Learning a foreign language is a liberation from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures. A high quality languages education should foster students’ curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world. Our aim is to broaden students’ horizons and encourage them to step beyond familiar cultural boundaries and develop new ways of seeing the world. Our teaching should enable students to express their ideas and thoughts in another language and to understand and respond to its speakers, both in speech and in writing. It should also provide opportunities for them to communicate for practical purposes, learn new ways of thinking and develop an appreciation of a range of writing in the language studied.
Students should develop a competency that is both broad and deep in the skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing based on a sound foundation of core grammar, vocabulary and phonics. They should also be able to understand and communicate personal and factual information that goes beyond their immediate needs and interests, developing and justifying points of view in speech and writing, with increased spontaneity, independence and accuracy.
Critical learning, high frequency language and key communicative functions are revisited receptively and productively many times as we progress through the curriculum. For example when learning how to describe activities done on a past holiday in French, we need to revisit previous teaching on how to conjugate the verbs ‘avoir and être’ in all forms. In Spanish, when talking about food and drink and using the idiom ‘tener hambre/sed’ we need to revisit the present tense of the irregular verb ‘tener’.
Our ultimate goal with our students is to develop their ability to be self-efficacious and to create the optimal conditions for learner success.