Languages

Languages at Heath Mount School

One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way ‒ Frank Smith

At Heath Mount, we make pupils’ experience of language-learning fun, stimulating and enjoyable. We strive to foster in pupils a desire to explore the world alongside a deep appreciation of other languages and cultures. We aim to ensure our pupils gain a sound platform of linguistic skills and stimulate a passion for learning languages in the future.

Why learn a foreign language?

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart – Nelson Mandela

Aside from the obvious cultural, employment and travel opportunities, studies continually show that speaking two or more languages is a great asset to the cognitive process. Through learning a foreign language, pupils literally become smarter. Students who study languages tend to score better on standardised tests, particularly in the categories of maths, reading, and vocabulary. Multitasking skills are strengthened as pupils become better at switching between two systems of speech, writing, and structure. Memory and decision-making skills improve and students become more perceptive – all whilst deepening their understanding of the grammatical make-up of their own language.

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French

French is taught by specialist staff across the school from Nursery to Year 8, with setting in place from year 5 onwards. In the Pre-Prep and Lower School, pupils are immersed into the French language and culture through a primarily oral approach, developing their listening and comprehension skills through games, stories, role-play, songs and other interactive activities. From Year 5 upwards, pupils gradually develop their understanding of how the language works, with a greater emphasis placed on written French in order to lay the foundations for the level required at Common Entrance and Scholarship.

We use a variety of attractive, modern and appealing resources including Babelzone, Rigolo and Studio to ensure that equal emphasis is given to the four skill areas; Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. We adopt a variety of methods to suit the preferred learning styles of pupils and to ensure that all children engage and participate, with spoken French being used as much as possible in the classroom. We subscribe to Vocab Express for vocabulary learning and are very proud to be champions of the app’s annual worldwide competition.

To see our French Curriculum Map for Lent 2017 click here.

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Spanish

Spanish is one of the fastest growing languages and is said to be the happiest to speak! At Heath Mount we operate a thriving and highly popular after-school Spanish Club for beginners as well as more advanced pupils. Pupils from all years are welcome to join this fun club where emphasis is on developing confidence in speaking skills in a supportive and friendly environment.

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Mandarin

Mandarin is growing rapidly in popularity and is a challenging and highly interesting language to learn, incorporating an entirely different culture to those experienced by many of our children. Like Spanish, pupils can opt to learn Mandarin as an after-school activity.

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Latin

Latin is a language, as dead as dead can be, first it killed the Romans and now it’s killing me! Salvete omnes!

‘What is the point in learning Latin?’

Latin is a very traditional and very academic subject. Whilst it is true that Latin is now considered to be a ‘dead’ language, in so much that it is no longer spoken outside of the Catholic church, it is still very much alive as the root language for most Indo-European languages and all Romance languages (French, Spanish and Italian). 60% of the English language is still based upon Latin and it is unique in the modern curriculum in that it requires children to memorise vast amounts of information, as well as applying this bank of knowledge in a functional way.

Latin is an excellent academic stretch for gifted children, but equally it also supports those who find English a challenge, by teaching them formal grammatical rules and developing their memory. Learning Latin is brilliant preparation for the process of revision at Common Entrance and should equip children with learning techniques that they can transfer.

Latin is a language that will stay with your child throughout their adult lives and many will reflect with satisfaction (if not pleasure) on the Latin of their school days. After all, how many of you still remember ‘amo, amas, amat’ and ‘Caecilius est in horto’?

To see our Latin Curriculum Map for Lent 2017 click here.

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