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Carrying learning French at Senior school after 7 years of it at junior school

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by Princessdoucepie, Mar 20, 2020.

  1. Princessdoucepie

    Princessdoucepie New commenter

    Dear All,

    I hope you can provide me a bit of hope/suggestions/advice...
    I joined a great independent girls junior school last January as an MFL coordinator. After a meeting with my counterpart at the senior school, I realised that the majority of the girls drop French in favor of Spanish in Year 8. I realise this is a national trend. However, I find it a real shame that after learning it for over 7 years, they just drop the subject without any recognition/level. Also what is the point in my teaching it at all? The situation is such that this year, there are no French A levels being sat; and only a few girls carry it to GCSE.

    I am thinking of suggesting the following:
    1. Bringing French GCSEs forward in year 8/9: this means rewriting a more academic SOW for the junior school
    2. Bringing in the DELF exam to award the girls a level globally recognised.

    My questions to you are:
    1. Are you experiencing or have you experienced the same issues?
    2. What strategy have you used to remedy/ slow down the problem?

    Please do drop me a line, if you can think of anything. I would be very interested in reading your stories/opinion/advice.

    Many thanks,

  2. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    Perhaps you should ask the girls why the option to take up Spanish is more attractive ? Motivation may be a factor ? I think there are lots of students who study languages for 5 years plus , may secure a grade at exam level - because they HAVE to but rarely use what they have learnt , which is usually to an ‘exam brief ‘ and often not fit for purpose. Happens all over If you really want to reverse the trend I suggest you be more analytical ?but would reject more cramming at an earlier KS ....

    Re your why bother teaching it at all ? - well yes I suspect for many it is because it fills a gap in the curriculum rather than develop a real love of language / learning / culture. There are plenty of opportunities for your girls to rediscover French as young adults ? If they really want to embrace it then they will?

    Just because you experience something does not mean it has to be tested ?

    Surprised that your students do not pursue two languages @ KS4.
    Princessdoucepie likes this.
  3. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    I think that's unrealistic - the number of people who seriously learn a language post-school/university (unless they move to the country) is pretty low, especially for English speakers who have the advantage (or disadvantage if you want to learn a language) that much of the world knows some/a lot of English.
  4. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    I am ex languages but not precious about my subject . Perhaps the LT at the OP ‘s school have appointed her to come up with a game plan to address the non take up of French ?
  5. cork227

    cork227 New commenter

    I think getting Y8/9 to sit GCSE is rather ambitious as the GCSEs are quite challenging. At our school, native speakers of the language are discouraged from sitting the GCSE until at least Y10 and those who sit it earlier rarely get 9s (7 & 8s yes, but not the top grades). And these are native speakers, so I'm not sure how you would get non-native Y8/9s up to that level.

    Perhaps look at getting students more interested in French culture (not just France) - I think the main reason Spanish is so popular is because hispanic culture is everywhere these days, so if you can show the good side of French culture, this might also help.
    agathamorse likes this.

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