Years 3 and 4 Band Description
The nature of the learners
At this level, children are developing awareness of their social worlds and of their memberships of various groups including of the French class. They are developing literacy capabilities in English, such as writing in the Roman alphabet, and this assists to some degree in learning French. They benefit from varied, activity-based learning that builds on their interests and capabilities and makes connections with other areas of learning.
French language learning and use
A balance between language knowledge and language use is established. Activities that focus on grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation are integrated with purposeful, varied communicative activities. The development of oral proficiency at this stage continues to rely on rich language input. Learners engage in a lot of listening, developing active-listening and comprehension skills, using contextual, grammatical, phonic and non-verbal cues. The language they hear is authentic with modification, involving familiar vocabulary and simple structures. The balance between listening and speaking gradually shifts as learners are supported to use the language themselves in familiar contexts and situations. They exchange simple ideas and information, negotiate predictable activities and interactions, and participate in shared tasks, performance and play. They continue to build vocabulary that can be adapted for different purposes. They control simple grammatical forms with some accuracy to communicate in familiar contexts.
Contexts of interaction
The context in which students interact is primarily the language classroom and the school environment, with some sharing of their learning at home. They also have some access to wider communities of French speakers and resources through virtual and digital technology. The familiarity and routine dimension of the classroom context provide scaffolding and opportunities for language practice and experimentation.
Texts and resources
Learners develop literacy skills through interacting with a range of spoken, written, visual and multimodal texts. Imaginative and interactive texts such as picture books, stories, puppet play, songs and computer games introduce them to the expressive and cultural dimensions of French. Procedural, informative and descriptive texts, such as timetables, tuckshop orders or class profiles, show how language is used to organise, to describe and to ‘get things done’. Learners may have access to resources developed for children in France, such as television programs, advertisements or web pages, as a way of developing cultural knowledge.
Features of French language use
Learning French contributes to the process of making sense of the children’s worlds that characterises this stage of development. As they encounter French language and culture they understand that French and English have many similarities and also some interesting differences. They notice features of French communication such as the use of gestures, facial expressions, intonation patterns and polite forms of address. They make comparisons with their own ways of communicating. This leads them to think about identity and difference and about what it means to speak more than one language.
Level of support
This stage of learning involves extensive support. This is primarily provided by the teacher, who provides instruction, explanations, examples, repetition, reinforcement and feedback. Tasks and activities are carefully scaffolded and resourced. Time is allowed for experimentation, drafting and redrafting. Learners are supported to self-monitor and reflect on their learning.
The role of English
Learners are supported to use French as much as possible for classroom routines, social interactions, structured learning tasks, and language experimentation and practice. English is used for discussion, explanation and reflection, enabling learners to develop a language for sharing ideas about language and culture systems. It enables them to ask questions to support their learning and to reflect on the experience of moving between languages and cultures. Using both French and English in the classroom develops a sense of what it means to be bilingual.