Developing a Modern Foreign Language (MFL) curriculum that links to the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) is feasible, worthwhile, and hugely impactful on consolidating student learning as students will see concepts repeated differently in multiple languages. Rates of learning a foreign language improve because students are hearing and seeing familiar concepts and vocabulary repeated in the MFL classes. During IPC exit points students will also be able to confidently display their learnings in multiple languages, which is impressive! Below are some tips and ideas to use when setting up an MFL program that links to the IPC:
a) Teacher Planning System:
Ideally, the MFL team should be allowed to see mainstream planners two weeks prior to upcoming units. With the knowledge of the upcoming units, the MFL team could plan ways they will link their lessons to the IPC. In the model below, the MFL team can clearly see IPC Subject Learning goals, Cambridge and Dutch National objectives, and upcoming vocabulary and grammar. Planning for upcoming units would start from there and link to the CEFR.
b) Team Planning Time:
The MFL team should be given planning time on a regular basis in order to meet as a team and discuss how they will link the IPC to their own separate language classes. This ensures that while centered around the same theme, a beginner Dutch class, for example, would assign different activities/end of unit projects than a beginner Bahasa Indonesia class. Also, the team can strategize the ways they can have students display/share learning in MFL classes during exit points.
c) Scaffolding for Different Language Levels:
Using the IPC curriculum as a basis for the MFL curriculum is great because vocabulary/grammar and activities can easily be scaffolded so that beginner, intermediate and advanced level language classes can all cover the same units, but at appropriate levels. For those MFL teachers teaching students with multiple language levels in a single class, this is helpful because they can concentrate on one given theme, and then scaffold language/activities to meet the differing abilities in their class.
d) An MFL/IPC Wall Chart:
It is visually useful for students to have the MFL team fill out a chart displaying how each language class will link to the IPC in the MFL room or in multiple classrooms if there is no set MFL room.
e) Materials Used:
A combination of existing textbooks and teacher created resources can be used when implementing the program. Textbooks are a great basis for vocabulary and grammar activities, and the order of the chapters/units can always be changed so they link to the IPC.
f) Open Communication Between the MFL Team and the Mainstream Teachers:
Discussing upcoming IPC units at all staff meetings is very beneficial. Ideas spark at meetings, and mainstream teachers can provide additional ways that the MFL team can link their programs at exit points, or during units. Also, all of the staff will be aware of all activities planned during units/or at exit points - everything can be coordinated accordingly.
Displays around the school can be created to demonstrate student IPC learnings in multiple languages. It’s a great way to show parents what their children have learned.
Have you had success in creating an MFL program that links to the IPC at your school? Are there other tips you would like to share?