Spanish is available in the Lower Sixth to AS Level and to A2 in the Upper Sixth.
The course will help you to develop your general study skills but most of all you will learn to communicate at a higher level in Spanish. You will also learn much more about a wide range of aspects of the society or societies in which the language is spoken.
You will be able to read, understand and extract information from written passages in Spanish, taken from authentic sources such as magazines and newspapers; reports or books. You will be able to listen to and understand the contemporary spoken language and answer questions on what you have heard. The passages that you will learn to listen to will be taken from a range of sources, such as news reports on the radio or TV, podcasts, announcements, interviews and discussions.
You will learn how to write longer pieces in the form of emails, letters and essays and to hold conversations and discussions in Spanish. You will also learn all the appropriate grammar, words and phrases that will help you to present information in Spanish, organise your arguments, provide opinions and analyse your ideas.
If you are interested in languages and communication and you enjoy learning about other cultures and ways of life, then Spanish could well be suitable for you. Similarly, if you are interested in the business world, law, in travel or tourism, literature, or in journalism and the media, then you are also likely to find the course very stimulating and appropriate. Indeed, an AS in a language can be profitably combined with almost all other subjects; the AS profiles of our students in the past have often been rich and attractive to universities and employers. Having a language at AS or Advanced Level will substantially improve your employability.
Students will be expected to have achieved at least the equivalent of GCSE Grade A in the relevant language before embarking on this course.
A Level Spanish
Edexcel A Level Spanish consists of three units of study.
- Paper 1 Listening, Reading and Translation (40%)
- Paper 2 Written Response to Works and Translation (30%)
- Paper 3 Speaking (30%)
How the course is taught
Each course is normally taught by two subject teachers. A heavy emphasis is placed on pupil participation, presentation, research and independent learning. The School Library is well resourced for all courses. Further learning resources are available through the Spanish Department Virtual Learning Environment. Students are supervised through the process of working through research-based literary, cultural, historical work. Pupils are also expected to participate on trips to Spain to and to keep themselves up-to-date with the current affairs by watching the Spanish news daily.
Subject teachers set tasks according to an agreed work programme which helps students to manage their time. All students are expected to engage fully in lessons, keep up-to-date and to read and research widely in order to support their independent learning. Sixth Form Spanish students are expected to be resourceful and committed to intellectual enquiry.
All students complete summer work before entering the Lower Sixth and this provides them with an excellent introduction to the topics that we study at A Level. It is also recommended that all students continue to revise grammar over the break as a good working knowledge of Spanish grammar will be vital at A Level.
IB Spanish A Literature (Higher Level and Standard Level)
The Spanish A Literature course gives students the opportunity to study a wide range of literature but also appreciate the historical and social context associated with each work and develop a number of skills. A combination of lecture-based lessons, group discussion and activities and individual research all combine to ensure that lessons are stimulating and varied.
This course presupposes a native command of the language. It is, therefore, not a language acquisition course as such, but, rather more a reinforcement and refinement of already-present language and literary skills. The course of study is divided into four parts.
Spanish A, whether at Higher or Standard Level, requires the linguistic competence of a native speaker and it counts towards a Bilingual Diploma.
The Higher and Standard Level courses have similar syllabi; Higher Level students examine topics in more depth and study more literary options. While the same principles underlie both courses, the Higher Level mark schemes are naturally more rigorous.
Four modules are covered during the course of two years:
- Part 1: A study of three texts in Translation, involving close textual analysis as well as research
- Part 2: A study of three works of different genres, one of which must be poetry
- Part 3: A study of four works of the same genre and which allow for comparative as well as individual study
- Part 4: A study of four works chosen freely by the teacher. The cultural background of the texts as well as film versions are studied alongside the works themselves
How the course is taught
A heavy emphasis in this course is placed on research and
independent learning, although, naturally, students are supported at all times and offered guidance when completing extended projects such as their coursework module and individual oral presentations.
Expectations / Homework
Students are expected to participate in class discussion, be
inquisitive and work both independently and in groups. Homework ranges from independent research to essay questions, either from past papers or based on a topic currently being studied. In addition to this, students are expected to consolidate the texts they are studying and take additional notes in order to enhance their learning outside of the classroom.
All works studied are available to students from the
beginning of the course so that they are free to read any of the texts in advance. They will be set poems to analyse in the summer preceding the course in order to acquaint them with the basic techniques of literary analysis.
IB Spanish Language B (Higher and Standard Level)
Spanish B is offered to non-native speakers of Spanish who have completed either a GCSE or an IGCSE in Spanish (or equivalent).
The 3 Core Topics are:
- Global Issues
- Communication and Media
- Social Relationships
There is huge importance attached to producing and recognising registers and throughout the course pupils will study many different text types, from leaflets, posters and diary entries to poems, short stories and newspaper articles.
At Higher Level, pupils must also study two works of literature written in the target language, currently these are ‘Campos de Fresas’ by Jordi Sierra I Fabra’ and ‘Yerma’ by Federico García Lorca.
How the course is taught
Each course is normally taught by two subject teachers. Higher Level students will have nine lessons per two-week cycle (plus 1 assistant lesson per week) and Standard Level students will have six lessons per 2 week cycle (plus 1 assistant lesson per week). The language assistant lessons will be timetabled into one of your non-contact periods. The language assistant lessons are usually taught in groups of 2 or 3 and so are extremely beneficial.
A heavy emphasis is placed on pupil participation, presentation, research and independent learning. The School Library is well resourced for all courses. Further learning resources are available through the virtual learning environment and many tailored resources developed by the Spanish Department. Students are supervised through the process of completing their Internal Assessments. Pupils are also expected to participate on trips to Spain and to keep themselves up-to-date with current affairs by reading Spanish newspapers and periodicals and watching the news regularly.
Subject teachers set tasks according to an agreed work programme which helps students to manage their time. All students are expected to engage fully in lessons, keep up-to-date and to read and research widely in order to support their independent learning. IB students are expected to be resourceful and committed to intellectual enquiry.
The Extended Essay
Higher Level pupils may wish to consider an aspect of Spanish or Latin American history or culture as the focus for their Extended Essay, particularly if they intend to continue with Hispanic Studies and/ or History at university. This would be written in Spanish. Students are free to select any topic that lends itself to an enquiry focus, requires assessment of conflicting evidence and has a holistic worth. The essay must be completed within 4000 words. Up to five hours of staff supervision are available to assist with the planning, research and execution of the Extended Essay. Some pupils have also written very successful essays on literary topics in the past. The Spanish Department benefits from a wide range of expertise when it comes to providing appropriate supervision for the Extended Essay.
It is recommended that all students engage in substantial revision of Spanish grammar and key vocabulary in order to prepare and equip themselves with the necessary tools for production and interaction before they embark on the course. In the summer preceding the course, they will be required to work on materials to facilitate this.
The pursuit of Spanish at Higher Level is essential for those wishing to specialise in Spanish at university – but it may also be a very useful for those wishing to study Spanish in conjunction with another language or with the kinds of subjects mentioned in the introduction. It also may be undertaken purely because of a student’s enthusiasm for the subject.