Modern Foreign Languages

Modern Foreign Languages at the British School of Bucharest

Learning to speak and understand a foreign language not only provides a valuable educational, social and cultural experience but also encourages students to embrace a global outlook on the world. Having the skills to speak a foreign language equips students for fulfilling careers with an international dimension.

Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) enriches the British school curriculum by promoting initiative, confidence, creativity, intercultural sensitivity and independent learning. The languages we offer are French, German, Spanish and Mandarin. MFL is a compulsory subject from Year 3 to Year 11 (Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 4) and students can choose to study French, German, Spanish or Mandarin at IGCSE/GCSE and A Level.

We fully support those students with a strong knowledge of languages other than English, enabling them to sit international examinations to certify their proficiency. Recently, British School of Bucharest students have successfully studied IGCSEs/GCSEs and A Levels in Portuguese, Arabic, Russian, Italian and Japanese.

The language-learning journey within the British school curriculum

Our approach to language teaching stresses the importance of communication in the language – we prepare our students to be successful when using the foreign language in real-life situations and when talking to native speakers. Because all MFL teachers at our school are native or near native speakers, our students receive a significant amount of authentic language input. Furthermore, we arrange regular visits from native speakers to language lessons to give the students the chance to apply their skills more fully.

When pupils start learning the foreign language of their choice in Year 3, our experienced teachers focus on listening and speaking, gradually introducing pupils to the written form of the language. Pupils join in a variety of learning activities that provide enjoyment and stimulation, such as games encouraging vocabulary retention, chanting rhyming words, singing songs, role plays and responding to simple stories. The methods we use cater for all the learning styles, visual, auditory and kinaesthetic.

As pupils progress through Key Stage 2, they move from the single-word level to the sentence level, learning the core vocabulary associated with topics that interest them and that they can enjoy talking about.

In Secondary, students learn to manipulate the language and go beyond a mere imitation towards a more natural use. Students learn through role plays simulating real-life situations, research projects, presentations and interviews with native speakers. Cross-curricular links with other subjects in the British school curriculum (History, Art, Geography, Music and Mathematics, for example) reinforce the relevance of foreign languages. We focus on enabling students to take authorship of their own learning by developing independent learning skills and being aware of language-learning strategies.

Events outside the classroom highlight the intercultural dimension of language learning. Every year we organise trips abroad to provide students with an excellent opportunity to experience foreign languages in action. Language Day Celebrations focus on the European Day of Languages (26th September) and raise awareness of linguistic diversity.

The MFL Department uses SHOWBIE (an educational app) in the Secondary School to offer links to websites for further practice.

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