Languages at Prince Rock
At Prince Rock Primary School, we believe that the learning of a foreign language provides significant educational, social and cultural benefits for our children. Spanish lessons play an important role in developing children’s speaking, listening and literacy skills, self-confidence, and providing opportunities for enriching cross-curricular learning.
In an ever-diverse world, languages and international education encourage cultural understanding and mutually empowering relationships. We see language as a powerful tool for examining values, attitudes and developing skills to combat prejudice and promote self-esteem. Prince Rock Primary School is an inner city school with high levels of deprivation. Our international links are strong and we have been accredited with the International School’s Award. We also have links to a nearby secondary school where specialist languages teachers offer advice and workshops to colleagues teaching Spanish.
Creating a sense of learning through fun and ‘having a go’ without worrying about getting it wrong provides the basis for the LAT Primary Languages curriculum overview.
We have chosen to study Spanish at Prince Rock because there are more than 400 million native Spanish speakers in the world, making it the fourth most widely spoken language, with official language status in 21 different countries. An additional estimated 60 million people speak Spanish as a second language, bringing the total number of speakers to well over 500 million.
Significantly, we have a high proportion of pupils with English as an additional language, and believe that language-learning is an integral part of their education. We focus on language awareness and the acquisition of generic language skills, which is not only beneficial when learning Spanish but also English, home languages and future languages the children will learn.
Through our language teaching, children will learn the phonics of that language, develop linguistic competence, enjoys stories and rhymes and learn about key cultural features of countries of the language taught. They will extend their knowledge of how language works and explore differences and similarities between languages and English.
Primary Languages is an aspirational subject which sits centrally within the LAT ‘We Wills’. It should be an integral part of Key-Stage two classroom life; giving all of our children the opportunity to find out about the languages in the world around them and to explore their place within it.
- Spain is a popular holiday destination.
- Prepares children for secondary programme in Spanish or similar languages (French, Italian)
- Enable them to understand, speak and write in another language.
- Explore the Spanish culture.
- We believe that the learning of a foreign language provides significant education, social and cultural benefits for our children.
- Spanish lesson play an important role in developing children’s speaking, listening and literacy skills e.g. verb forms / oracy.
- They also develop self-confidence and provide opportunities for speaking in front of others.
- Spanish (like many European languages) are derived from Latin.
- Learning Spanish can help you understand certain meaning of words from your own language. Bilingual children have also mentioned that some of the words from Spanish are similar to their own language, giving them more confidence to learn.
- Spanish is a simple language to learn with many words being similar to English. We name these as cognates.
- Research has shown that learning a language will use different parts of the brain and also help with memory and problem solving.
At Prince Rock, we have chosen the Ilanguages scheme because it is very visual, comes with good stories, resources, videos to support non-specialists, phonics at beginning of each lesson, scaffolding ideas, challenges and clear progression throughout KS2 and into KS3.
Here are some examples of progression:
Yr 3-1-15 (I have a certain number of items)
Yr 4 1-31 Learning dates/birthdays
Yr 5 1-50 Look at harder mathematical sums
Yr 6 1-100 asking prices in a café
Yr 3-Simple sentence (I like/dislike something)
Yr 4-Give opinion but build up language by explaining why.
Yr 5-Increase the range of opinions given.
Yr 6-Learn to give opinions/understand others and use adjectives to compare with.
- Selected key areas to focus such as greetings, classroom instructions and animals following a conversation with secondary staff about what would be most helpful for children to know when moving up
- Phonics is taught weekly to reinforce learning through retrieval practice.
- Revisiting key areas such as greetings also embeds learning.
- Spanish is taught through PPA in year 3-5 to ensure a more fluent Spanish speaker is leading the sessions and has greater subject knowledge. In year 6, a more fluent speaker teaches both classes.
Progression in language learning is dependent on a range of variables but progression can be improved if:
children have regular opportunities to practice acquired language and sentence structures.
- they are able to expand their vocabulary beyond the basics;
- the target language is modelled by teachers;
- there is a climate of respect for trying and persevering with pronunciation without the fear of getting it wrong;
- links are made between English and the language taught with further opportunities for learners to acquire some understanding of the grammatical structures of language.
1. Teaching phonics develops phonological decoding (the ability to sound out accurately), and without explicit phonics teaching, decoding is limited.
2. Decoding is positively associated with motivation and improves confidence in production (speaking and writing).
3. Phonics teaching supports vocabulary learning, which is key to making progress in language learning.
4. Decoding enables learners to access new language autonomously; learners can engage with vocabulary learning more successfully in and beyond the classroom, even ahead of the lesson (flipped learning), allowing more lesson time to focus on language practice and use.
5. Teaching phonics teaches phonemes and each phoneme carries meaning; the function of the different sounds really matters. This links not only to vocabulary but also to grammar (je vs j’ai, aller vs allait, hablo vs habló).
6. Without teaching the sound-writing relationship, teachers logically confine themselves to presenting vocabulary first orally to their beginner learners, and only subsequently provide the written forms, which limits variety in teaching methodology.
7. Teaching phonics teaches the sound system; learners do not have enough exposure to become familiar with the sound system incidentally (i.e., without intentionally trying to learn it). Even an ‘all oral’ approach at primary would only give them a maximum of 120 hours (the equivalent of a few weeks in the womb in L1 acquisition!). So, explicit decoding teaching allows teachers to ‘short-cut’ to teaching the sound and writing at the same time.
8. The ability to sound out words accurately on first exposure supports errorless learning, avoiding an inaccurate initial representation which, if persistent, can lead to problems later.
9. Accurate decoding may allow learners to see that a written word is in fact a word that they already know orally.
10. Alternatively, learners’ ability to spell an unknown word they hear means that they can then find out its meaning (via a dictionary, peer, teacher, books); having the correct or nearly (possibly) correct spelling unlocks the meaning!
Year 3 Focus-a, e, i, o, u, ll, l
Year 4 Focus-ca, co, cu, ce, ci, z, que, qui (including revision of previous year).
Year 5 Focus-ga, go, gu, j, ge, gi, gue, gui (including revision of previous year).
Year 6 Focus-n, ñ, v, b, rr, r, h (including revision of previous year).
Children really enjoy their Spanish lessons at our school. They are becoming future linguists with a love for learning different languages. Our lessons provide the children with the confidence and skills to have basic conversations when visiting a different country and to adapt to languages they may learn in KS3.
Children record their learning in their Spanish books to show their learning and are also given the chance to practise their speaking skills in lessons. The children practise learning Spanish phonemes each lesson to support their pronunciation. The children are also given retrieval quizzes with content from the previous lesson and previous years. Assessment is completed termly to test the children's memorisation of the language, translation skills and speaking skills.
Through these lessons, we feel that the children are not only becoming confident linguists but are also excited to test out their skills in other countries.
In Spanish lessons, we teach a range of new vocabulary each term. We give the children a cold assessment to see what they already know. We then complete an assessment at the end of the term to see how much knowledge the children have imbedded. We also assess how well the children pronounce the Spanish vocabulary by testing how well they can read sentences.
Programme of Study: ILanguages
At Prince Rock, we are using Ilanguages to deliver Spanish to our Key Stage Two pupils. I languages is a scheme of work which supports teachers with developing all learners into competent and confident linguists through an innovative scheme of work. I languages brings language learning alive and helps to motivate learners. It also promotes active learning and independent thinking which is embedded into the ethos of our school. We have sought guidance from a local secondary school with regard to specific topics. Therefore, we have decided to prioritise these topics to allow the children to be proficient by the time they reach Year 7.
1. General language and ongoing grammar: greetings, feelings, opinions…
4. Body parts
Teachers will be able to use Ilanguages lesson plans to form a basis for their sessions. These are mapped out in the Spanish SOW.
Duolingo for Schools
We know how difficult it is to learn a language without learning daily. As a school, we have incorporated Duolingo Schools to help the children learn at home. We have weekly certificates, termly competitions and prizes to reward the children for their hard work.
Duolingo Winter Competition Winners
At Christmas, we like to celebrate the Spanish tradition of the Christmas log. It is a fun tradition where the children must hit the gift bearer and it will leave them little treats.
Each term, we give the teachers challenges to use as much Spanish as they can with the children. This could be anything from greetings, completing the register or even teaching a Spanish song.