In this age of cosmopolitan travel, fluency in a second language is a great enrichment, giving access not only to the language and culture of another country, but in addition a greater insight into English itself, enhanced as it is by its borrowings from Norman French. For residents of Canterbury, for whom Calais is closer than London, the opportunity to deepen understanding of our near neighbours in France is not to be missed.
The Department is fortunate in including two native French speakers, so that not only is the quality of language assured, so too is the deep understanding of French culture and French life. Teaching emphasises oral fluency, but not at the expense of a proper understanding of grammar.
The subject is taught to all members of Lower Fifth (Year 9), with the exception of those for whom English is itself a second language. Thereafter, pupils are strongly encouraged, to study at least one of French or Spanish; to do so is a necessary prerequisite of the English Baccalaureate.
At GCSE, the Department’s objectives are:
- Promote the study of a foreign language as a useful and enjoyable skill for life
- Offer access to the course to pupils of differing levels of ability
- Engage young people’s curiosity through the choice of a course relevant to their
age and interests
- Explore cultural facets of the French-speaking world and expand pupils’ view of
- Encourage communication by teaching language useful in everyday situations
- Exercise intellect through the study of grammar
- Foster sound working and learning habits
- Achieve good results in public examinations
Further details of course content can be found in The Right Course.
Pupils’ experience of the language is enriched by visits to France. For example, Lower Fifth visit the Christmas market in Lille to experience the atmosphere and to do some purchasing using the language skills they have acquired – and learn to deal with responses that are not straight out of the text book!