Spanish (A Level)
Why should I study A Level Spanish?
Spanish is a language with around 400 million native speakers, and official status in a staggering 21 countries, spanning South, Central and North America, as well as Africa and Europe. It is fascinating to explore the differences in how Spanish is spoken around the world. It is the second most spoken language worldwide.
Apart from the varied and vibrant culture (music, food, dress, literature, religious beliefs, dance and festivals) which you meet across the Hispanic world, Spanish is also a very accessible language. It is quite easily pronounced and is a very pleasant-sounding language, and it also has the extra advantage of being phonetic (unlike English!).
It is one of the most important languages of the international community, not just in Europe but across the globe. The ability to speak Spanish and English is an advantage on the international job market. A knowledge of Spanish opens the doors of Spanish companies in Spain and other Spanish-speaking parts of the world (eg: South-America).
Learning Spanish enhances your skills in analysing, discussing, and categorizing information and ideas. It is also a big accomplishment which brings with it great satisfaction and added confidence. Immersion in a foreign culture can open whole new avenues of self-exploration and personal growth.
Students will normally be taught by two teachers and have a session once a week with the Spanish assistant. Students will learn to communicate confidently and clearly in Spanish through the medium of the spoken and written word.
Two themes must be studied during the first year: Social Issues and Trends and Artistic Culture. In practice, this means that students will be studying topics such as the changing nature of families and the place of information technology in society, as well as things that young Spanish people really like such as music and films. Students will study many interesting aspects of life in society e.g. youth unemployment, recent history, poverty in South America, regional languages, gay rights etc. These topics will give students a deeper insight into the Spanish-speaking world.
All students are issued with a vocabulary book and there are weekly vocabulary tests. Students have found that sites like Quizlet and Memrise have greatly helped them to memorise the volume of words required. There is a great emphasis on grammar and there will be regular tests on the major grammar points throughout the course.
Dictionaries are available for reference in the Library and in teaching classrooms and we show students how to make the best use of sites like Wordreference. Students have access to our virtual learning environment system (Moodle). Here they can see all sorts of useful information including course outlines, vocabulary lists, grammar explanations, and advice about the examinations.
Students will be expected to complete 4/5 hours of homework a week. Students are charged a small amount for vocabulary books, and may be asked to contribute a few pounds towards the cost of producing homework and revision packs.
In the second year of the course (AQA), we revise basic grammar and introduce more complex grammatical structures. We ensure that students continue to widen their vocabulary and teach them to be even more accurate and idiomatic in their spoken and written work. In particular, we will help them to develop their powers of analysis when writing an essay.
In the second year, all students must study a book and themes include topics such as immigration and law and order. There is also the opportunity for students to research a topic related to Spain or Spanish-speaking communities that is particularly interesting to them.
PROGRESSION ONTO YEAR 2
Progression to the second year of this A Level course will be dependent on having made satisfactory progress in the first year of the course, including achieving at least an E grade in a formal late spring assessment, as well as the maintenance of a good level of attendance and commitment throughout the year.
You will sit 3 papers:
Paper 1: Listening, Reading and Writing (translations) 50% of the A Level.
Paper 2: Writing (one book and one film) 20% of the A Level.
Paper 3: Speaking (discussion of a subtheme and presentation of an individual research project) 30% of the A Level.
Minimum Entry Criteria
Standard College entry requirements (as detailed on page 12 of the Prospectus) and a minimum of:
WHAT CAN I DO AFTER STUDYING A LEVEL SPANISH?
The A Level course forms a sound basis for studying Spanish at university and many students continue with it either as a single subject degree or in combination with another subject such as European Studies, Business Studies, Marketing, Law, Politics, History, etc. Some Spanish graduates use their language skills as translators, interpreters or teachers. Others embark on careers in areas ranging from banking to tourism.
Students who need extra support are invited to attend support classes/offered a second-year mentor. More able students will be issued with extension reading packs, and there may be the opportunity to attend extension classes.
There will be an opportunity to take part in a one-week language trip to Spain in the spring term and also the chance to take part in the Spanish Department charity trip to Paraguay and Argentina (Covid permitting).
The Modern Languages Department (MFL) also offers A Level courses in German, Italian and French, one-year GCSE courses in Italian and Spanish, possibly leading to an A Level course in the second year, and Additional Studies in Japanese, Chinese and Latin. We also offer many other enrichment opportunities such as the European Day of Languages and Christmas Carols in all languages.