German A Level at Caistor Grammar School
The new A level in German builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills gained at IGCSE and equips students to become confident and fluent speakers and writers of one of the key world languages. German is a subject highly valued as a rigorous academic subject (one of the facilitating subjects) by universities for a whole variety of courses, from Modern Languages and Literature to History, Politics and Law. German also complements many competitive science courses such as Engineering and Medicine. With the high level of competence in the language gained at A level, by continuing with German in sixth form, students will acquire a skill which will set them apart from their peers in the international employment market of the 21st century. German remains the European language which is most sought after by major companies across the continent and globally.
Topics and Themes
The language is studied through a variety of topics relating to German society, culture, history and politics. The topics studied over the two years are as follows:
Aspects of German‐speaking society
- Youth culture: fashion and trends, music, television (Jugendkultur: Mode, Musik und Fernsehen)
- The changing state of the family (Familie im Wandel)
- The digital world (Die digitale Welt)
Multiculturalism in German‐speaking society
- Immigration (Einwanderung)
- Integration (Integration)
- Racism (Rassismus)
Artistic culture in the German‐speaking world
- Festivals and traditions (Feste und Traditionen)
- Art and architecture (Kunst und Architektur)
- Cultural life in Berlin, past and present (Das Berliner Kulturleben damals und heute)
Aspects of political life in the German‐speaking world
- German and the European Union (Deutschland und die Europaïsche Union)
- Politics and youth (Die Politik und die Jugend)
- German re‐unification and its consequences (Die Wiedervereinigung und ihre Folgen)
In addition to the above, A level students will study one film and one written text. There is an excellent choice of modern German films and texts from which students can choose.
The choice of film and text will very much depend on the interests and preferences of the students themselves. Possibilities of films include:
- Good bye, Lenin!
- Das Leben der Anderen
- Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei
- Almanya – Willkommen in Deutschland
- Sophie Scholl – Die letzten Tage
- Lola rennt
The choice of texts includes both literary and non‐literary texts, so students are not required to study literature if they do not wish to do so. The choice of texts includes the following:
- Heinrich Böll: Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum
- Bertolt Brecht: Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder
- Heinrich Heine: Gedichte – Buch der Lieder
- Jana Hensel : Zonenkinder
- Franz Kafka: Die Verwandlung
- Wladimir Kaminer Russendisko
- Siegfried Lenz Fundbüro
- Bernhard Schlink Der Vorleser
As in the case of the film, the final choice of text will depend on the particular interests and preferences of the students doing ‘A’ level German.
Finally, there is also the exciting opportunity for students to pursue their own individual research project. Students can choose any topic relating to German society or culture which interests them. The research will be then presented and discussed in the speaking exam at the end of the two year course.
In studying these topics, students will become competent in the language and so will learn how to use German grammar accurately and appropriately.
The minimum requirement for studying German in sixth form is a grade 6 at GCSE or IGCSE. More important, however, are a genuine interest in the language and culture of Germany, a curiosity and desire to learn more about and discuss the world around us and an eagerness to develop and further skills which will prove invaluable for future study and careers.
The course is linear and will be examined at the end of the course (May/June 2020). There are two written papers and one speaking exam.
Paper 1: Reading, Listening and Writing: 2 ½ hours. This makes up 40% of the A level
In this paper, students will listen and respond to spoken passages based on the social and cultural topics studied during the two years. The reading section requires students to respond to a variety of texts, again relating to the topics studied. Finally, the writing section includes two translation sections: one translation into English from German and the second translation is from English into German. The grammar studied throughout the course will be very important on this section of the paper.
Paper 2: Writing: 2 hours. This makes up 30% of the A level.
For this paper, students write two essays: one on the film they have studied and one on the text they have studied. There is a choice of questions for each film and text. Students will be required to show a critical appreciation of the works and to answer in well‐written German.
Paper 3: Speaking: (approximately 20 minutes). This makes up 30% of the A level.
There are two parts to this exam: a 5 minute discussion on one of the topics which is based on a stimulus card and which you can prepare for 5 minutes. The second part is based on your personal research project which you present and discuss for a total of 10‐12 minutes.
Expectations for work outside the classroom
German A level is an interesting, stimulating and rewarding course which requires students to show an active interest both in the language and in the world around them. Key to being successful at A level German is a willingness to develop skills steadily and consistently throughout the two years of the course. In addition to attending lessons and doing set homework, there are many opportunities to engage in independent study, accessing the language on a regular basis through wider reading, watching films and accessing German TV via the internet. Students should make extensive use of our German Library, where there are a wide range of films and books available. There is also an annual German trip to Berlin (which takes place in July of Year 12) and the trip will be particularly useful for the cultural and political topics which make up part of this course.
How to apply
If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Caistor Grammar School directly.