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Modern Languages

The Department of Modern Languages is committed to equipping our pupils with transferable linguistic skills by means of structured, stimulating and relevant courses.

Modern Languages

About Our Modern Languages Department

In a world where global communication is becoming easier and international contacts increasingly important, the ability to speak other languages should be considered a crucial life-skill. With the acquisition of a foreign language comes an awareness of diverse customs as well as an appreciation of different cultures and a better understanding of one’s native tongue.

French is currently introduced into the Junior School curriculum at Junior 4, and pupils usually pursue their studies of this language to National 5 level with a large number of them continuing to Higher and Advanced Higher.

All Second Year pupils are given introductory courses in both German and Spanish and these languages become an option from S3 onwards. The Department also provides non-examinable courses in Italian and Japanese.

Although the emphasis of all courses offered within the Department is on oral/aural competence, grammatical knowledge and the ability to communicate in writing are also seen as an integral part of a pupil’s learning of a foreign language. There is significant cultural and phonetic input to courses at all levels with interpretation, translation and literacy skills being developed in the senior years.

A wide range of extra-curricular activities (e.g. school exchanges, cultural visits, drama, competitions, cinema/theatre outings) is made available to encourage pupils to use and experiment with the language they have been taught in the more formal environment of the classroom

Staff

Mr Niall Campbell (Head of Department) (French/German)
Mrs Katy Bhatia (French/German) (Maternity Leave)
Miss Mairead Cranie (Assistant Housemistress - Moore) (French)
Mme Aline Drapeau-Magee (Junior School/French Assistant)
Mrs Karen Evans (French/Spanish/Assistant Careers)
Mrs Laura Muir (French/German)
Mr Antonio Fernandez Lucas (Spanish Assistant)
Frau Anke Hilt (German Assistant)
Mrs Jennifer Horne (Housemistress - Law) (French/German)
Mrs Val MacCorquodale (Spanish)
Miss Kristelle Péron (French/Junior School)

Curriculum Information

French/German/Spanish (Head of Department:  Mr N F Campbell) 

Studying a modern foreign language enables learners to make connections with different people and their cultures and to play a fuller part as global citizens. Language is at the core of thinking, and learners reflect, communicate and develop ideas through language.

All modern language courses provide learners with the opportunity to develop skills in Listening and Talking, Reading and Writing, which are essential for learning, work and life. They also allow pupils to use creative and critical thinking to synthesise ideas and arguments, to enhance their understanding of their own and other cultures and to develop independent learning.

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Course Structure

Each course comprises two Units:

  • Understanding Language (Listening and Reading)
  • Using Language (Talking and Writing)

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Course Aims

Pupils will acquire skills, knowledge and understanding from these Units within the four main contexts of:

  • Culture
  • Society
  • Learning
  • Employability

These broad contexts are sub-divided into related topics, many of which will already be familiar to pupils.

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Course Assessment

The total mark of 100 for the National 5 course is comprised as follows:

  • Reading (30)
    • Comprehension questions in English based on three texts in the foreign language
  • Listening (20)
    • Comprehension questions in English based on two texts in the foreign language (one monologue and one dialogue)
  • Writing (20)
    • Written response in the target language to a job advertisement in the foreign language
  • Talking (30)
    • Presentation and Conversation based on topics covered in the National 5 course (assessed internally by the end of the Spring Term of S4)

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Each course provides flexibility, personalisation and choice to enable learners to achieve in different ways and at a different pace. They are designed to be accessible and include opportunities for progression to Higher level.

French/German/Spanish (Head of Department:  Mr N F Campbell) 

The syllabus for Higher French, German or Spanish has been designed to be accessible to all students who have already gained a Grade A or B at National 5 level and who wish to continue with their linguistic studies to the next logical stage.  With the streamlining of course content and the inclusion of supported learning, it is hoped that students will come to appreciate the relevance and value to their chosen career of the study of a modern foreign language at this more advanced level.

The course builds upon the language skills and topics begun at National 5 level, but within contexts which allow the student to develop communicative competence to a level of some sophistication and to use the language in confident and flexible ways for either career or personal purposes.

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Course Structure

As at National 5, the course consists of two units:

  • Understanding Language
  • Using Language

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Course Aims

The Understanding Language Unit develops the skills of Reading and Listening, whereas Talking and Writing are explored in the Using Language Unit within the four broad themes of:

a)  Society

b)  Learning

c)  Employability

d)  Culture  

These themes are sub-divided into related topics, many of which pupils will already have encountered as part of their National 5 course.

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Course Assessment

The successful completion of the course is based on both internal assessment and external examination as follows:

  • Internal: Reading, Listening, Talking and Writing
  • External: Reading (including a short translation into English), Listening and Writing

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With the study of French/German/Spanish at Higher, students will be in a position to pursue foreign language study at University level or to combine language studies with their chosen career e.g. law, business management or politics and economics.

French/German/Spanish (Head of Department:  Mr N F Campbell) 

This course, whilst being a natural linguistic progression from Higher, opens up new horizons and should appeal to a wide range of students, whether or not they intend to follow a foreign language course in Higher or Further Education. The value of an award at this level as an ancillary skill to a wide range of degree courses should not be under-estimated. Advanced Higher French (or German or Spanish) is, therefore, a useful and practical course, not only for those intending to study languages at University, but also for those intending to specialise in a variety of other subject areas.  The course develops in the student a critical awareness of language and a deeper understanding and appreciation of the use and impact of words, both in English and in the target language.  Considerable practice is gained in the skill of discursive essay writing – a skill required in most disciplines in Tertiary Education.

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Course Structure

Normally an ‘A’ or good ‘B’ pass at Higher level is required for anyone hoping to derive maximum benefit from the course.

The course consists of three units:

  • Understand Language
  • Using Language
  • Specialist Study

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Course Aims

The Understanding Language and Using Languages Unit develop the skills of Reading, Translation, Listening, Talking and Writing within the four contexts of: 

a)  Society

b)  Learning

c)  Employability

d)  Culture  

These themes are sub-divided into related topics which are developed in ways which are relevant to students’ needs and interests. 

 

For the Specialist Study element, students are required to:

a)  analyse and compare two or more literary texts linked by author, theme or genre, OR

b) analyse and compare a novel and film adaptation, OR

c) analyse the way in which historical or cultural contexts have influenced certain literary texts.

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Course Assessment

The successful completion of the course is based on both internal assessment and external examination as follows: 

  • Internal: Talking, Reading, Listening, Writing and a Folio marked externally (15%) consisting of one essay of between 1200 and 1500 words in English.
  • External: Talking which is conducted by an external examiner (25%), Interpretation & Translation (25%), Listening (15%) and Discursive Essay (20%).

18 S3 Pupils took part in an exchange trip to Nuremberg, Germany in October 2014 - Find out more here