French and Spanish are taught at Bute House from Year 1 to Year 6 by native specialist teachers. They are taught in a lively and practical way to enhance the pupils’ learning as well as their social skills. In the Lower School the work is mainly oral as the pupils learn to develop their listening and comprehension skills through songs, stories, role-play, games and interactive activities. From Year 4 upwards, the girls gradually develop their written skills and understand how a language works. Language assemblies allow the pupils to display their abilities in front of the whole school, and dedicated French/Spanish days focus on the cultural aspects of the language. Pen-pal exchanges with pupils from French and Spanish schools are also in place.
We use and combine a variety of resources, from books in print, through to real-life props and board games. Various CD-Rom programmes are used for whole-class lessons on the Smartboard, and on the laptops for independent work. Websites such as Espresso or Babelzone provide a wide range of activities and sketches which are stimulating. Finally, videos play an important part in our teaching; we use the camera as a means as well as an end, and the pupils always enjoy our audio visual projects the most.
Learning foreign languages makes us culturally competent, provides us with a better understanding of how our own language works, and facilitates the learning of other languages in the future. The aim is for the pupils to leave Bute House and arrive at secondary school with an appetite for learning Modern Foreign Languages, having enjoyed an exciting introduction to French and Spanish cultures.