French at Merton Abbey Primary
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” Nelson Mandela
“With languages, you are at home anywhere.” Edward De Waal
The learning of a Modern Language in Merton Abbey primary school offers pupils a valuable international dimension to the curriculum. Our objective is to encourage pupils to enjoy and develop confidence in communicating in a new language and to recognise that being able to speak another language (as many of our pupils do at home) is a gift to be valued and appreciated.
The main language taught at Merton Abbey is French, but as pupil progress through the school we also provide pupils with ‘taster lessons’ in other languages which have so far included German, Italian, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish. These bite-size sessions are very popular with pupils. They relish the opportunity to learn a few words of a language which is spoken by some of their classmates or impress their friends and family by counting to ten in Mandarin!
We provide our pupils with a high-quality and dynamic language curriculum which is taught by a specialist teacher. Not only do pupils develop a strong foundation of the key aspects of the language, they also discover the richness of the culture in which the language is spoken. When learning French, for instance, pupils will find out about the way of life not only in France, but also in other Francophone countries such as Martinique in the Caribbean or Morocco. Pupils explore different genres of music, traditional foods and customs and in so doing learn to respect the similarities and differences across diverse cultures.
The Modern Languages programme at Merton Abbey primary school has been designed to equip pupils with the skills and knowledge required to provide a stepping stone to further language study at High School and beyond. Pupils learn basic grammar including the concept of masculine and feminine genders which is common to many other languages.
We have made links between our language programme and other subjects in the curriculum such as geography and drama. Pupils have visited the theatre to watch a French play and the Freshwater Theatre Company has held French drama workshops.
In an increasingly globalised world, the ability to speak another language is a key skill which can open doors internationally. Our pupils are the global citizens of the future and we aim to lay the foundations for the language skills that will encourage them to travel widely, study and work abroad and discover the world.
The French subject leader is Jackie Douglas.