Information for Parents
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MFL Departmental description
Why learn German and Spanish?
Which language will your child learn?
All pupils study French in Year 7 with either German or Spanish. Pupils are taught in sets from Year 8. The study of at least one MFL is compulsory at Key Stage 3.
At Key Stage 4 it is hoped that all students will continue with at least one MFL.
Homework: How you can help your child in French and German
- The support which parents give to the learning their children undertake at home is invaluable in encouraging them to achieve their full potential. Parents often feel that French and/or German is a subject area in which they cannot give direct support for homework because they do not know the language themselves. You can help. Firstly, you should encourage your son / daughter to do the homework as soon as possible after it has been set. This will make it possible for him / her to ask the teacher if there is any detail which s/he has not fully understood. This sheet shows how you can be involved in all types of homework which the Modern Foreign Languages Department sets.
- Written homework: In most cases, a well presented and planned piece of work, carefully written, will be an accurate reflection of the student's ability in that topic. If the presentation is poor do not hesitate to indicate this on the exercise book and ask him / her to do the work again.
Is s/he using his/her e-textbook or dictionary for reference?
- Coursework: The Examining Board strictly states that no help should be given with students' coursework. This refers to help with the language. Parents can still help by encouraging students to plan and present their work well. Coursework cannot be word-processed.
- Reading homework: Ask what a passage means. Encourage him / her to explain what s/he has learnt. This is the best way for a student to learn - explaining their own learning.
- Listening homework: If your son / daughter has been issued with a listening cassette, check that s/he is using it to revise material for examination or to complete exercises. You could ask him / her to show you how s/he uses it.
If available, you could encourage him / her to watch and listen to French / German satellite transmissions. Just listening to the language will acquaint him / her with the sounds and will help with listening comprehension.
As from September 2011 the following marking applies:
- End of Unit summative assessments are carried out in accordance with the revised Schemes of Work (KS3 July 2011) and levels / grades be given to students accordingly to record on their Overview Sheets
- Overview sheets are to be used to inform students and parents of assessment criteria, review achievement and reflect on learning, set targets, inform the teacherís lesson planning and also as a means of passing information to parents.
- Students are to complete these at the end of each unit of study.
- Staff are not required to mark every piece of short written work, which may be self, or peer assessed.
- Graded / levelled oral tasks are recorded in the teacher
- Homework is to be set weekly and may address any one or more of the skills (Listening, Speaking Reading or Writing).
- Teachers mark significant pieces of class / homework and exercise books are to be collected on a three weekly cycle
- The pieces of work fit into the Scheme of Work and the purpose is to be made explicit to the students in relation to the summative assessment criteria
- This marking is to include the following:
- Praise / encouragement / expectation *
- Formative comments
- A level with sub-level / grade
- Action / Improvement strategy
* Credits or sanctions, when given, must be recorded as appropriate. Commendation card may be sent to parent/s for outstanding work.
- Other work eg: oral, listening, reading exercises, lists and note-taking, display work etc. may be acknowledged by the teacher by signature + date or Ł
Students are asked to learn words, phrases and form longer passages orally without reference to a written text. Encourage him / her to show you briefly what s/he can say. Ask him / her how something is said in the foreign language and if not known see if s/he can find the correct answer in a resource or dictionary.
Students are asked to learn grammar and vocabulary by heart. You could test him / her using his /her book. Ask him / her to spell a word out or to explain a detail. If s/he cannot explain the detail, ask him / her to note it down and ask his / her teacher at the next lesson. Any person could help with this. Students should be encouraged to say the words and phrases which they are learning. A personal stereo or cassette recorder can be useful to record these words and phrases and listen to them. This may particularly help students with difficulties in writing.
If in doubt ask your son's / daughter's teacher. Click here for resources page.
The price of foreign language learning CD ROM packages is decreasing, however, the quality of many is limited. Ask for advice if in doubt. The better packages come with a course book but check its suitability against the points mentioned above. Some of the more useful packages allow the student to use a microphone to record onto the computer copying models of pronunciation etc.
The library also has a stock of revision guides and supplementary material, which your son / daughter can borrow. Your public library will also have suitable materials available. There are also a number of French and German magazines designed for English learners to which you son / daughter can subscribe. Ask the librarian for details.
Electronic dictionaries or translators are not allowed in the examination and do not help students develop the dictionary skills which they will be required to use in the real examination. The use of online translators eg: Babel Fish or Google Translate is not approved and can be extremely counterproductive.
Hopefully the above may prove to be of some use. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me. E-mail
R J Taylor (Head of Department)