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.
There is also the opportunity to study Classical Greek as an additional activity for pupils who wish to pursue this.
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.'
The Year 6 French Study Trip, by Charlie
'We stayed at a place called Maison Claire Fontaine, which was hosted by Alex and Mark. The staff - Matt, Blondelle, Élodie and Estelle - helped us when we were doing activities such as mosaics, sculpting, puzzles, tree adventures and circus training. We went on a trip to Vézelay which is a small town on a hill. We had some activities that related to the town and then we had to meet up at the church at the top of the hill. We were split up into four groups which were names of houses: Avallon, Époisses, Vézelay and Dijon. We went in our groups to visit the cathedral and saw the bone of Mary Magdalene.
One evening we had a disco and Jacob's dancing was unbelievable! Mr Evans played the guitar that evening and was really good, even though he played girlie songs! We all enjoyed that evening. On another evening we went to a restaurant and tried lots of flavoured drinks. There was a buffet which was eat as much as you like! Some of us during the week tried snails! On one of the days we visited the caves and saw some stone age mammoth drawings and a child's handprint.
We were kept busy most of the time but we did have some free time when we played football. The best part of the trip was the tree climbing where we got to get on big zip wires.'