LE FRANÇAIS AND THE IB PYP AT KPS

Thank you to Madame Payne for this week’s post.

At Kew Primary School we are now well into our exciting journey towards becoming a fully accredited International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP) school. How then, you may wonder, has the introduction of the IB PYP worked with the teaching and learning of French in particular?

The introduction of the IB PYP into the French programme has in fact allowed me to continue what was already my own professional journey to integrate students’ French language learning with their learning across a variety of curriculum areas. That journey started for me in 2012, when, as a then newly qualified CLIL practitioner (Professional Certificate in Education Content Language Integrated Learning) I began to introduce delivery of the curriculum in French at KPS through CLIL in a variety of curriculum areas including history, science, geography, mathematics, the arts, and technology.

The CLIL approach uses the language being learned as the medium for teaching and learning in other curriculum areas, thereby acknowledging that students’ language acquisition is recognised as most successful when it occurs across the curriculum. Since first qualifying and continuing to apply my knowledge and deepen my expertise in CLIL I have found that CLIL has proved to be an ideal approach to teach IB PYP French because the IB PYP curriculum framework at KPS enables teachers to design transdisciplinary units of inquiry.

My French programme is thus now underpinned by the IB’s transdisciplinary framework which enables students to integrate their learning across the IB PYP’s six transdisciplinary themes: who we are; where we are in place and time; how we express ourselves; how the world works; how we organise ourselves; and how we can share the planet.

AN EXAMPLE: THE TRANSDISCIPLINARY THEME ‘WHO WE ARE’
This year the transdisciplinary theme of ‘Who We Are’ saw Junior School students learning to communicate information about themselves in response to the question ‘Qui suis-je?” (Who am I?), including personal likes and preferences.

Middle School students focussed on Les signes du Zodiaque (The signs of the Zodiac) as an exploration of their personal identity and characteristics in response to ‘Who We Are’. 

The Senior School approached this same transdisciplinary theme by studying L’arbre généalogique (The Family Tree) where they explored their position in the family unit and relationships between family members. 

Embracing the IB PYP as a French language teacher has been relatively seamless for me. I quickly recognised that, in teaching CLIL for a number of years, I had already been working in the spirit of the PYP. Combined with the PYP, the French Programme contributes to an internationally minded program at KPS, the very essence of the PYP.

Madame Payne
French Teacher

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