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Modern Languages

The majority of students continue studying one of their languages to Standard or Higher level. However students looking for a fresh start in a new language or those who did not achieve a grade 5 or above might wish to study at beginners level. The points earned are exactly the same as those for standard or higher subjects.  

Beginners

Is suitable for anyone:

  • wishing to start a new language from scratch; on its own or with another Language.
  • who has studied a language at KS3 and wants to pick it up again.
  • who enjoyed GCSE but found their Language hard; attained a grade 4 or less but is keen to improve.
  • who wasn’t keen on their Language learning at GCSE but understands the benefits in learning a new language.

Standard

Is suitable for anyone:

  • who has already studied the language at GCSE and wishes to continue learning it
  • who enjoyed learning a language at GCSE and has achieved at least as Level 5 
  • who sees the benefits of studying languages as a way to enrich their IB experience, but does not consider it to be their favourite subject

Higher

Is suitable for anyone:

  • who has already studied the language at GCSE and who is capable of achieving Level 7 or above
  • who has really enjoyed their GCSE language course and is passionate about learning more about the language and culture
  • who is excited by the prospect of studying literature written in the target language 
  • who is perhaps considering studying languages at University 

A bit more about the course and the lessons

The Year 12 Standard and Higher courses will improve the overall level of students’ competence in the language, especially cementing the foundations of grammar laid down at GCSE. They will learn to skim and scan texts, and will be encouraged to read for pleasure as well as to write in both a controlled and targeted way and to express themselves freely. They will study 5 themes (Identities, Experiences, Human Ingenuity, Social Organisation and Sharing the Planet) across 4 terms (all of year 12 and Autumn of Year 13)

The Year 13 courses will focus increasingly on the respective targets of Higher or Standard Level, with the Higher Level group extending the range and quantity of the material they cover, specifically through the study of target language literature, as well as refining their use of the language to reach the required Higher Level. The course is examined at the end of Year 13 with a range of written, reading, listening and spoken exams. Students will sit an essay-writing paper (Paper I), a reading and listening paper (Paper II) and an individual speaking exam in February of Year 13.

Students will develop the four skills they have known at GCSE to the levels required to deal with adult themes, where they will need to reflect complex ideas and shades of opinion and to tailor their language to the situation in which they are using it. This will be achieved through a wide range of activities encompassing a variety of styles and registers. Full use will be made of the school’s access to a wide range of media to provide the broadest possible range of exposure to the language used by native speakers. All the time they will be encouraged to use the spoken language as their means of communication. To encourage this, additional support will be provided outside timetabled lessons by a foreign language assistant. The Learning Resource Centre will be stocked for research and reading for pleasure, as well as offering Internet access, while the language lab offers facilities for self-study.

At the heart of the IB is the idea of encouraging an awareness and appreciation of other peoples, their cultures and perspectives. In Modern Languages we want to help achieve this by taking each student to a country where their language is spoken at least once during the course, and we organise a successful work experience trip each year to help students combine their linguistic skills with the opportunity to gain business experience. The Modern Languages Department also runs a range of Key Stage 5 cultural trips (to from local ones to the theatre, to those to China, Japan and Russia), and exchanges with schools in France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

We hope that this will encourage students to adopt an international outlook and provide them with a firm basis for further study, work and leisure linked to the language they study, and maybe others they choose to study in the future.