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Spanish A-Level at Dr Challoner's High School

Course description

A Level Spanish puts you, the individual, on centre stage. You will learn how to express your considered and informed opinion on many aspects of daily life, both orally and in writing. The role of the media, relationships, our role as citizens, the challenges of a changing, multicultural society, the environment: these are some of the topics you will explore. You will listen to native speakers expressing their opinions on TV, radio, or in recorded interviews, sometimes by sound files home with you to listen to at your own pace. You will read current newspapers and magazines, and extracts from books. You will also use the Internet to research topics using target language web-sites. You will spend a lot of time in class discussing, debating and role-playing, in pairs or small groups.

In the second year of the course you will be able to show your awareness of the role Spain plays in the global arena. Your ability to defend and justify your views will be tested. You will read one or two modern works of literature or films, investigate two or three topics in depth, and be helped to discuss them and write about them.

The course encourages you to take an interest in Spain as well as to find and use target language sources which will provide the facts and evidence you need for your class presentations.

You will spend one lesson a week in a small group working with a modern languages assistant. You will probably also want to take part in a trip during your time in Years 12 and 13, and this will be extremely valuable and directly relevant to your studies. You will find the courses demanding and challenging, but you will enjoy them and at the end you will be delighted with your fluency and confidence.

Course content

AS

This comprises two units which focus on the following topics: 

  • The family and relationships: family; friendships; marriage, partnerships 
  • Media: TV, advertising, communication technology 
  • Popular culture: cinema, music, fashion / trends
  • Healthy living /lifestyle: sport / exercise, health and well-being, holidays 

You will be expected to make progress in three areas:

  • improving your knowledge of the topics and issues prescribed by the specification 
  • expressing your responses and reactions to the issues both orally and in writing 
  • developing your ability to use Spanish accurately and fluently 

Successful students will learn how to analyse, summarise, express opinions and present both arguments and counter arguments. You will also be required to use a variety of sources, evaluate factual information and organise and plan essays and oral presentations. All these skills are, of course, essential in any walk of life.

A2 

At A2 topics and issues are studied in more depth and include: 

  • The environment: pollution, energy, protecting the planet 
  • The multicultural society: immigration, integration, racism 
  • Contemporary social issues: wealth and poverty, law and order, impact of scientific and technological progress. 

Plus: 

Cultural Topics: You will also read one or two modern books, or research two major topics in depth, and learn how to discuss and write about them in Spanish.

Entry requirements

Prospective students are required to achieve a minimum of 2 GCSEs or iGCSEs at grade A and a further 4 GCSEs or iGCSEs at grade B, including English Language and Mathematics.

Subject Specific

Ideally, a grade A minimum is required at GCSE, with an A or A* in the writing examination. Candidates who achieve a B overall, still with an A or A* on the writing examination, may possibly be accepted but would need to discuss their suitability for the course with the relevant Head of Department.

Assessment

The four skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking will all be tested and will be of approximately equal weighting. For the listening test you will have your own CD which you can listen to as often as you like on your own personal CD player, within the overall time limit for the examination.

AS 

The examination has two units: 

  • Unit 1 Listening, reading and writing (short answers), writing (one essay). 
  • Unit 2 Speaking: when you will be asked to prepare and discuss the issues raised on a stimulus card, then take part in a conversation on the other topics studied during the course. 

Candidates will normally sit the examination in the summer of Year 12. 

A2 

The examination has two units which closely mirror those at AS: 

  • Unit 3 Listening and reading comprehension; translation from and into Spanish; one essay on the book, film or topic you have studied. 
  • Unit 4 The Speaking test; when you will be asked to prepare arguments for or against a topic suggested on a stimulus card and defend and justify your stance, followed by a discussion of the book and film, or topics you have studied during the course.

Future opportunities

There is a tremendous variety of courses available which include the study of a language. Languages can be combined not only with almost any arts subject, including a totally new language, but also with Business Studies, Drama, European Studies, Law, Mathematics or a Science. There will probably be opportunities to study at a foreign university for part of the course, with funding from the European Union. If you wish to specialise in languages at university you would be well advised to study two Modern Foreign Languages at A Level.

An A Level Modern Foreign Language can provide a potential basis for entry into commerce, industry and other careers; it can also be useful for future doctors who choose to spend their elective year abroad. In the current economic climate the ability to understand a modern language is an asset in any job, is valued by employers, is very highly respected by universities and in an expanding European Union, is increasingly regarded as an essential skill.

Further information

Work Experience opportunities are available via the "Halsbury" organisation.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Dr Challoner's High School directly.

Last updated date: 05 May 2015
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