This academic year, Lanna International Primary School, will be adding to our Languages curriculum by offering Modern Foreign Languages to all of our Primary children. We are pleased to announce that in addition to learning about Thai language and culture, Primary children who are not registered as Thai nationals at school will be able to choose to learn either French or Chinese. When returning school in August, your child will continue to learn about the Thai language and Thai culture. However, if you and your child wish, he/she may choose to study French or Chinese. In theory, this means that your child will have 1 lesson of Thai and 4 lessons of either French or Chinese in a week. Parents can also choose to have their child continue to learn 5 lessons of Thai language and culture as in previous years.
Foreign languages were introduced formally within the Primary School Curriculum in England in 2014 for the first time and research shows that learning another language opens up a multitude of opportunities for our children in our ever ‘shrinking’ world.
Children tend to really enjoy learning a new language at primary school. Most language-learning techniques are great fun, and children get a real sense of achievement from mastering and using new key phrases!
By studying a foreign language, children are given the opportunity not only to learn about other cultures but, more importantly, to communicate with others too. It is also a thoroughly enjoyable subject to learn, with less emphasis on the written word and more on practical tasks, such as drama, story-telling, role-play, speaking and listening.
Even though learning a language is only compulsory from Year 3 upwards, Lanna International Primary School has chosen to introduce Modern Foreign Language learning in our Year 1 and Year 2 classes with the particular focus on language learning skills. Learning opportunities may include singing or simple story-telling, and learning counting, colours and greetings in a foreign language.
All children in Key Stage 2 (Years 3-6) are expected to be given opportunities to learn how to:
- communicate orally
- share their ideas and feelings using speech
- compare their use of English grammar and spelling to another language
- express some ideas in writing
The Modern Foreign Languages curriculum (MFL) no longer sets out topics or units of work to cover; instead it outlines what children should be taught under more general headings. Some of these include:
- Listening to a language and joining in to learn everyday words and phrases
- Learning how to have conversations in another language to share ideas and opinions as well as being able to ask and answer questions
- Reading texts and stories in another language, carrying out basic comprehension tasks
- Learning songs, poems, rhymes and stories in another language to help with vocabulary but also with cultural understanding
- Writing some words and phrases from memory as well as describing people and places with basic sentences
These learning objectives will mostly be taught through a range of everyday and routine topics such as numbers, colours, greetings, family, animals, school, travel, or other similar subjects that seem appropriate, depending on the level of the children in the class. For most of our children, French or Chinese will be relatively new subjects and they might just use speech and limited written tasks to learn the basics. As they move up through the primary school, children will see much more of the written language and build on their early skills, allowing them to speak, write and listen with much more skill and a deeper understanding.