For the council of Europe "language learning is a key component of education for democratic citizenship". One of the aims of language teaching is to "prepare people to live in a multicultural society and to deal with difference knowledgeably, sensibly, tolerantly and morally, it also strengthens social cohesion, mutual understanding and solidarity" (council of Europe 1999).
In lessons, pupils are given the opportunity to consider the consequences, advantages and disadvantages of things such as cultural issues relating to how MFL and the world interrelate and how MFL can be useful in understanding others’ opinions and reasoning as well as how language can be used to change perception, opinion and can cause reaction.
The Rule of Law
Through general discussions and study of texts in the target language, pupils gain a better understanding of rules and laws (in Britain and in France). The school’s behaviour policy, reinforced in every lesson, enables pupils to distinguish right from wrong and to respect the order according to which our school functions which helps them in turn understands how important the respect of rules is in the country generally, is.
As the various topics that we study, mostly centre around pupils' lifestyle, personality, identity, aspirations and family, we have to establish from the beginning in the classroom, an atmosphere of trust and respect for each other. We try to use teaching resources from a wide variety of sources to help pupils understand a range of lifestyles and sometimes faiths (North African French speaking countries for example).
Pupils must be able to share information about their background, their beliefs or simply their way of life, safe in the knowledge that their peers will respect and accept them for who they are. Pupils are encouraged to recognise an individual’s strength and support their development, they are also encouraged to embrace diversity and treat all others with respect both in and out of the classroom.
Tolerance of Other Faiths & Beliefs
In French we actively promote pupils' understanding of their own culture through comparison with the culture of various French speaking countries as well as of all European countries. Learning a foreign language is about feeling comfortable in another culture and be willing to understand and accept different sets of values, religious and otherwise. The French trip in year 8 contributes greatly to promoting pupils' understanding and acceptance of a different culture.
Freedom of Speech: pupils are encouraged to give their opinion about aspects of French culture compared to British culture, for example about eating habits and school life whilst ensuring students are respectful to others. When/if the opportunity occurs, discussions around events in France help them understand the consequences of radical or extremist views and the implications of such actions (e.g. "Je suis Charlie"). At all times, students are reminded of an expectation of respect for all others.