At Woodside we have been teaching Spanish and Mandarin as they are major world languages both spoken by even more people than English worldwide, and also because Spanish is a language with a close match between how it is spoken and written.
Research shows that learning any second language makes learning further languages easier and Spanish has much in common with other European languages, including the use of different genders for ordinary objects, using their word for "of" to show possession instead of our "apostrophe s" but most of all the use of verbs which change according to who or what you are referring to. As our teachers are not language specialists we use digital resources, particularly Language Angels to teach Spanish and, for a number of years, have also had the support of a Spanish Language Assistant. Our latest Spanish Language Assistant was so successful that this year she is working full-time here teaching Spanish. Our teacher is from Ecuador and we teach the Latin American pronunciation of Spanish but with European or Castilian Spanish vocabulary. The Latin American pronunciation is easier and also similar to the Spanish spoken in the Canary Islands and southern parts of Spain where British families are more likely to go on holiday. If children study. Children can adapt their pronunciation later if they go on to study Castilian Spanish at GCSE but they will already have correct vocabulary.
With the support of Chinese Language Assistants through the British Council we have also had several years of teaching Mandarin. This is a difficult language but important economically and is the most spoken language in the world. Since we have started teaching Mandarin it has become one of the top three languages wanted by employers. Besides the language itself we teach children about Chinese culture including calligraphy and cooking.
Currently, we do not have a Chinese Language Assistant in 2023-24 but we intend to keep up the knowledge children have already gained using digital resources including Language Nut We also learn songs and words of other languages, especially the many languages now spoken within our school community. Collectively, among the staff alone, we have and use expert knowledge of German, Lithuanian, Indonesian, Mandarin, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Urdu, and Yoruba. Much of our language teaching is integrated within other subjects as children learn things such as songs, art techniques, cooking and counting from a different culture. Teaching of Modern Foreign Languages at Woodside is coordinated by Mrs Marks. We have given children LanguageNut log in details to use at home and this can be used for learning both Spanish and Mandarin as well as other languages, including English, for people for whom this is an additional language. We recommend you join your child in learning a new language and also maintain any languages you already speak as a family.