Speaking off the top of my head: the need for spontaneity in MFL

Language learning (IMO) is all about spontaneity, creativity and fun.
This leads to long-term retention.
Students will retain language if it is taught in an engaging way, recapped in different contexts and if communicating spontaneously and creatively in the language is seen as not only part and parcel of the lesson, but also as a fun thing to do.
Grammar is a vital cog in all this. It should never be learned in isolation but must be fully integrated into the study of the mechanics of the language. Again this can be done in a fun way. Revision of the present tense of Spanish verbs with Year 10 this afternoon involved rapid-fire actions, Simon says, True / False game and (at their insistence) Pass the Pigs.
They now have a good understanding of regular verb patterns and therefore have the building blocks for creating an infinite variety of sentences.
The problem lies more with the exam system which reduces students to their default ‘learning by rote’ setting. Even the most gifted linguists learn off-by-heart currently. The sooner we encourage and reward more spontaneity in speaking / writing a modern language, the sooner we will be preparing students for life in the real world, where conversations are not carefully scripted, but created in the moment.