Studying any language at A-Level is the stepping stone to being able to converse fluently, to access the film, music, literature, art and theatre of that language and culture and to get to know and understand a people in a way which is impossible without such knowledge. The additional advantage of Spanish is the richness and diversity of the above, across a native-speaking world of 350 million speakers. The countries of Central and South America are increasingly at the forefront of the global economy and the ability to speak and use Spanish effectively can be instrumental to success in multiple areas of the world of work.
Additionally, the literary, artistic and cultural benefits of pursuing Spanish to A-Level are numerous and varied - if ever you needed convincing of the cultural insights just ask your Spanish teacher at school about Lorca or Don Quijote and you’d probably find it hard to get them to stop talking.
Communication is at the heart of language and in terms of fluency, you will learn to hold and conduct spontaneous conversations on a variety of topics and to use and adapt the language to suit the situation. For able linguists who wish to pursue this subject at degree level (or an even more exotic language like Arabic) A-Level Spanish is excellent preparation.
During the course at Chapeltown, we study the works of Lorca and Garcia Márquez and the films of Diego Luna and Perdo Almodóvar. Additionally the A-Level course gives wonderful and exciting scope to explore aspects of Hispanic society and make comparisons with British society in relation to issues of equality (la igualdad), values (los valores) and new technologies (el ciberespacio). Additionally, the course explores issues of la inmigración, la integración and el racismo in the context of multiculturalism in Hispanic society. The final “content” element is artistic culture and political life in the Hispanic world and this section encourages study of a huge variety of features, including aspects of Spanish regional identity (La identidad regional en España) , popular movements (movimientos populares) modern day idols (la influencia de los ídolos) as well as historical dictatorships across the Spanish speaking world.
Previously we have visited Cataluña, where we were based in Barcelona and any students wanting to study Spanish are strongly recommend to come on one of our planned visits to Spain. We have trips to Valencia and Sevilla in the pipeline. Should there be enough interest we will also look to organising a trip to South America.
The course is founded upon a comprehensive grammatical understanding of the language – essential for success in every aspect of its usage. We look at this early in the first year to ensure students can really make the most of everything the course has to offer.
Our entry criteria are for students to have a 5 grade in the language at GCSE, although this really is an absolute minimum. Critically, students should be fiercely passionate about the language, and the desire to learn how to read, speak and write it and be committed to understanding about the culture in which it has thrived and thrives now.
The principal aim of this course is for you to be able to communicate fluently in Europe’s most widely spoken language, thus making you stand out from the woeful and chronic shortage of multilingual school leavers. Knowledge of German can be vital to international work in the areas of science, engineering, business and the humanities. German holds the key to a deeper understanding of where our modern world has come from and where it might be going.
Through its authors, philosophers, composers, painters and scientists, German-speaking Europe has not only been at the crossroads of history for the past 800 years, but promises to remain one of the most important world cultures for the foreseeable future.
I am aware that the step up to A Level can be a daunting one. You needn’t worry as small class sizes will mean plenty of one-to-one support. We will be building on your linguistic knowledge as well as the skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing you have gained during your GCSE studies. Some of the themes taught at AS may indeed be familiar to you and will reappear as we study various topics such as the changing state of the family (relationships and family), the digital world and youth culture (music and fashion). Coupled with advanced grammar, we will also study German festivals and traditions, art and architecture as well as Berlin’s cultural life past and present. New to this specification is the study of a German novel, play or a film at AS Level.
Our travels to date took us to Germany (2014) and Austria (2016) where we discovered much of Berlin’s and Vienna’s history, particularly the cities’ Jewish history. We followed the trails of Vienna’s most famous residents, Sigmund Freud, Gustav Klimt and Gustav Mahler whose life and works may form part of the independent research project undertaken at A2. The examinations follow a familiar pattern of listening and reading comprehension exercises followed by a translation part in which you can show off your grammatical skills. In your writing examination, you will be asked to discuss the film, play or novel we have studied. An oral exam completes the assessment process.
Given that we build on your previous knowledge, we would normally expect you to have achieved at least a 5 in your GCSE examinations.