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Newstead Wood School

Newstead Wood School

Year 8 French

Guidance for parents

What will students be studying in French this year?

In Year 8 we will be covering the following topics: shopping, towns and activities, school life and family life and food. We will be teaching grammar alongside the vocabulary to enable the students to become real French speakers. As a department we believe that grammatical understanding is at the core of effective language learning as it gives students the tools to be able to manipulate the language for themselves. Therefore as much as possible of the instruction will take place in French and we place particular emphasis on the students’ ability to initiate conversation and respond in the target language.

We use a range of authentic resources, as well as the Tricolore Total textbook to support students’ learning. Please note that the students share hard copies of the textbooks in lesson, but will have access to an electronic version of the new Tricolore 5e edition at home.

Students will move from basic understanding of grammar, including verb conjugations in the present tense to a wider use of the future tense and the introduction of the perfect tense in the second half of the year which will allow them to both speak and write about simple events in the present, past and future by the end of the year.

Expectations of Students in French

The Year 8 French course is two hours each week within the normal timetable. It is expected that students will bring a small French dictionary to lessons in addition to their exercise, grammar and text books.  Homework will usually be set weekly and may be grammar or vocabulary learning, a writing or comprehension exercise or research. It is important that students see grammar or vocabulary learning as a real homework exercise, these will be tested regularly and other evidence of their work may be requested. Students’ written work is marked regularly and the MFL department’s marking codes are used in marking. The codes identify the type of error made rather than simply making the correction so that students correct their own work whenever possible, usually at the start of the following lesson and learn how to identify and correct errors for themselves.  The codes are explained to students and a copy placed in their books at the start of the year and this system has been developed to help students to become more independent language learners. However, we will obviously check on this and assist the students when necessary.

What are the major assessments this year ?

There will be formal end of unit assessments at the end of each chapter of the textbook covered, as outlined in the assessment summary. These will take place roughly at the end of the first Autumn half term, the end of the Autumn term and at the February half term and will address different skills as well as grammar. Each teacher will also set ongoing grammar or vocabulary tests and will regularly assess and give feedback on written work. The Year 8 end of year exam in the Summer Term will include all topics and grammar covered during the year and will test all four skills.

What should my daughter do if she feels she is struggling in the subject ?

The first step is for your daughter to ask for advice from her French teacher so that they can identify together the precise nature of any problem and how best to address it. There are many resources available to support students’ learning, both in school and more widely and guidance on some of the websites available is given to students and will be made availabl on the KS3 Moodle page for KS3 French. Particularly useful for grammar reinforcement is languagesonline.org.uk but there are many others.  

How can I support my daughter in Year 8 ?

The best way to support your daughter is by taking an interest in French. You do not need to have studied French before as your daughter may be willing to share her learning with you, which is an excellent way for her to consolidate her knowledge and develop her understanding. Oral practice is particularly beneficial to increase her confidence.  Confidence and the willingness to have a go are really key to fluency in foreign language speaking and encourage her to develop her French accent by listening to French music or watching cartoons. Do offer to help with testing grammar and vocabulary too. A holiday in France to do some field work is always worth considering! 

What kind of independent work should my daughter be completing?

In addition to the regular homework set and any specific vocabulary and grammar learning, your daughter needs to ensure that she keeps reviewing key grammar such as verb endings and vocabulary. As mentioned above, students have available a list of appropriate websites for French, including some to supplement their curiosity or for fun as well as for specific aspects of learning.

Who can I contact for further advice and information ?

Initially you should raise any questions with your daughter’s teacher but Mrs Casey as head of French will be pleased to follow up further queries.

ecasey@newsteadwood.bromley.sch.uk