It is generally agreed today, that an ability to speak and understand other languages is an extremely important skill. The German department offers students the opportunity to learn a Teutonic language in addition to their first ‘Romance’ language French or Spanish, learned from Year 7. It offers different challenges from the learning of their first language, combining some very familiar spellings with a rather more rigid grammatical structure (a case system based on Latin, for example), and students enjoy the challenge of dealing with some very un-English sentence patterns. German speakers are increasingly sought after in today’s world of business, science and technology. It is the language of Germany, Austria and partly of Switzerland and is a second language to many other Europeans. Learning the German language allows access to a wide range of cultural interests. German literature has long been popular, with writers ranging from Goethe to more modern playwrights like Bertolt Brecht, while German cinema has undergone a resurgence in recent years, with a number of highly successful directors and writers coming to the fore. Throughout the three year course to GCSE emphasis is placed on comprehension and communication, where students are encouraged to express and justify their ideas.
German becomes an option in Year 9, meaning that there are just three years of learning up to GCSE. At GCSE we follow the new Edexcel
specification. In the first year we concentrate on vocabulary acquisition
and learning the basic grammatical structures. One good thing about
German is that the pronunciation is regular and logical. By the end of Year
9 pupils will be able to deal in German with a range of everyday situations
and will already have learned the past tenses.
Years 10 and 11 form the basis of the GCSE course, where students
continue to develop their grammatical knowledge and their competence
in the four basic language skills. The topics covered are more demanding,
dealing with lifestyle, health and fitness, holiday and leisure and education
and work. Assessment will be by final examination in the four language
Throughout Middle School, German students get additional support in
small groups with the German language assistant. In no small part, this
helps to prepare them for the Christmas market trip and for the proposed
language and culture trips at Easter.
Here again we follow the new Edexcel exam specification. The two year A
Level course continues to encourage students to develop and express their
ideas in rather more advanced and challenging topic areas. In Year 12 we
shall cover the topics of environmental issues, media and modern culture,
as well as an in-depth study of a German film. Throughout, students are
encouraged to analyse and challenge what is put before them.
In Year 13 we cover the topics of immigration and German multi-cultural
society and German re-unification. In addition students will study a
German literary text. Students will also undertake an independent
research project on a topic of their choice.