Years 7 and 8

In their first year at Cobham Hall, students follow a carousel programme which introduces them to the three core languages: French, Spanish and German.  In each language, they learn basic communication and vocabulary, with the emphasis on speaking skills and the common principles of language acquisition.  At the end of Year 7, students may then choose between Spanish and German as their second language for Year 8.

In Year 8, students build on  the foundations of German acquired in Year 7 and develop their basic communicative skills,  including learning how to introduce themselves and other people, how to talk about their families and pets, about food and things they like and dislike. By the end of Year 8, they should also be able to tell the time, talk about their house, daily routine, sport and hobbies and give directions. They will begin to learn present, past and future tenses.

Girls learn vocabulary and grammar constructions which enable them to read, write, listen and speak about everyday contexts. They do a variety of interactive activities across all of the four major language skills areas.  Throughout this process of language acquisition, girls are encouraged to be independent learners.

Year 9

Girls continue to build on the foundations laid in Years 7 and 8. They explore topics such as healthy living, family and relationships, future plans and social issues. The grammar and vocabulary taught in Year 9 prepare students for GCSE German. Writing and reading texts become longer and more complex. Role plays and other interactive activities continue to be used to strengthen the four language skills.

Years 10 and 11: GCSE

At GCSE level, pupils are encouraged to consolidate and build on the language acquired in previous years.  Topic-specific vocabulary and grammar are reviewed and revised and activities continue to be based around the four key skill areas of listening, reading, speaking and writing.  Further use of available online and digital resources is promoted, in order to support the development of independent linguistic awareness and progress.  Communicative independence is reinforced by students giving presentations, working in groups, planning activities to support learning and making choices about activities which will develop their own linguistic competence.  Continued use is made of ICT, online resources, puzzles and activities.  Time is also spent thinking about effective revision strategies and designing tools to support these.

Assessments include regular class tests across all four skills in Years 10 and 11, unit tests, internal examinations at the end of Year 10 and GCSE examination papers at the end of Year 11.

Sixth Form: International Baccalaureate

Language A German Language and Literature is offered as a First Language course for native speakers of German at both Higher and Standard Level.

The German programme represents an exploration for students of their own literary and linguistic heritage. The study of literary works, which are selected to reflect a range of time-frames and varied geographical situations, encourages an empathetic human understanding and critical thinking. Similarly, an exploration of different texts enhances the student’s awareness of how their native language works and how words can be used to serve different purposes.

In the literature part of the course, students study three literary texts at Higher Level and two at Standard Level.  Texts covered by IB students in recent years have included ‘Effi Briest’ by Theodor Fontane, ‘Drachenläufer’ by Kahled Hossini and ‘Weiter Leben’, by Ruth Klüger. In addition, students also study a selection of poetry in preparation for the speaking examination at the end of the two-year course.

In the language part of the course, students learn about the development of the German language, as well as its usage in different areas of life, from newspapers and advertisement to political speeches and even slang.  In addition, students will examine the language through a detailed study of the Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm and the history of fables. A variety of texts will be compared and analysed in preparation for Paper One.

All Year Groups

Language Assistants   The Languages Faculty at Cobham Hall benefits from the support of native speaker language assistants who support students in the development of their communication skills at all levels throughout the school.  Students receive both whole class and one-to-one support.

Globetrotters Club   In keeping with the spirit of internationalism at Cobham Hall, all students are welcome to join the activities provided by the Language Faculty’s weekly club.  The Globetrotters Club offers a range of enjoyable activities to promote international culture and enhance girls’ understanding of a variety of customs and traditions from around the globe.