How foreign language literacy supports English

In this series of blogs TES MFL subject adviser Rachel Hawkes looks at how foreign languages teachers can support whole school literacy through their lessons, this week Rachel looks at how foreign language literacy supports English.

Tes Editorial

A second bite of the cherry

When we teach a foreign language at secondary school, we are working with learners who have a higher level of consciousness about learning processes in general because they are older and have been in formal education for a few years. This can boost transferable skills and knowledge that many learners have not yet managed to grasp in English. It provides `a second bite at the cherry'.

We often say that this is for lower ability learners. Actually, I think that this is effective across the board and at every level. I know my understanding of English grammar developed through foreign language lessons. The November TES cover story exploring teachers' response to the challenge to teach English grammar reports one teacher, asked to teach English language A level, as saying, "I literally went back to the textbooks. I went back to basics. Things started coming back to me. You think, hang on, I did this in French and German, and this applies to English."

The big five - transferable knowledge and skills

But it always helps if we can be specific about how foreign language learning supports English literacy (or reading, writing and communication as it appears in the new Ofsted framework). There are five key areas:

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