The Modern Languages department aims to develop as fully as possible students’ innate linguistic ability and the teaching is sympathetic, supportive and, as far as possible, tailored to individual needs. A range of techniques and activities are employed to make the learning process as enjoyable and stimulating as possible.
The atmosphere in Sixth Form lessons is relatively relaxed in order to produce a good exchange of ideas between students and teacher. Nevertheless, hard work is needed to achieve a high grade at A and AS level.
The A Level specification requires Year 12 students to study topics such as: the changing role of the family, cyber-society, charity work, French heritage, French music and French cinema. They also study a piece of French literature, such as Albert Camus’ “L’Etranger”.
In their Year 13, students go on to study such topics as: the positive features of a diverse society, the treatment of criminals and the marginalised, politics (elections, entitlement, protest) and issues relating to immigration. Students also make an in-depth study of a French film, such as Louis Malle's “Au Revoir Les Enfants”, and undertake an Individual Research Project about a topic of their choosing.
The department occupies four purpose-designed teaching rooms, all equipped with modern audio-visual and computing facilities. Up-to-date course books are used and these are linked to current exam specifications. The basic material is supplemented by newspapers, magazines, films, DVDs and, increasingly, the internet, through which we access many languages resources.
There is no doubt that students who visit the countries whose languages they are studying come back motivated and enthusiastic to improve their language skills further. With that in mind, we help students organise work placements in France so that they are able to appreciate the culture, people and language first hand.
In recent years several students have continued French at university or have started a new language, on its own or in conjunction with subjects such as cinema, music, history, economics, education, management, European Studies, international relations, international politics, journalism or linguistics.
Through the Erasmus Scheme, universities are also able to offer undergraduates the opportunity to do part of their degree course abroad – a popular choice for students as it gives them an ability not only to become fluent but also to enjoy the culture of that particular country.