The Modern Languages department has enthusiastically embraced the revolution that has taken place in Language learning in recent years.
The department aims to develop as fully as possible students’ innate linguistic ability and the teaching is sympathetic, supportive and, as far as possible, tailored to individual needs. A range of techniques and activities are employed to make the learning process as enjoyable and stimulating as possible.
We study the AQA specifications in Spanish. The atmosphere in Sixth Form lessons is relatively relaxed in order to produce a good exchange of ideas between students and teacher. Nevertheless, hard work is needed to achieve a high grade at A and AS level.
The new A-Level syllabus is about to be implemented, but currently, during their first year, students study: media including television, advertising and communication technology; popular culture – cinema, music, fashion and trends; healthy living – sport, exercise, health, well-being, as well as the topics of holidays; and family and relationships which includes friendships, marriage and partnerships.
The subject content in Year 13 comprises: the environment – pollution, energy and protecting the planet; the multicultural society including immigration, integration and racism; and contemporary social issues such as wealth and poverty, law and order and the impact of technological progress. Additionally, students study two cultural topics from a choice of a region or community, a period of 20th century history, a novelist, dramatist or poet or a director, architect, musician or painter.
The department has recently moved into a suite of six purpose-designed teaching rooms, all equipped with modern audio-visual and computing facilities. Up-to-date course books are used and these are linked to current exam specifications. The basic material is supplemented by newspapers, magazines, films, DVDs and, increasingly, the Internet, through which we access many languages resources, including an online language laboratory.
There is no doubt that students who visit the countries whose languages they are studying come back motivated and enthusiastic to improve their language skills further. With that in mind, we organise visits to Spain so that students are able to appreciate the culture, people and language first hand.
In recent years several students have continued Spanish at university or have started a new language, on its own or in conjunction with subjects such as cinema, music, history, economics, education, management, European Studies, international relations, international politics, journalism or linguistics.
Through the Erasmus Scheme, universities are also able to offer undergraduates the opportunity to do part of their degree course abroad – a popular choice for students as it gives them an ability not only to become fluent but also to enjoy the culture of that particular country.