We teach Spanish as our second foreign language to children in years three to six. Our Spanish teacher, Mrs Davila, works with all children in these years.
In year 2, a Spanish-speaking Teaching Assistant introduces to the children to conversational Spanish.
We chose Spanish because of its breadth of use in the world and because many of our children speak Spanish, being from Spain, Peru, Columbia and other Hispanic countries.
All that we do at St Joseph’s is shaped by our commitment to our Faith. The choices we make and the expectations we nurture in our children emanate from a guiding desire to live our lives according to gospel values. In the words of our Mission Statement, written by the children:
- We are God’s family, here to learn and try our best.
- God is at the heart of everything. Prayer is behind us in all that we do.
- As friends of Jesus, we treat others with respect, as we would wish to be treated ourselves.
- We want everyone to be the best person they can be.
- We are all amazing in our own way.
- We look after the wonderful world that God created for us.
Our Mission Statement is reflected in our Modern Foreign Languages curriculum:
- By speaking another language we are able to communicate with many other people in God’s wonderful world
- We appreciate diversity of culture, beliefs and traditions.
- We broaden our minds and make ourselves better people.
Our Vision for Spanish
At St. Joseph’s, children develop a very good foundational knowledge of Spanish, taught through a series of topic areas. We want our children to speak with confidence and to be ready for further second language learning at secondary school. We want them to be confident to use their language knowledge with each other and perhaps when abroad when travelling.
They will acquire the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life.
We aim to affirm our children with Spanish heritage, and we encourage them to practise and model their own language skills.
Over time, they will hone their language and cultural awareness skills and will be able to:
- listen attentively to spoken language; join in and respond
- engage in conversations
- speak in sentences
- develop accurate pronunciation and intonation
- present ideas and information orally
- read carefully and show understanding of words, phrases and simple writing
- appreciate stories, songs, poems and rhymes
- broaden their vocabulary
- write phrases from memory
- describe people, places, things and actions
- understand basic grammar
Key themes are revisited across topics and these help children to make links in their learning.
How Teachers Embed Knowledge and Skills
Teachers work to secure core knowledge across language themes and then, at regular intervals, plan activities for retrieval practice, ensuring that we interrupt any forgetting of key information. Lessons are structured to ensure progress in the fie strands of listening, speaking, reading and writing as well as gaining a cultural understanding of Hispanic countries and their cultures. This latter strand dovetails into the work Year 2 and 5 complete in Geography and Art on Valparaiso and on Chile's mountains and volcanoes.
Each new area of learning build ds on previous learning. There is a high element of repetition when learning the second language to ensure that the knowledge sticks.
An example of the Sequence of Work for the autumn term of Year 6:
Children not only learn the language but also gain knowledge and understanding of the traditions, culture and celebrations in Spain and in South America. An example of this would be a study of El Dia de los Muertos and Mardi Gras. For example in Year 6, children will discuss and debate the tradition of bullfighting.
Children have Power Pages for Spanish, both in school and at home. These contain core elements of learning for the year group.
Achieving Mastery in Spanish
So, are our children becoming increasingly fluent in Spanish by the time they leave us for secondary school? We believe that they are.
It is a joy to enter classrooms where Spanish lessons are in progress. We find children speaking with increasing confidence, we find their accents authentic and their enthusiasm for their learning strong.
Leaders know from the quality of work in the children’s books that learning is effective. Children have the opportunity to share their work with their parents on three open days.