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The Modern Foreign Languages department consists of four experienced specialist teachers who are all dual linguists in French and Spanish. We are a hard working, committed team and we pride ourselves on having excellent relationships with our boys.
The Birkdale Modern Foreign Languages curriculum aims to prepare our students to become global citizens. We encourage learners to explore and appreciate the cultural differences of target-language countries, and aim to foster greater tolerance and respect for others. We endeavour to nurture linguistic curiosity that will motivate students to take their learning forward and enhance their knowledge of their mother tongue. We expect our students to embrace the notions of both perseverance and being prepared to ‘have a go’ by acknowledging that while our expectations are high, the communication and exchange of thoughts and ideas is our key objective.
In our teaching, we are very clear that we focus on grammatical structures, syntax and vocabulary, using the correct terminology and making explicit links to English and other foreign languages’ grammatical structures and vocabulary. We build the Cultural Capital of our students by embedding their linguistic acquisition within a framework which introduces them to a wide range of vocabulary beyond their own cultural experience, and sets them up as intercultural citizens. We achieve this by teaching language contextually within topic areas and encouraging students to communicate in the foreign language. We use authentic resources, particularly through the Internet to offer immediacy and authenticity to the MFL learning experience.
As well as our academic language learning in the classroom, we aim to bring an international dimension to our pupils’ secondary school experience. This includes exploring traditions and festivals in French and Spanish-speaking countries, discussing cultural similarities and differences and providing real and purposeful learning experiences abroad. We encourage as many students as possible to get involved in our well-established trips and exchange programmes. Students have the opportunity to spend five days in Paris in the Spring of Year 8 and participate in our exchange programme to Avila, Spain, which we run annually for pupils in Years 9 and 10. It is always a highlight to see pupils realise the relevance and importance of learning a modern foreign language.