All Saints Catholic School is an 11-18 mixed comprehensive
To increase students’ exposure to authentic resources during lessons as well as outside the classroom and developing both students’ interest in a different culture and teachers’ tastes in literature in the target language.
The influence of languages on students’ and teachers’ lives was quite limited, and students did not have any access to authentic resources in school outside of the classroom. Teachers felt intimidated by the idea of teaching literary texts. It was hoped the project would also raise the profile of MFL in the school, as only around 30% of students chose a language as a GCSE option (with French being the only available language).
The starting point was a survey completed by KS3 and 4 students. Only 5% said they read in a different language and none of the students said they had any access to foreign reading resources at all.
The department found authentic resources and created ready-to-use lessons based on them. A ‘French corner’ was created in the library and all staff were involved in collecting French resources such as magazines, newspapers, leaflets and novels. Funding was found for more resources through the Jack Petchey Award.
A rota system was piloted that allowed KS4 students to take a story book home regularly to read independently. Authentic resources were linked to the curriculum and a competition was set up to encourage students to visit the French corner in the library.
Spanish was introduced at KS4 and the French corner was extended into a ‘Language corner’. Funding was found through the Jack Petchey Award to purchase Spanish reading resources and French and Spanish clubs were started. Students had said that they would enjoy doing fun activities in the Language corner, so the department also found funding to purchase board games to encourage students to visit more regularly.
KS4 student surveys
Of the students who had been involved in the reading programme for two years, 50% said they now read in a different language, up from 5% at the start of the project. 77% said they enjoyed reading literary texts in class, 77% rated their reading skills as excellent or good (only 1 student rated them as poor) and 100% of students said they now had access to language resources in and outside of school.
As literary texts are now embedded in new schemes of work, all teachers have access to the lesson plans and are expected to use them in everyday practice. Discussions continue to be a part of departmental meetings so that issues can be addressed and teachers can support each other with the delivery of the resources.
Students are now asking for library opening hours to be extended so that they can have access to the authentic resources before and after school.
The fact that students are thinking of coming in their spare time to read in a different language is an achievement in itself. I will work to extend the library opening times to ensure that they don’t drop reading French or Spanish resources for lack of access. We also need to regularly renew the bank of resources available in the library so students don’t find themselves without new resources to read.
Laure Mouaraki, firstname.lastname@example.org