The ability to speak, listen, read, and write in a foreign language is a skill to be cherished in this world of international travel and international business. It is also a skill at which children are generally much more proficient than their parents! Communication lies at the heart of a thriving society, and when we learn a foreign language we learn both how to express our own identity and how to relate to our fellow human beings.
At Christ Church, all boys take French from Year 2 to Year 8. All lessons are taught by French language specialists. The youngest learners are introduced to the language through games and songs, and, as they progress through the school, pupils develop a more thorough and academic understanding of French grammar and vocabulary, while still, it is hoped, retaining that initial sense of fun and enthusiasm. In Years 7 and 8, in order to prepare more effectively for their Common Entrance and other exams, the pupils are set in French according to linguistic ability.
As well as classroom lessons, we work with the Music Department in such enjoyable ventures as the French Carol, sung during the Christmas service at the end of Michaelmas term, and we organise an annual residential trip to France, during which the boys discover a little of the history and culture of the country.
Some boys come to Christ Church already fluent, at least orally, in French. We do extension work with them to ensure they receive the advanced teaching they require. Equally, for boys with specific learning difficulties, we work with the Special Needs staff to provide the individual help they need to progress. Our philosophy is simple: all boys gain from learning languages, whatever their level, and all boys should be given the chance to fulfil their potential in French.