With the introduction of Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) as a compulsory part of the primary curriculum back in 2016, many Key Stage 2 teachers were tasked with getting to grips with a new a subject and new pedagogies. At the same time, the linguistic diversity of classrooms across England has continued to grow, with 20.9% of primary school children now using a language other than English at home (DfE, 2021). This combination of growing linguistic diversity and a new linguistic subject in primary classrooms has created an interesting intersection to explore.
As part of my PhD studies I have worked with teachers and pupils to look at the different aspects of teaching and learning MFL with learners of English as an Additional Language (EAL). Through language tasks with pupils looking at their metalinguistic awareness in both MFL and English, alongside focus groups and lesson observations with teachers, I have built up a picture of the way MFL is being taught and learnt in multilingual contexts. A product of this work has also been the creation of a multilingual toolkit for teachers. This toolkit provides tips and activities for teachers to use in their classrooms with learners of EAL, and focuses on using a child’s linguistic profile to support their MFL learning.
The toolkit is being hosted on the RiPL website and hopefully offers teachers some helpful tools for use in the classroom. As a final part of my PhD work, I am now asking those who teach primary MFL (class teachers, MFL specialist teachers, teaching assistants) to help evaluate the toolkit and give some feedback on how useful they think this could be in practice. If you are currently teaching MFL in a primary setting, please do take a look at the toolkit and fill in the evaluation (Thank you!). Your experience and knowledge can then be used to help make this resource the most effective it can be for teachers in the future.