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GCSE Languages

GCSE Languages

Head of Department: Mrs E Gambino
Email: egambino@stedmundscollege.org
GCSE Specification: Edexcel IGCSE (9-1) ( French 4FR1, German 4GN1, Spanish 4SP1) 

 

Course Outline

The course is aimed at developing and encouraging effective understanding and communication in the foreign language set in its cultural context.  As an added bonus, we facilitate the development of the transferable skills which are so highly valued by universities and employers (e.g. analysis, memorising, drawing of inferences, empathy, ability to work collaboratively, self-evaluation).

 

The syllabus aims:

  • to develop the ability to communicate effectively using the target language
  • to offer insights into the culture and society of countries where the language is spoken
  • to develop awareness of the nature of language and language learning
  • to encourage positive attitudes towards speakers of other languages and a sympathetic approach to other cultures and civilisations
  • to provide enjoyment and intellectual stimulation
  • to complement other areas of the curriculum
  • to form a sound base of the skills, language and attitudes required for progression to work or further study, either in the target language or another subject area.

 

Course Structure

For French, German, and Spanish, where the new  Edexcel IGCSE specification will be followed, pupils study all of the following topic areas on which the assessments are based:

  1. Home and abroad
  2. Education and employment
  3. Personal life and relationships
  4. The world around us
  5. Social activities, fitness and health

Question Paper Requirements

NB: there are no Foundation/Higher Tier paper – all pupils take the same papers which gradually increase in level of challenge

For Listening and Reading, Correct spelling and grammatical accuracy will not be a requirement as long as the pupil’s response is comprehensible.

 

Listening

Pupils are required to convey their understanding of spoken language through a series of listening tasks. They must be able to: identify and note main points; deduce the meaning of words from context; extract specific details; identify points of view; show some understanding of unfamiliar language; recognise attitudes, emotions and opinions.  Task types include multiple-choice, multiple-matching, note-taking, table completion and gap-fill questions.

 

Reading

Pupils are required to convey their understanding of the written language(s) through a series of reading tasks.  They must be able to: identify and note main points; deduce the meaning of words from context; extract specific details; identify points of view; show some understanding of unfamiliar language; recognise attitudes, emotions and opinions.  Task types include multiple-choice, multiple-matching, note-taking, table completion, gap-fill questions and short-answer questions

 

Speaking

Pupils are required to convey their understanding of spoken language through three speaking tasks.  They will need to:

  • Describe the contents of a picture
  • Describe possible past or future events related to people in the picture
  • Respond to questions about the picture and its related topic
  • Take part in a spontaneous conversation on two further topics. In each conversation pupils must develop their responses, show initiative, express and justify points of view and refer to past, present and future events.

 

Writing and Grammar

This section will consist of two writing tasks and a third grammar-based task.

The first writing task is short and the pupil will be asked to write 60-75 words on a prescribed them. The second task is longer.  Pupils choose from three questions and write between 130 and 150 words addressing four bullet points. In the third grammar-based task pupils will be asked to change the words in brackets so that they correctly fit the sentences.  Pupils will have to manipulate verbs and adjectives for example, into their correct word form.Grammatical accuracy, punctuation and spelling will be assessed in this section of the paper.

 

Assessment

Listening 25%

Reading & writing 50%

Speaking 25%

Assessment is by terminal examination, and everything is marked by the examination board

 

How to choose your language(s) at GCSE? 

The most important factor should be your level of enjoyment – choose the language you have enjoyed most in Bounds (years 7-9).

  • Do not let yourself be influenced by your friends’ choice – they may enjoy studying a particular language, but if you do not, you will soon lose interest.
  • Do not choose/discard a language because of your assumption as to which teacher will be taking your group. Timetabling is a very complex procedure and things may not work out in the way you assume.
  • Do take into account which language you feel stronger at or most ‘at ease’ with. The length of time you have studied a language is a good measure of your level of experience. Your second foreign language may feel easier at the moment, but it is only because you have not reached the same level of complexity as you may have in  your first language,. The IGCSE/GCSE courses require a similar level of competence in all languages, so the present pace of learning may change as the course progresses.
  • External motivation may be a significant factor when choosing a language (such as having a holiday home in Spain or a family business in Switzerland), but if not supported by internal motivation – i.e. your own desire to learn that language – it will not be enough to keep you on track in the longer term.
    • Do not let yourself be influenced by your friends’ choice – they may enjoy studying a particular language, but if you do not, you will soon lose interest.
    • Do not choose/discard a language because of your assumption as to which teacher will be taking your group. Timetabling is a very complex procedure and things may not work out in the way you assume.
    • Do take into account which language you feel stronger at or most ‘at ease’ with. The length of time you have studied a language is a good measure of your level of experience. Your second foreign language may feel easier at the moment, but it is only because you have not reached the same level of complexity as you may have in  your first language,. The IGCSE/GCSE courses require a similar level of competence in all languages, so the present pace of learning may change as the course progresses.
  • Motivation is, ultimately, the best way of predicting success.
  • Able linguists do not have the restrictions of those who find language learning challenging and should definitely consider doing more than one language.

Think beyond GCSE/IGCSE.  Universities and employers value languages and value the skills developed by people who have studied languages.

 

 

 

 

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