At St George’s we firmly believe that learning a foreign language not only broadens horizons and fosters a better understanding between people of different cultures, but it also enhances our pupils’ academic potential through the development of critical thought, creative imagination and problem-solving skills.
Our pupils have the opportunity to learn modern languages in a lively, stimulating way which promotes enthusiasm and the ability to communicate effectively. French is taught from the Nursery upwards with lessons increasing in number for the older year groups. Spanish is introduced in Year 6 and is offered as a conversational subject for those pupils who wish to continue in Years 7 and 8. In Years 4, 5 and 6 pupils have the option of learning German as a co-curricular activity after school.
Classwork consists of oral work, including pair or group work, role play, songs, games, listening exercises, reading, comprehension, grammar exercises and written pieces of work. These formal teaching methods are complemented by the use of technology in various forms to give our pupils a fun and effective way to increase their vocabulary and understanding.
Our pupils’ appreciation of French and Spanish culture and customs is enhanced by the use of a variety of media including magazines, DVDs, TV programmes and events such as food tasting and language plays performed in the school by visiting theatre companies. In Year 6 our pupils have the opportunity to join a French study trip to Méluzien near Dijon, which is always thoroughly enjoyed by the pupils.
Latin begins at St George’s in Year 5 and continues through to Year 8 with an increasing curriculum entitlement. It is a broad subject encapsulating the study of an entire culture – crossing the boundaries of History, Geography, Language, Religion and even Art and Maths, stimulating in young children an inquiring mind. Alongside mastering the vocabulary and grammar of the language required for Common Entrance, classical topics such as Greek mythology and the entertainments of the City of Rome are also studied.
The Year 6 French Study Trip, by Tilly
The majority of Year 6 were at school at 06:00 on the morning of Monday 27th March, waiting to board the coach to get on our way to France. Everyone was bubbling with excitement. By the time we had arrived at Maison Claire Fontaine (10 hours later), energy and excitement levels were still buzzing. As we had dinner the room we ate in was particularly explosive with noise that night.
Everyone decided where they wanted to sleep for our stay at Maison Claire Fontaine. The girls' dorm had not double, but triple bunks! It took us a while to settle but we eventually calmed down and fell asleep. We had lots of activities throughout the week, but my favourite was self-defence. I enjoyed self-defence because it was so much fun and hilarious! Other activities were the French game of boules, French cuisine, French lessons and the tree adventure. As another activity we went shopping at the supermarket Auchan to buy souvenirs.
At 05:00 on Friday 31st March the majority of Year 6 were on the coach outside Maison Claire Fontaine, shouting out their good-byes and thank yous. Soon we were out on the French motorway driving to the Eurotunnel. Two hours later we had arrived at school, safe and sound, to smiling parents and little brothers or sisters. Overall the 2017 French trip was awesome, therefore thank you to all the staff at Maison Claire Fontaine, Mme Flieger, Mr Wilkinson, Mr Miller and Miss Hewson.
European Theatre Company Visit
On Monday 27th February we welcomed two actors from Onatti Productions, the touring theatre company, who gave a hilarious and entertaining performance of 'Shipwrecked en France'. As well as being very funny, it was an opportunity for pupils in Years 5 and 6 to practise the French they had learnt in lessons. Many of them took part in the production and were quite surprised at how much they already knew.
Here is what two of the pupils in Year 6 thought about the performance:
'We had a visit from a company called Onatti Productions, who performs plays for schools learning French. Years 5 and 6 were lucky to watch this company perform a fantastic story all about an English boy on his holiday getting lost, and a nice, but bossy French girl helping him find his way. The play consisted of some very amusing moments that we could all understand and laugh about. It was cleverly executed, so that when they were speaking French they spoke quite slowly and repeated their sentences a lot so we could understand what they were saying and the storyline. I thought that it was a great play and I would love to have this company perform some of their other plays to us.'
'I really liked the show and I thought it was very clever at getting you to understand the storyline even if you don't understand every word. A boy is lost after going for a paddle in his dinghy and getting washed miles down the beach by the tide. His journey back to the hotel turns into a catalogue of disasters.
The play was very funny and it got the whole audience laughing. It involved the crowd a lot and it is a good way to learn French.'