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Benefits of French display in EYFS/KS1?

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by stay_until_wednesday, Aug 11, 2015.

  1. Hi,

    Newly appointed MFL (French) Co-ordinator in a job I'm just about to start and an email has gone round that says I will let teachers know what French display needs putting up (news to me but that's fine!) I will be teaching French to Y1,2,3,4,5 and 6. My own class will be Y1 and I see the other KS1 classes all have a number display with the numerals and French words written down. I was just wondering if there is any point in having 'vingt' etc written on a display for children who are still very much phonetic spellers.

    Advice really, I don't have the answer as obviously the spellings are going to be tricky whatever display words are put up, I was just wondering what people thought about also having the words written phonetically so that the children could learn the pronunciation as opposed to just the spelling. Or is that stupid? Help, please I'm new to this :)

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Vladimir

    Vladimir Senior commenter

    I admire your bravery! Not for teaching French, but for suggesting alternative spellings for the words on here. My honest advice would be to drop French completely and teach Spanish. Spelling won't be an issue then.

    If you must teach French, I'd concentrate on the spoken language. Make sure the pupils are pronouncing the language properly before you start confusing them with strange spellings. If you aren't a native speaker of French make sure you're pronouncing the language properly so you can provide a good model. French is not an easy language but it is an easy one to pronounce badly. I'd stick to cultural displays personally - landmarks around Paris, maps of French-speaking countries, food items, famous people etc.
  3. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I'm another one to say don't start confusing the chuildren even more by adding another 'layer' of spelling by adding written phonetics. Having said that are you aware there's a French version of Jolly Phonics called le manuel phonetique, which i use to teach a sound at a time and have had 'displays' of objects with the 'sound of the week, esp. to introduce them to unusual spellings.

    personally i also have a 'thing' about making sure children understand there's often not simple equivalent French/ English versions and so I prefer to use lots and lots of pictures/ real objects so children can start to develop that 'thinking' in the target language by visual association, so am very much against having 'English alongside!
  4. funambule

    funambule New commenter

    Why not ask for a display space in the main entrance area to establish French as part of the ethos of the school? This could be quite wide-ranging and include aspects of French culture and indeed Francophone countries as a whole to link with geography. No need for that much in the way of word lists- some key words/greetings/simple phrases would be enough for children and visitors alike.

    Agree with previous posters- whatever you do don't use phonetic spelling; causes problems for young learners effectively learning 2 `foreign' languages and French pronunciation would inevitably be anglicised.

    Down the line you could begin to introduce some relevant displays in classrooms but be aware that the `best' display areas are inevitably taken up by literacy and numeracy in the primary classroom.

    Consider also labeling rooms etc. in French for some almost subliminal input. You might find this resource useful for `instant' display: L’essentiel pour la classe de français from http://www.linkandlearn.co.uk/products.htm#star

    Also TTS has a wide range of display resources and lots more besides:


    Get hold of the paper catalogue if you can, it gives a much better overview of what is available. It can be fun to make your own resources but, teaching the whole age range, there won't be a lot of time left over from preparing the lessons!

    Bonne Chance!
  5. -myrtille-

    -myrtille- Occasional commenter

    I don't teach primary but I agree with funambule that a key point of display isn't the content - it's promoting the subject and having it there on the wall all the time as a reminder that other languages and cultures exist.

    For this reason, I write the date on my board in French and Spanish every day (I have a little French and Spanish flag stuck next to them to avoid confusion) even if I don't have any Spanish lessons that day - to promote the fact that we're a languages department not just a French one and that there are different languages.

    I like the idea of having classrooms, objects etc. labelled in French for that reason.

    I think having numbers written up in French (not phonetically) could still be useful - you'll teach them orally anyway and reinforce correct pronunciation. Pupils who already know the numbers but are not capable of sounding out French words from their written form might be able to use them to jog their memory - ie: can't remember 20, look at display, v... v... oh yeah, vingt!

    I admit I do use phonetic spellings but it's as a desperate quick fix in KS4. If pupils have reached Y10 and have a really poor grasp of French sound spelling links then I'd rather them learn that way than not at all. But ideally it won't be necessary too often - I've started planning some French phonics lessons for Y7 and if primary teachers are doing it to then in the long run hopefully things will improve.
  6. Thanks everyone, all answers taken on board with a few new sites to look at.
  7. Geekie

    Geekie Occasional commenter

    Agree with what everyone else has said.

    Also worth bearing in mind the language that R/Y1 will actually be learning. For example I only do numbers 1-6 with Y1, so seeing "vingt" doesn't apply. You could also include pictures/stills from books or comptines that you are doing with the class so that when the children see the display they are encouraged to say the words. Also photos of the children doing actions to rhymes etc.. Also agree with Vladimir that cultural displays are very useful. I do a lot of cultural work with KS1.

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