Modern Languages (French, Italian, Spanish)
The advantages of learning modern languages are many – whether you are wishing to develop your linguistic skills from GCSE or A-level study, or simply wish to start learning a new tongue from afresh. As a option subject, though, you have two choices as to what level you would like to study the modern language of your choice: introductory or advanced.
Introductory language courses: French, Italian, and Spanish
If you want to learn a new language, and have a reasonable basis of language skills from which to start (i.e. at least GCSE or equivalent qualification in any modern language), then you might consider taking a one-year course in French, Italian, or Spanish especially designed for students who have no previous knowledge of these languages.
If you have no previous experience of the language, you will follow the beginner’s course which consists of four hours contact per week, in order to develop your French language skills, acquire a thorough grounding in the language, and reach a GCSE level of competence by the end of your first year of study.
The aim similarly is to provide an accelerated introduction to the modern Italian language for those students with no prior knowledge of Italian to enable them to communicate effectively in basic situations. If you have an A-level in French, German or Spanish, and no prior knowledge of Italian, then you will attend the Italian language Beginners course for five hours a week, including a lab session. If you do not have any language A-level and have no prior knowledge of Italian, then you will follow the Basic Italian course of written and oral language for three hours a week.
If you have no previous experience of Spanish, then you follow the beginners’ course, comprising four hours contact per week that aims to bring students to a GCSE level of competence by the end of the year. It is essential for students to understand that these are intensive courses that require a full commitment.
These courses are taught principally through small language classes which lay emphasis on the acquisition and perfection of communicative skills, alongside a grounding in the structural awareness of the language.
Students are assessed through a variety of means depending on the course tutors, but assessment involves both written coursework as well as oral and written examinations.
Advanced language courses: French, Italian and Spanish.
This course aims at improving language skills, spoken and written, and broadening your understanding of French culture. Please note: you require a respectable pass in A-level French to take this course.
Students of this course are required to take two modules each semester. One of these is a language module, taken across both semesters, which requires attendance at two language classes and one grammar lecture per week, with an optional further hour of attendance at a class based on on-line practice material.
You are also required to watch a 15-minute French TV news broadcast every week (tapes are supplied). Language is assessed both continuously and by a three-hour exam in the summer. The other module, also taken across both semesters, looks at the evolution of French identity through film, literature and the visual arts.
While many students start learning Italian as a beginner when taking it as a Option subject, it is possible (again if you have a good A-level grade in Italian) to undertake an advanced course, with modules for further development of language skills – both oral and written – and for an understanding of Italian culture, from early and modern Italian history and art to contemporary literature and cinema.
Those students who have a good AS or A2 grade in Spanish may choose to follow the Advanced level course as a Option subject. It is sometimes possible for students with a good GCSE pass to join the Advanced level group.
The course aims to develop students’ skills in reading, writing, listening and speaking to a post-Advanced level standard. In addition Advanced level students follow one background module on Spanish or Latin American culture in semester one and two.