Languages - French and German
At St Margaret Ward Catholic College, we firmly believe that knowledge of a modern foreign language is an asset to all students regardless of ability or interests. After all, although English is a very important world language in the 21st century, it definitely isn’t enough. Only 6% of the world’s population speaks English as a first language and 75% don’t speak any English. Indeed, anyone who goes to school in countries where English is not the first language spends significant time learning it. That means that our young people increasingly have to compete with those from other countries who have a least one language in addition to English.
Language learning has an important role to play in developing skills which will stand our young people in good stead to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world.
Below are just a few good reasons to embrace language learning:
- Languages are a life skill. Knowledge of a foreign language is not just another GCSE grade. It is a concrete and demonstrable life skill, like being able to drive a car or touch-type, and it is a skill highly valued by employers. So valuable in fact, that according to the recruitment agency Reed, employees who use languages in their work earn on average 8% more.
- Languages teach communication skills and adaptability.
- Languages teach cultural awareness.
- Languages give you a sense of achievement. Learning a language combines the intellectual with the practical as no other subject does. You need to be able to think on your feet, but when you can find exactly the right foreign word or phrase, you get a real sense of achievement.
- Languages are a social skill which can enhance all forms of relationships.
- Languages give you the edge in the job market. Today, there is a global market for jobs. The 2008 report by HEFCE showed that three and a half years after graduating, language graduates have the highest salary of all graduates.
- Learning languages offers greater opportunities to travel and work abroad.
- Languages combine well with virtually any subject for further study. Many universities even offer funding for students to continue or extend their language knowledge by studying or working abroad.
Many skills are developed in language learning that are essential for progress in other subjects such as memory, problem-solving, attentive listening, pattern-finding, attention to detail, creative thinking and reasoning.
Without doubt, regular completion of homework in languages maximises the progress made by every pupil. The department has a particular focus on being able to memorise words or phrases as this is critical to success in language learning and in many other subjects which require more detail for the top grades. Many rote-learning strategies are discussed during lessons so that all pupils are capable of completing learning homework to a high standard. From time to time and especially in Key Stage 4, pupils will be given reading or writing tasks in addition to their learning homework.
Pupils should be encouraged to arrive at each lesson with the correct equipment: pen, pencil, ruler, eraser and exercise books. Although we have French and German dictionaries available for use in school, the purchase of the relevant dictionary for use at home will encourage the pupil to become increasingly independent in the acquisition of language. The dictionaries can be purchased at a reduced cost to the retail price from pupil support at school.