Spanish is the mother tongue of 21 countries worldwide and has 350 million native speakers, a figure set to grow as the Hispanic population, particularly in the USA, expands. The Spanish language is increasingly important in tourism, commerce and politics; its influence did not go unnoticed by Barack Obama who recorded several campaign advertisements in Spanish!
Spanish is offered as an option choice to all boys at the end of Year 9, and the full GCSE course is taught in two years, with boys going from complete beginners to GCSE level by the end of Year 11. Boys may only take Spanish as a second foreign language and must continue with at least one of the languages studied in the Lower School.
Boys choosing to study Spanish in Year 10 have five 50 minute lessons per two week cycle. In order to reach GCSE standard within 2 years, progress is brisk, and we follow a specially designed course aimed at enabling the boys to speak in full sentences, use different tenses and express opinions as soon as possible. A variety of different teaching techniques are used to develop the four skills of listening, reading, writing and speaking, including pair work, activities on the interactive whiteboard, and language games. While the principal aim is for the boys to feel confident using Spanish in practical situations, there is a solid grammatical focus to lessons as we feel it is important for the boys to move beyond phrasebook Spanish and become independent speakers of the language.
We use the ¡Mira! course book as a framework for our teaching and follow the AQA Syllabus for GCSE. Assessment is by way of 2 controlled assessments each for Speaking and Writing, and two 50 minute terminal exams for Reading and Listening. It is anticipated that all the controlled assessments will be completed during Year 11.
In the Lower School, boys have the opportunity to experience Spanish in the weekly Spanish Club, during which they participate in activities such as language learning, food tasting and learning about popular Spanish festivals.
It is anticipated that a residential study trip to Spain will be offered in Year 11 in October half term to get the boys' GCSE year off to a flying start.
Head of Department
Mrs J L Cotton, BA
Members of the Department
R J Lees, BA