within the first 20 minutes from first processing the word. Hence the importance of recycling the same items over and over again. Pop-up grammar is included at this stage,
3) Structured Production- Pupils start to produce language in a scaffolded way. Introduction of more ‘thinking’ and cognitive load – making students think back to what they have learnt and start to use it, but with support of Sentence Builder. We start to include translations to the target language. (Pop-up Grammar is included at this stage)
4) Expansion – In this lesson pupils work explicitly on grammar- students expand to language patterns. They use the sentence builder less and are encouraged to start manipulating the grammar they have learnt to express themselves. At this stage students interleave the new knowledge with the old knowledge. Interleaving is powerful because we learn best through associative learning, The core structures are practised with old and new vocabulary through systematic recycling (scaffolding might still be necessary). After much practice, students learn the rule(s) governing the target item(s) in greater depth (e.g.: from one or two persons of the present tense, to all six persons).
5) Autonomy – Extensive oral and written practice in which the scaffolding is gradually faded out and spoken or written output is produced by pupils with little support. Language is practised productively without scaffolding but still in familiar contexts and focus is on fast retrieval (automaticity) The aim is to develop most students’ autonomy in the use of the target structure by the end of this phase.
This phase continues throughout the academic year or even the following year(s) through systematic recycling across topics and Interleaving. Students perform structured and semi-structured tasks which may elicit the use of the target structure (surveys, interviews, role-plays, picture tasks, unstructured essays).This will lead to the next phase of routinisation.
6) Routinisation– where the focus is on fluency development, “A grammar structure can be said to have been acquired only when it has been automatised across all 4 skills and it is applied successfully across a wide range of contexts.” (Smith & Conti, 2016). Hence this is done throughout the year, through consistently recycling the structures. By doing so, students will be able to use spontaneously these structures even when faced with unfamiliar contexts. This is the 8th phase. This phase does not happen at the end of each sequence but rather through the constant recycling of structures into the readings and the listening.
Impact in Key Stages 3 and 4
The impact of this curriculum, can be measured in terms of Fluency, Engagement and Results
Students will become fluent in the use of phonics, the chunks of structures studied and grammatical structures, through the constant recycling of the structures learnt. Pupils will be able to ask and answer questions using variety of language (different tenses, opinions with justifications, provide reasoning and arguments and make comparisons)
As the structures complexity increases, pupils develop understanding and the ability to recall and apply their knowledge in all 4 language skills (listening, reading, speaking and writing) for effective communication.
Fluency is measured within each lesson through regular recall and retrieval of structures (grammar and vocabulary) when completing activities, through quizzes as well as when marking exercise books. It is also measured at the end of each term and at the end of year, in summative assessments.
This formative and summative data will be analysed in order to inform the teacher to adapt lesson planning as appropriate to meet students’ needs, to address misconceptions or misunderstandings. Grammatical structures and vocabulary, once learnt will be consistently recycled to ensure that vocabulary, sounds and grammar are embedded into students long term memory. Once learnt, the structures are used and will never be forgotten. This ensures that pupils are able to deal with cognitive load and become efficient and competent language learners.
At KS4, the curriculum is built so pupils have the opportunity to recycle each tense (past, present, conditional and future) at least eight times from Y9 to Y10. The same applies to any grammatical structure, which once learnt will be interleaved into the next modules so it can be reused to be embedded in the long term memory. Hence the knowledge of one grammatical structure is not just applied to one schema but to a range of topics, so that pupils can understand how to transfer their knowledge of grammar and structures to a range of topics to become therefore, more autonomous even with topics pupils are less familiar with. The outcome is that students have developed a solid understanding to grammar and that they are able to use it automatically because it is embedded in their long term memory.
Over the course of Year 7 and Y8 our students will study and learn the following:-
|FRENCH Y 7 Topic/Study Focus||Knowledge/Skill focus|
|Describing my/other people’s name and age|
|Describing my/other people’s birthday|
|Describing hair and eyes||https://yavnehcollege.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/Y7FR-end-of-unit-test-_hairandeyes.pdf|
|Describing other people and how I get on with them|
|Describing where I live|
|FRENCH Y8 Topic/Study Focus||Knowledge/Skill focus|
|Describing my house||https://yavnehcollege.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/SB-where-I-live-2.pdf|
|Describing jobs people do /like/dislike|
|Describing where you will go on holidays/ would like to go/ what you will do/would do||https://yavnehcollege.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/SB-future-holiday-plans.pdf|