Years 7 and 8 Band Description
The nature of the learners
Students are beginning their study of Spanish and typically have had little prior exposure to the language and associated cultures of the Spanish-speaking world. Many will have learnt an additional language in primary school, and some have proficiency in different home languages; these students bring existing language-learning strategies and intercultural awareness to the new experience of learning Spanish. Students’ textual knowledge developed through English literacy learning supports the development of literacy in Spanish. Skills in analysing, comparing and reflecting on language and culture in both languages are mutually supportive. Students may need encouragement to take risks in learning a new language at this stage of social development and to consider issues of how the experience impacts on their sense of ‘norms’ associated with their first language and culture.
Spanish language learning and use
Learners are encouraged to listen to, read and write Spanish in a range of interactions with the teacher and one another. They experiment with sounds, intonation patterns and body language, using high-frequency vocabulary and expressions, gradually broadening their range of language functions. They use modelled and rehearsed language in familiar contexts and begin to use the language learnt to express their own personal meaning. They work both collaboratively and independently in Spanish, exploring a variety of simple texts, including songs/raps, emails, advertisements and online exchanges, with particular reference to their current social, cultural and communicative interests. They share language knowledge and resources in small groups to plan, problem-solve, monitor and reflect. They read, view and listen to texts, and apply modelled language to create and present their own texts, for example, shared stories, poems, advertisements and journal entries. They begin to use vocabulary and grammar accurately, drafting and editing texts to improve structure and clarify meaning. They develop grammatical knowledge and language awareness through analysing texts, comparing languages, and applying their knowledge in language exercises and tasks.
Learners use a range of processes such as observing, comparing and reflecting on language use to identify how cultural values and perspectives are embedded in language, and how language choices determine how people, issues and circumstances are represented. They reflect on intercultural perspectives and their experience of interactions, and make cross-curricular connections. They consider fundamental concepts associated with the Spanish-speaking world, such as the diversity of peoples, cultures, geographic locations and languages. They explore aspects of environment, lifestyle and practices across cultures and make comparisons with their own. They develop a metalanguage for discussing language and culture, and monitor and reflect on their language and culture learning through discussions, journalling or contributions to a shared digital space.
Contexts of interaction
Opportunities for interaction in Spanish are provided through working with the teacher and peers in class and through using a range of resources and materials. There may also be some interaction beyond the classroom with members of Spanish-speaking communities. Spanish is used by the teacher and learners in classroom routines, structured interactions and learning tasks.
Texts and resources
Learners work with a range of resources designed for language learning, such as textbooks, audio recordings, teacher-generated materials and online resources. They read, view and interact with a variety of spoken, written and digital texts created for different purposes (social, informative, transactional, imaginative and expressive). Authentic texts such as media texts, recipes and recorded conversations provide opportunities for discussion and analysis of the relationship between language, communication and culture.
Features of Spanish language use
Learners become familiar with the sounds of Spanish, including pronunciation, rhythm, pitch and stress. They recognise similarities with many English words, noting differences in pronunciation and spelling. They understand and apply elements of Spanish grammar such as word order; simple verb forms, including common reflexive verbs; gender and number agreement of articles, nouns and adjectives; pronouns; and prepositions. Students understand that language is organised as text, and that texts use different structures and language features to achieve different purposes. Students observe the patterns of word formation, noticing the role played by prefixes and suffixes. They create their own texts, mainly using the present tense of regular and common irregular verbs, enriched by the use of adjectives (including possessive and demonstrative) and adverbs. They understand that language use reflects and shapes values and attitudes, and explore how language choices determine how people, events or circumstances are represented.
Level of support
Learning at this level is supported by rich and varied language input and the provision of experiences that are challenging but achievable. Opportunities to review and consolidate learning are balanced against provision of engaging and relevant new experiences and connections. Learners rely on teacher talk, instruction, modelling and feedback, and structured opportunities for practising and understanding new language. They are supported to develop increasing autonomy as language learners and users, and to self-monitor and adjust language in response to experience in different contexts. Support resources include word lists/dictionaries, visual organisers, images and gestures. Learners may collaborate with peers in structured pair and group tasks that have clear roles and expectations.
The role of English
English serves two main functions in the Spanish class: it represents a point of reference for Spanish learning by enabling students to compare structures, features and cultural meanings in both languages; and it is used when appropriate for explanation, reflection and discussion.