Modern Languages

In an international school like Gordonstoun, the role which foreign languages plays is vital.  Not only does learning a foreign language enable students to communicate with others of different nationalities but it gives students a wider understanding and greater awareness and appreciation of other cultures, their attitudes and customs.  The staff try to promote this broader context wherever possible and support individual students to achieve their best.

YEAR 9

Students entering Year 9 normally study either French or Spanish as their core foreign language, unless they require support for learning or additional help with English. Most students arrive with a basic knowledge of French, although some have never studied this before, and little or no knowledge of Spanish. All levels are catered for. In the core languages, setting is by ability, which is constantly reviewed by staff.

The French course is based around the Heinemann textbook “Studio 3” and the Spanish around “Listos”.  In addition, extensive use is made of interactive online resources and authentic materials to improve oral, listening and reading skills.  The German course is now the brand new “Echo Express”.

Students in Year 9 also study a second language from French, Latin, German or Spanish, unless support for learning or additional help with English is required. Guidance may be offered by the Director of Curriculum or the Head of Languages.

All courses put great emphasis on the four skills of Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing. New concepts are usually introduced orally before written work is attempted. Information Technology is being used increasingly in the production of written work, and as a means of presenting new grammar and vocabulary in a different way.

GCSE (AQA)

Those students who have studied French or Spanish as their core foreign language continue to the GCSE examination at the end of Year 11. In addition, students can choose to continue German, French/Spanish or Latin, having already opted for the language in Year 9.  It is not normally possible to begin Spanish from scratch for those entering Gordonstoun in Year 10.

The modern language courses place great emphasis on speaking the foreign language and on comprehension skills, as well as being able to communicate through writing.

The GCSE examination tests the four skills of listening, reading comprehension, speaking and writing: listening accounts for 20%, reading 20%, speaking 30% and writing 30% of the final grade. Candidates are required to sit terminal exams at Foundation or Higher level according to their ability, in listening and reading. There are two levels - Foundation, at which a student can achieve grades G to C - and Higher, at which a student can achieve D to A*. Questions and answers are in a mixture of English and the target language and students are not allowed dictionaries in any paper except for help in the production of writing tasks.

Speaking is assessed internally. Students have the opportunity to complete several tasks on different topic areas and their teacher submits the best two for moderation by the exam board. Several written tasks are also prepared and then completed under controlled conditions. The best two are submitted for marking.

The contexts are:

Lifestyle-Health, Relationships and Choices
Leisure-Free Time and the Media, Holidays
Home and Environment-Home and Local Area Environment
Work and Education-School/College and Future Plans
Current and Future Jobs

The purpose is to teach students how to cope with areas of unpredictability, to discuss issues, to provide information and to feel comfortable expressing their opinions. They should develop an understanding of these contexts as they relate to their experiences but also in relation to those of people in countries where the target language is spoken.

Second Modern Language

Students may choose a second modern language as one of their options. The choice is from:

German

French

Spanish 

Previous experience is required for these option subjects. All modern language courses are of the same format and details are provided under the core language. Classroom teaching in modern languages focuses on making progress in all four skills.   Students wishing to study both French and Spanish in year 10 should choose French as their core language and Spanish as an option.

More detailed information on GCSE languages is available on the AQA website, following the links below:

French:   
http://web.aqa.org.uk/qual/newgcses/languages/new/french_overview.php

Spanish:  
http://web.aqa.org.uk/qual/newgcses/languages/new/spanish_overview.php

German:  
http://web.aqa.org.uk/qual/newgcses/languages/new/german_overview.php

 

AS/A2 LEVEL

FRENCH (AQA)

Studying French at A-Level will not only give you knowledge of another language but will also open up a new culture to you. Students will certainly learn grammar and vocabulary, but, more importantly, will gain insight into the lifestyle and customs of French-speaking people around the world. The AS course is based around the topics Media, Popular Culture, Healthy Living/Lifestyle and Family/Relationships, which are expanded at A2 to include Cultural Topics (literature or film, for example) and further, current, global issues. Here, more emphasis is placed on personal study and response, thinking independently and developing the critical and linguistic skills necessary for debate and discussion, skills which will serve as a stepping stone to higher education.  Good foreign language skills are in short supply today and highly valued, and so, studying a language will open doors for you, both at home and abroad.  A French cultural trip to Paris is arranged at the end of the Spring Term of Year 12.

The assessment is 70% exam (listening, reading and writing) and 30% speaking. Students should have at least a grade B at GCSE or extensive experience in French.

GERMAN (AQA)

Studying German at A-Level will not only give you knowledge of another language but will also open up a new culture to you.  You will certainly learn grammar and vocabulary, but, more importantly, you will gain insight into the lifestyle and customs of German-speaking people. The AS course is based around the topics Media, Popular Culture, Healthy Living/Lifestyle and Family/Relationships, which are expanded at A2 to include Cultural Topics (literature or film, for example) and further current, global issues. Here, more emphasis is placed on personal study and response, thinking independently and developing the critical and linguistic skills necessary for debate and discussion, skills which will serve as a stepping stone to higher education. Good foreign language skills are in short supply today and highly valued, and so studying a language will open doors for you, both home and abroad.

The assessment is 70% exam (listening, reading and writing) and 30% speaking. Students should have at least a grade B at GCSE or extensive experience in German.

SPANISH (AQA)

Studying Spanish at A-Level will not only give you knowledge of another language but will also open up a new culture to you.  You will certainly learn grammar and vocabulary, but, more importantly, you will gain insight into the lifestyle and customs of Spanish-speaking people around the world. The AS course is based around the topics Media, Popular Culture, Healthy Living/Lifestyle and Family/Relationships, which are expanded at A2 to include Cultural Topics (literature or film, for example) and further current, global issues. Here, more emphasis is placed on personal study and response, thinking independently and developing the critical and linguistic skills necessary for debate and discussion, skills which will serve as a stepping stone to higher education.  Good foreign language skills are in short supply today and highly valued and so, studying a language will open doors for you, both home and abroad.

The assessment is 70% exam (listening, reading and writing) and 30% speaking. Students should have at least a grade B at GCSE or extensive experience in Spanish.

More detailed information is available on the AQA website, following the links below:

French:
http://web.aqa.org.uk/qual/gce/languages/french_noticeboard.php

German:
http://web.aqa.org.uk/qual/gce/languages/german_noticeboard.php

Spanish:
http://web.aqa.org.uk/qual/gce/languages/spanish_noticeboard.php

 


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