The German department as part of the whole MFL department seeks to enthuse pupils with a love for learning foreign languages through a great variety of interactive teaching styles. Our focus in the classroom is on dialogue and discussions, using modern textbooks, Interactive Whiteboard resources, listening and reading materials relating to topics of interest to our pupils, interactive websites and online resources, software to create cartoons in German, films and film clips as well as classics and modern literature in the 6th form. We value student progress over perfection and encourage pupils to develop from communicating simple facts about their everyday life at KS3 to engaging in sophisticated debates and essays on ethical topics, current affairs as well as literary and film studies by the end of KS5. We welcome and support pupils of all abilities, stretching the gifted and talented by extension work in class and extra-curricular activities outside the classroom as well as providing extra support for pupils who struggle, thus achieving very good to excellent results across the board. We are helped in this by our German Assistant and a team of enthusiastic Sixth Form mentors.
Year 7 - 9
At KS3, we cover topics relating to pupils’ personal interests and circumstances. Typical subjects are family, birthdays, pets, local area, hobbies and talents, sports and music, school life, shopping, food and drink, German geography and culture, green lifestyle etc. We place strong emphasis on grammar from the very first lesson to ensure pupils are familiar with the present, future and perfect tenses as well as some simple subordination and have an awareness of cases and adjective endings by the end of KS3. Assessments cover speaking, reading, listening and writing skills and are often project-based and creative. In year 9 there is a focus on the topics of music and future plans which pupils particularly enjoy and which helps them prepare for their German studies further up the school. Our schemes of work include films, music and short texts from German speaking countries, and many fun games are built into the topics. In year 9 we also write letters to pen pals at our partner school in Gladbeck- replies are always eagerly awaited on both sides! All year 9 classes get to experience a fun and interactive play in German when a visiting company comes to Latymer to perform.
Year 10 - 11
During the course of their German GCSE studies, pupils build on the topics and grammar learnt previously to engage in more detailed discussions on issues like relationships, the world of work, comparing British and German school systems, advertising where they live, discussing environmental issues, media preferences, holidays, leisure and healthy living. Teachers help them develop their grammar and writing skills to a high level. With an emphasis on spontaneity and communication pupils develop confidence and greater fluency in German and are able to communicate with their peers in Germany on topics relevant to their personal lives. Students are well supported in their exam preparation, in particular the daunting speaking exams: most students have individually scheduled sessions during lunchtimes where our German Assistant works with small groups of three to five students. In year 10 pupils have the opportunity to go on a week-long exchange trip to Gladbeck in March, following a visit from their exchange partners in September.
Year 12 - 13
At AS level students are encouraged to broaden their minds and develop knowledge and skills that enable them to discuss topics like Youth Culture and Concerns, Leisure and Fitness, Tourism and Environment as well as Education and Work from a more refined and unbiased point of view. Our two week work experience exchange in Bielefeld and trip to Berlin give students the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of topics studied as they stay with a peer and host family and experience living and working in Germany first hand. In lessons, students learn to weigh up, develop and communicate new aspects of familiar issues in preparation for engaging in more sophisticated topics at A2, which places a strong focus on current affairs, film, literature and controversial issues in society. Year 13 also study ‘Der Besuch der Alten Dame’ (‘The Visit’), a play by Swiss author Friedrich Dürrenmatt, and the film ‘Goodbye Lenin’ for their research based essay.
We teach advanced grammar throughout the whole AS and A2 courses. Students are taught by two classroom teachers as well as attending fortnightly group and individual sessions with our German Assistant. We encourage students to make good use of the opportunities to sample German culture that London has to offer and try to organise excursions such as for example a trip to By the end of year 13 students are usually reaping the benefits of their advanced language studies and feel confident and prepared to continue German at university and and/or spend time studying and working abroad.
Activities and Recent Highlights
KS3: Creative writing projects in year 7&8 Pen pal letters to our partner school in Germany in year 9 Theatre performance for year 9 pupils German Catch-up Club (summer term) to support weaker pupils.
KS4: Year 10 German exchange to Gladbeck. Lunchtime sessions and small group support by our assistant to help pupils practice for their oral and written assessments.
KS5: Year 12 Berlin trip and Work Experience Exchange to Bielefeld. Oxbridge preparation classes run by teachers. Individual and small group sessions with our German assistant to prepare for the oral and help weaker students with grammar. We also encourage students to make the most of German cultural events in London (theatre, cinema, lectures, exhibitions etc) and will often organise special activities such as a visit to a German Christmas market, an excursion to the German Career Fair at the London School of Economics, theatre or exhibition visits, or lectures.
Year 9 wrote letters to their pen pals. Both the year 10 Gladbeck Exchange and year 12 Work Experience Exchange continue to prove highly popular and successful. The Gladbeck group loved their visit in September, and we look forward to welcoming the Sixth Form exchange group soon, including a student who will be placed in the German Department where KS3 classes will have an opportunity to meet and interview her. In February year 12 will travel to Berlin & Bielefeld, and in March the year 10 group will visit Heisenberg Gymnasium in Gladbeck. Year 11 had some year 13 pupils visiting lessons for a Q&A session about studying languages at Sixth Form, and Open Evening saw a lot of interest in A Level German. The majority of our year 12 and 13 recently attended the German Career Fair (November 2015) and came away with ideas and information about studying abroad and career opportunities for linguists.