Modern Languages

The Modern Foreign Languages Dept aims to develop the ability to use the foreign language effectively and with confidence for the purpose of practical communication and social contact and to form a sound base of the skills, language and attitudes required for the further study and continuing use of the foreign language in work and leisure.

STAFF

  • Mrs G. Hamilton – Head of Department

  • Mr R. Shufflebottom

  • Mrs F. McConnichie

  • Mrs H. Kerr.

  • Mrs M. McIlroy

Knowledge of a foreign language can significantly improve your employability in an increasingly global economy. However, this does not limit your options to language-based career pathways (such as teaching, interpreting and translating): the knowledge and skills acquired by studying a foreign language to A-level and beyond will also prepare you for a range of other career options. Graduates with foreign language skills can expect to earn at least 10% more than those without and recent surveys have shown that the three business languages which are most in demand are German, French and Spanish. – all languages offered at RSA. People who can speak more than one language have skills which help them in life and which employers want.  Languages also go really well with a wide range of subjects; languages can work for you whatever your ambitions.

To aid in the delivery of these aims we have four dedicated classrooms which are all equipped with data projectors and two of which have interactive whiteboards. In addition, we have a set of 25 iPads which are for the exclusive use of the MFL Dept. AS and A2 students have twice weekly conversation classes with native speakers to develop their oral competences.

In Key Stage 3 all pupils start French in Year 8 with an additional language introduced in Year 9. The Key Stage 3 curriculum focuses on developing a sound knowledge of topical vocabulary, combined with an understanding of the grammatical rules and how to manipulate them, and covers the following topics: introducing myself, numbers, dates, months, family, pets, school subjects, opinions, the time, sports and leisure, daily routine, my house, places in the town, directions, holidays, body and illness and relationships.

In Key Stage 4 pupils follow the CCEA specification for GCSE. More information about this course can be found at their website: http://ccea.org.uk/ where you should follow the link to their subject specific microsite. The GCSE course is assessed by means of Controlled Assessment for the skill areas of Speaking and Writing (each worth 30% of the final GCSE grade and final examination for the skill areas of Listening and Reading (each worth 20%). The content for the course is divided up into three contexts: ‘The Individual’ covering relationships, local environment, daily routine and leisure activities and health and lifestyle; ‘Citizenship’ covering social issues, travel and tourism, environmental issues, media and communications and celebrations; ‘Employability’ covering school life, part-time jobs and future plans.

In Key Stage 5 pupils follow the CCEA specification for AS and A2. More information about this course can be found at their website: http://ccea.org.uk/ where you should follow the link to their subject specific microsite. The assessment format for AS involves two papers: a 13 minute oral which is worth 35% of the AS grade and 17.5% of the A2 grade and a Listening, Reading, Translation and Writing paper which is worth 65% of the AS grade and 32.5% of the A2 grade. The structure of the examinations and weighting of the marks is paralleled at A2. At AS students study the topics of: Relationships, Healthy and Lifestyle, Young People in Society and at A2 they study: Local and Global Citizenship, Environmental Awareness, Literature and Society.

Each year a Languages Trip is run for pupils in Years 8-10 to the countries whose language is taught, on a rotational basis. During these very successful trips pupils stay as a group with their teachers in a hotel, with coach travel included to for all visits. Not only do these trips allow our pupils to try their linguistic skills out on actual (unsuspecting) natives but they also provide them with a real insight into and appreciation of the culture of the country which they are visiting. In addition, we celebrate European Day of Languages each year and enjoy the opportunity of highlighting the importance of learning a language on that occasion. Previous events have included: Assembly being taken in a foreign language, speciality dishes on offer in the dining hall at lunch time, pain au chocolat et chocolat chaud on sale at break time as well as MFL quizzes and competitions. For 6th form pupils we have taken part in German debates and French, German and Spanish film days and workshops.

At the school’s annual Speech Night there are prizes for the best linguist in each language at every level but there is also the T.B.W Reid Memorial Prize for the best overall linguist. The 2015 recipient, Joanna Anderson, also achieved an amazing and thoroughly well-deserved 2nd place in A Level French in Northern Ireland and she will be attending a prize-giving held by CCEA in December. Joanna is currently studying Medicine at Hertford College Oxford and as such is one of a number of RSA linguists who have gone on to read for a degree at Oxford or Cambridge.