At DGSB, students study two languages in both years 7 and 8. Before coming to our school, they are asked to pick one language they would like to study and the other is chosen for them. We offer three languages here: French, German and Spanish. We lay particular emphasis on an interactive approach to learning in lessons and students emerge from this Key Stage confident and happy to produce written and spoken language, as well as understand it through listening and reading. In addition, we subscribe to a website which accompanies the textbooks we follow: www.vocabexpress.com – students are expected to complete 2-3 sessions of independent learning a week on this website, as well as their regular homework.
At DGSB, we are well aware of the importance of having a language at GCSE and all students are expected to pick one of their languages for GCSE and may carry on both, should they wish. Having a qualification in a foreign language will put our students ahead of the game in a highly competitive job market, as well as developing their cognitive and communication skills.
We follow the Edexcel GCSE course and accompanying textbooks and students conclude their course with an examination in all four skill areas: listening, speaking, reading and writing (worth 25% each). The themes studied are:
- Identity and culture
- Local area, holiday and travel
- Future aspirations, study and work
- International and global dimension.
As mentioned above, our aim is to produce students who can manipulate languages to express themselves and not just know phrases they have learnt off by heart. Thus, we hope to create robust, successful learners who are fully prepared to use the language they are learning and are ready to take on the challenge of A-level, should they so desire.
We offer all three languages at A-level (numbers permitting) and follow the AQA course. Here students study the following topic areas:
- Social issues and trends;
- Aspects of French/German/Spanish speaking society (family, the digital world, youth culture)
- Multiculturalism (immigration, integration, racism)
- Political and Artistic Culture
- Artistic culture in the French/German/Spanish speaking world (festivals and traditions, art and architecture, cultural life in the capital)
- Aspects of political life in the German speaking world (France/Germany/Spain and the EU, youth and politics, significant historical events).
Students must also study a text and a film or two texts from the French/German/Spanish speaking world. In addition, they are to undertake an individual research project on an aspect of French/German/Spanish speaking culture which interests them.
Lessons are almost solely conducted in the target language and involve discussion and debate, as well as the necessary grammar, writing, reading and listening practice required to prepare them fully for the rigours of the papers they sit; namely a listening reading and writing paper, a writing paper (on the book(s) and film they have studied) and a speaking exam. Past students have successfully gone on to do degree courses either in their chosen language or in a language and another subject.