As former US President Barack Obama said, ‘You should be thinking about how your child can become bilingual. We should have every child speaking more than one language’. Former Bundeskanzler, Willy Brandt – ‘If I’m selling to you, I speak your language. If I’m buying, dann müssen Sie Deutsch sprechen’.
Learning a language helps the ability to communicate, access, interpret and present precise information and develop cultural knowledge.
Around 130 million people worldwide speak German as their mother tongue. Around 7.5 million people in 42 countries worldwide belong to a German-speaking minority. German is the most widely spoken mother language and an official language in four countries in the European Union: Germany, Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg. German is also an official language in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
At Gravesend Grammar School, the German Department aims to provide opportunities to develop cultural awareness through cultural corner challenges and planned visits, such as those that have been undertaken in the past to German Christmas markets and Berlin.
Key Stage 3 German
The Year 7 German course aims to build confidence in listening, speaking, reading, writing, and translation skills and forming grammatical structures during the first two years of a 5-year journey to GCSE. The course also focuses on increasing cultural awareness of Germany and German-speaking countries and literary excerpts and their related interests, such as music, history, science and sport.
Students develop their understanding of phonics, pronunciation and intonation. In Years 7 and 8, students study topics: self, family and friends, free-time activities, home and local area, daily routine, school life, travel and transport, and health and fitness. Year 7 and 8 German students are strongly encouraged, as independent learners.
Exploration is one of the four GGS pillars. Students can explore using links to language websites, ‘how to…’ videos, and more guidance in their termly booklets and Google classroom on how to be an independent learner and undertake Stretch & Challenge opportunities for enjoyment, and in order to develop their confidence and understanding. Students are encouraged to act upon feedback to make progress, and to always ask for help if they need to, in or out of lessons.
Key Stage 4 German
The KS4 German GCSE course will build on the foundations laid in Key Stage 3, as the AQA German GCSE course’s three themes and sub-topics, develop the topic vocabulary and grammar structures from learning previously undertaken, in addition to more opportunities to give and justify opinions.
You may wish to explore the GGS GCSE German course information video – Click here. (14 minutes).
Key themes for the AQA German GCSE – Theme 1: Identity and Culture; Theme 2: Local, national, international and global areas of interest and Theme 3: Current and future study and employment.
Key skills: translation, both in and out of German, gap-fill, summarising ideas, listening for gist, using authentic sources, sentence completion, and writing for different purposes/registers.
As only ca. 44% of the UK’s GCSE students took a GCSE language (SOURCE: Language teaching in schools (England) – UK Parliament researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk › CBP-7388), German is a valuable skill, setting our students apart from those who do not take a foreign language at GCSE. It is worth considering the words of Katja Hall, CBI Deputy Director-General. “With the EU still our largest export market, it’s no surprise to see German, French and Spanish language skills so highly prized by companies. Source: https://www.all-languages.org.uk/features/cbipearson-survey-on-language-skill-employability/ (accessed 6.8.21, 09.45).
According to the Confederation of British Industry regarding imports, exports and trade and investment links, the UK’s major export partners included: Germany (8.8%), and one of the largest partners was Germany (11.6%). Source:https://www.cbi.org.uk/media/1492/our_global_future.pdf (accessed 6.8.21, 09.45).
Have you considered being a Lead Learner/ Subject Mentor? You could provide support to peers and younger students alike, both in and out of lessons.
Looking to the future…. Student Voice:
Ryan is a former GGS student who took German and French A-levels. Listen to him and other students who took a language at A-level, about the benefits of taking a language, not just at GCSE, but beyond… – click here.