‘Those who know nothing of Foreign Languages know nothing of their own’ ~ Goethe
The aim of teaching at Orley Farm School is not just about passing examinations. Our overall aim is to make the study of French an enjoyable and rewarding experience for all pupils whatever their ability. Our lessons and language facilities are all designed to make communicating in another language functional and relevant. Pupils are encouraged to apply their knowledge to real life situations beyond the classroom environment.
Year 6 pupils have the opportunity to put into practise what they have learnt on a weekend trip to Paris. Year 7 pupils experience an ‘immersion week’ in Normandy. In addition, a weekly French club for younger pupils and a yearly French day for the whole school all help to bring the subject alive. By giving pupils insights into the culture and civilisation of the countries where French is spoken it is hoped that we encourage open mindedness, tolerance and curiosity that will continue beyond their years at Orley Farm School.
Head of French
French is introduced in Reception and taught informally through visual stimuli, games, songs and ICT activities. The emphasis is on the listening and speaking skills.
In Year 3 the listening and speaking skills introduced in pre-prep continue to be important, while the reading and writing skills are gradually developed. In Years 4 and 5 the four core skills are reinforced through more formal study of a course book. Classes are taught in forms.
In Upper School, equal emphasis is given to the four skills in line with Common Entrance. Our approach continues to be multi-sensory and lessons are planned with a view to variety of activity and skill. Pupils need to master the structures of the language if they are to become competent and independent users, so grammatical points are presented and practised on a regular basis. By year 7 classes are set according to ability and this allows thorough preparation in small sets for 13+ examinations. By year 8 the focus is on past paper practice and examination technique. Pupils sit Entrance and Scholarship examinations to a range of academically selective schools.
Year 6 go to Paris after the Easter break. This is a very exciting two-day trip which starts right in the centre of ‘the City of Lights’ with key stops at three monuments: la Tour Eiffel, Notre Dame and Le Sacré Coeur.
The group stays the night at ‘Hôtel des Trois Hiboux’ near Parc Astérix, where we spent the second day as a treat and a cultural experience in the world of the most famous French comic character.
The children also have some work to do on this trip: learn a presentation about one of the monument and recite it in front of their assessing peers! They must also complete a journal throughout the trip.
This trip was started in 2012 and has always been a big success.