Modern Foreign Languages

Academics at BOS

Modern Foreign Languages

At the BOS English is the medium of instruction; however, we encourage students to become proficient in languages other than English.
Our choice of three languages: Urdu, French and Mandarin Chinese, offers considerable opportunities and challenges to our students. Opportunities to learn the languages and about the cultures of three very different societies; challenges to cope with two different alphabets as well as a completely different approach to a language based on characters rather than an alphabet.
As far as possible we try to integrate our modern foreign languages into other subjects so that they have ‘life’ beyond the confines of their own timetables.

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Urdu

We believe it is important that students are fluent, or at least proficient, in Urdu. It is the official language of Pakistan and so offers a gateway into local culture, past and present. Proficiency in Urdu ensures that students can function effectively within contemporary Pakistani society, as well as having a better understanding of local issues, debates and norms. Furthermore, Urdu has a rich history of literature, especially poetry, and we endeavour to expose children to this tradition from an early age.
Students develop their understanding and use of Urdu at rates that vary widely: some students use Urdu as their everyday language at home, some use English with their parents and Urdu with their grandparents, others come from an entirely English-based home life. Therefore, our Urdu classes demand more differentiated work than most other subjects. Hence Urdu classes are led by the Urdu subject teacher and supported by a specific Urdu support teacher to ensure that we can cater to the different levels of proficiency in the classroom.

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French

For most of our children, French, more than Urdu, is a true foreign language. It is introduced to primary children in Year 1 and compulsory classes continue throughout primary and into the secondary school.
French is probably the foreign language of choice for most British schools, due to the proximity of France to the UK and its use as the language of diplomacy. The BOS continues that tradition in part due to availability of good resources as well as the fact that a strong foundation in French makes learning other European languages, such as Spanish and Italian, much easier.
French classes in KS1 concentrate on pronunciation skills and basic vocabulary, such as meeting and greeting. However, they quickly move on to learning French songs and rhymes. As students move through KS2 the focus is on building a good foundation to enable their language skills to flourish in the secondary school.
The study of French is compulsory in the Secondary School until the end of Year 9 – in KS4 it is an optional subject to IGCSE.
For those students not choosing to pursure French to IGCSE the BOS offers the option to take the DELF examination via the Alliance Française to ensure that their many years of French classes do not go unrecognized.

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Mandarin Chinese

A relatively recent addition to our MFL portfolio, Mandarin Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world, that fact alone qualifies it to be a part of the BOS MFL curriculum. Furthermore, China is one of Pakistan’s neighbours and one of the country’s biggest trading partners.
Mandarin, or Putonghau, is taught from Year 1 and upwards in the Primary School and, as a compulsory subject, in the Secondary School to Year 7.

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