Cross Curricular Teaching and MFL

9 Ways to Make the Most of Cross Curricular Opportunities in Modern Foreign Languages Teaching – No Disadvantages

 6 min (+ optional videos)

What relevance does learning in one subject have to others? Or any other part of a child’s life, come to that? Chopping up a school day into isolated subject blocks is enough to make you think that one area of study has little (if anything) to do with the others. If the information we pick up in one ‘block’ seems to have no other use outside of this, then why should we bother learning it at all? Fortunately, there’s a better way. I’d like to think of it as the cheese board of teaching. But then again, as a cheese-lover, I would do, wouldn’t I? 

MFL is a fantastic subject for cross curricular opportunities. 

If you’re not convinced, then read on to find some fabulous ways you can take full advantage of these. And if you don’t need convincing, then read on too!  You’ll love the fun ideas shared here. 

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Start ‘Em Young!

OK, so it’s not officially part of the KS1 curriculum, but why not introduce foreign languages early on? Learning about, say colours, or body parts, or numbers in a new language can be fun! I’ve seen some grand work on this in PE lessons.

It’s also being taken up as part of teacher training.

And then we get to KS2. You can start with the topic. Let’s stick to colours, body parts and numbers for now – we’ve got those covered. Those links will take you to French resources, but they are also available in Spanish or German too.

But then, after some teaching here, why not recap by ditching English in your PE lessons for a bit?

Keep it Real

Anyway, let’s get back to the cheese, as promised. Or food in general, come to that. It always hits the spot with young learners when there’s a snack involved. I’m talking about a FRENCH CAFÉ. Apart from the opportunity for children to interact in French, they can take advantage of the opportunity to prepare bills, create menus, posters, labels and bunting or research some ambient music. You can involve the whole school community. Here are some top tips and tricks:

  • Make a café serving a simple French breakfast (keep it simple – coffee, orange juice and croissant for example) or lunch (crêpes, sandwiches, including cheese, of course!) for the whole school community – children, teaching staff, parents, relatives, governors.
  • Children could act as French speaking waiters and waitresses. 
  • Staff or parents could prepare and serve the food and drink for the waiters and waitresses. 


  • Most supermarkets have a Community Champion. You may be able to take advantage of this to source food for free from there.
  • Practise the French to be spoken by the waiters and waitresses in advance.
  • Practise with the rest of the school community how to order in French.
  • Waiters and waitresses will need to be aware of hygiene and safety issues. 
  • Carry out a risk assessment. 
  • Ask an adult or confident child to seat and greet ‘customers’.
  • Children can act as cashiers using knowledge of numbers.
  • Ask for volunteers to wash up. 
  • Ask the children to wear black and white – bow ties would be perfect!
  • Put out an advert on social media, or if you’re lucky enough to have a Music Service, try to find an accordion player. 
  • If you can get hold of some cafetieres, that would complete a truly multisensory experience.
If the weather is fine, why not take it outside to the terrace?

Can’t you almost smell those coffees and croissants?

Or how about learning some new words by checking out menus in a different language online? English-French dictionaries at the ready… Here’s a starter for ten: 

Cross Curricular Hitch Hiking

Twinkl’s mission is a simple one: we help those who teach. So when it comes to cross curricular language teaching, we’d certainly pick up a hitch hiker. 

Did you know that you can request a resource from us? 

So why not save yourself some planning time? You don’t have to make resources for cross  curricular teaching. We have a whole team of teachers, designers, illustrators and editors that will do that for you. Give us as much detail as you can about what you want and leave the rest to us!

Simply navigate to any of our resources and scroll down a bit.

Give Festivals an Extra Little Cross Curricular Fizz

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Festivals could have been designed especially for cross-curricular teaching. And they get you right inside a culture. There are so many cracking resources to help you with this. 

All Souls’ Day, meet El Dia de los Muertos.             Christmas, meet La Navidad.

And let’s not forget the opportunities in celebrating the European Day of Languages. It’s great for data collection tasks from bar charts to pie charts (languages spoken in school, in European countries etc…). Or why not cost up a weekend away? 

A Day in the Cross Curricular Life

Organising a day around the language you teach can be fun for everyone. You can involve your feeder schools’ language departments. And you can bet your bottom dollar there’ll be a lot of cross curricular activities going on. 

A Very Cunning Cross Curricular Plan

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This black adder has its own cunning plan

If you’re mapping out the learning for the whole school, then get to know the topics being taught. Make them part of your language planning. This is a great example. 

 If You’d Care to Step Outside… In a Cross Curricular Way


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At the Top of Your Cross Curricular Game

Lots of the games onsite at Twinkl encourage maths skills or are theme-based. 

With the upcoming Men’s World Cup there are sure to be many keen young footballers who would love to get their teeth (or feet) into these resources.

Whether it’s a quiz, or an all action whole-class game, languages cosy up well to PE, Maths, environmental or cultural education and a whole host of others. And that’s the way it should be. 

Cross Curricular Upgrades

The Planit Schemes of work are theme-based units which cover a whole range of cross curricular topics. 

Interactive online games are fabulous for engaging cross-curricular language learning. 

And Finally

Cross curricular teaching helps students to make connections. It gives more meaning to the subjects and skills they’re learning. You can begin to show them that the things they’re learning do mean something beyond an isolated classroom. 

French President Charles de Gaulle once asked, “How can you govern a country which has two hundred and forty-six varieties of cheese?” I doubt he’d tried to find out which ones went perfectly together. But we know better, don’t we? It’s all about making connections. 

And cheese.

Thanks for reading. 

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