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Hallo und herzlich Willkommen!
The German department at Highworth places immense importance upon building confidence so that all our students are prepared to ‘have a go’ and will willingly communicate when in German speaking countries.
We provide an insight into the cultures of Germany, Austria and Switzerland and hereby aim to instil in all our students a passion and enthusiasm for languages and other countries. We also aim to enable students a deeper understanding of their own language through the study of German.
Our department consists of four animated and caring teachers, who have a diverse and creative approach to teaching and learning. The department is well resourced with up-to-date textbooks, ICT and multimedia facilities and has well established links with schools in Germany.
Head of Department
Miss S Gerstlauer
Mrs D Albert
Mr D Beer
Ms L Baxter
Key Stage 3
In Year 7, students will have a taste of two languages, for which they will have indicated a preference before starting Highworth.
During Year 7, a variety of topics will be covered in a fun and accessible way, to enable students to communicate basic information, and to lay the foundations for further study. The topics we aim to cover are: Personal Information; School life; Family and Friends; and Freetime.
We use a combination of resources and dip in and out of textbooks and real-life materials.
At the end of Year 7, students will be asked to indicate a preference of language they wish to study for GCSE.
Please click here for the Year 7 German units assessment grids:
During Year 8, we build upon the topics covered in Year 7 and begin to add more complex grammatical structures to encourage students to develop their responses with variety and sophistication.
The topics we aim to cover during the year are: House and Home; My town; Food and Shopping; After School; and Holidays. We endeavour to include greater insight into German culture in all the topic areas studied.
Please click here for the Year 8 German units assessment grids:
Assessment, Marking and Feedback
In Years 7 and 8, students will largely complete class and homework in exercise books, or produce display work on paper. Homework and written tasks will be marked and accompanied by a comment as necessary. For extended pieces of writing, a formative comment will be accompanied by a W, M or E, in line with the departmental assessment grids. Exceptional pieces of work will be rewarded with Positive Events as appropriate. We will endeavour to return corrected work within two weeks and where work is not completed to our expectations, students will be given an opportunity to review their work to achieve a level which better reflects their potential. Vocabulary tests, listening and reading exercises completed in class will be given a raw mark, and we embrace a variety of assessment techniques, including teacher, peer and self-assessment.
At the end of each unit of work, students will be assessed in one or more of the skill areas to monitor their learning journey. Assessments will be based on the accompanying assessment grids and key questions. German will be examined as part of the End of Year exams and all skills will be examined at this time.
Key Stage 4
At the start of Year 9, students will start their GCSE courses. The benefits of continued language study are numerous, and the presence of a language at GCSE and A Level is looked upon very favourable by Higher Education establishments.
During the three year GCSE course, students consolidate the material they acquired in Years 7 and 8, and we aim to develop their learning by providing challenging materials and activities. The same topic areas must be covered, but they are approached at a much higher level and students are expected to take a more independent approach to their learning.
We use a range of materials during the GCSE course; we primarily use the textbook ‘Stimmt!’ to guide students through their learning. We also use the textbook Echo 4 rot HIGHER to supplement exercises and online resources such as www.linguascope.co.uk, www.klar.co.uk and www.vocabexpress.com .
Students follow the AQA GCSE German course and cover the following topics:
Theme 1 – Identity and Culture Me
- My Family and Friends
- Free Time Activities
Theme 2 – Local, National, International and Global Areas of Interest
- Home, Town, Neighbourhood and Region
- Social Issues
- Global Issues
- Travel and Tourism
Theme 3 – Current and Future Study and Employment
- My Studies
- Life at School/College
- Education Post-16
- Jobs, Career Choices and Ambitions
Assessment, Marking and Feedback
In Years 9 -11, students will take greater responsibility for their note making, and will be given regular homework in order to adequately prepare them for the rigours of the GSCE examination. Vocabulary tests, reading and listening exercises completed in class will be given a raw mark. Shorter written tasks will be corrected and accompanied with a comment, advising on steps for progression. Extended written tasks will be corrected, marked using the corresponding GCSE mark scheme, as appropriate, and accompanied with a target to enable access to the higher grades. Students will be given their own copies of the GCSE mark schemes, to which they are regularly encouraged to make reference. Occasionally, oral feedback may be given on an individual basis. We wholly support the principles of Assessment for Learning and continually seek opportunities to include self and peer-assessment and encourage students to reflect on their targets and review their own progress. Positive events will be awarded as appropriate and for exceptional performance.
At the end of Year 11, students will be assessed as follows.
- Speaking 25%: Conducted with teacher, includes role play, photo card and general conversation
- Listening paper:25%
- Reading paper: 25% Includes translation from German into English
- Writing 25%: Includes translation from English into German
Please click here for the AQA GCSE German specification
Please click here for the AQA GCSE German mark schemes
At A Level, students will follow the Edexcel specification which seeks to build upon the language taught at GCSE and produce well rounded linguists with a good understanding of contemporary German culture and society.
The topics taught at A Level are:
- Development of German society: Environment; education; world of work
- Political and artistic culture in the German speaking world: Music; media; festivals and traditions
- Immigration and the multi-cultural German society: Integration and multiculturalism; economic and social effects of immigration
- German reunification: Society before and after the reunification
Alongside these themes, we will also be studying some works of German literature and film. We are currently studying Dürrenmatt’s Der Besuch der alten Dame and Kafka’s Die Verwandlung and Sönke Wortmann’s Das Wunder von Bern.
There are three examined units that comprise the A Level qualification and the four skills are assessed as follows:
- Unit 1: Listening, reading and translation (1 hour 50 minutes- 40%): Short tasks testing receptive skills
- Unit 2: Writing (2 hour 40 minutes - 30%): Translation and essay writing skills, focusing on two works of German literature and/or film
- Unit 3: Speaking (20 minutes- 30%): Responding to questions on the above themes and an independent research project on a topic relevant to a German speaking country
In order to prepare students for their speaking examinations, they will have weekly 1:1 sessions with our Foreign Language Assistant. She/He will discuss current affairs with them, talk about cultural differences and help improve general pronunciation and fluency!
Assessment, Marking and Feedback
In the Sixth Form, students will be assessed using the corresponding A Level mark scheme, and all work will be corrected and targets will be set as appropriate. Oral feedback will also be given regularly, as we find these 1:1 discussions lead to a greater understanding of the demands at a higher level. Extended written work will be regularly set and returned within two weeks, and positive events will be awarded as appropriate.
Please click here for the Edexcel A Level German specification
Learning a language is not easy for everyone and requires a lot of commitment and frequent practice; rather than leaving work to the last minute, things are much more effective split into smaller chunks and revisited frequently over a longer period of time.
Successful students are prepared to go the extra mile, use their initiative and work independently to push themselves on. Try accessing some of the websites listed below to consolidate learning.
In preparation for exams, why not do some past papers? You can download papers and specimen papers on the links below.
A variety of revision techniques sometimes helps. Practise with your family or with a friend! Try and teach them the vocabulary, as it’s believed you remember even more of what you teach someone else.
Keep going back over your notes- refreshing topics you did a few months ago will keep the material fresh in your mind.
Preparation for the Oral and Written examinations is the key to success. Practise using ‘mind maps’ to help you produce complex language spontaneously and effectively. Ask your teacher for tips on how to construct these.
Please click here for the AQA GCSE German specimen and sample papers
Please click here for the Edexcel A Level German specimen and sample papers
Useful external links
The following sites are excellent for practising GCSE level vocabulary
At A Level, keeping abreast of current affairs and gathering a range of vocabulary is essential. We would recommend reading German news sites regularly. These two sites are quite accessible:
Watching the ‘Heute Express’ News summary is also a quick way of keeping up-to-date:
The langsam gesprochene Nachrichten is also an accessible way of gathering vocabulary on up-to-date issues:
To support research and finding out up-to-date information on German society, try accessing the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung: www.bpd.de
Careers and Alumni
The world is getting smaller and companies are increasingly searching for multilingual employees, as not everyone can speak English! You will be in a job market where you are competing with people from all over the world who speak several languages. Languages can take you anywhere and never have they been so important! It’s no longer just about being fluent in a foreign language, it is about having the confidence and skills to communicate with other members of the global community. People with language skills are highly thought of in the modern world. They stand out as talented and successful people, with broad and exciting horizons.
Here are just some of the career areas that learning a language can help you access:
- International Business and Marketing
- Science and Engineering
- International Finance and Banking
- Event Management and Catering
- Charity Work
- International and European Law
- International Property Sales and Development
- Interpreting and Translating
- Film and Music/Media
We have strong links with our German Department Alumni and love hearing about their exciting adventures after Highworth! We are often visited by ex-students who come and speak to our classes about the fantastic opportunities they have had since they started learning a language.
We have a good record of students accessing Oxbridge and Russell Group university courses for German and they share their words of wisdom with younger students as they embark on their language learning journey.
Words of Wisdom from past Highworth German students…
I would really recommend doing a language as part of a joint degree, as it provides the opportunities of both degree courses, whilst meaning that you only study the most interesting and fundamental parts of both. Furthermore, the skills learnt in both courses often complement each other, for example, studying German alongside Biology means that the essay writing skills I learn in German, help with understanding the most concise way to structure an argument in Biology. Studying a language is a really great way to increase employability, as not only does it demonstrate a repertoire of transferable skills, but it also shows the ability to interact with different cultures, something which is becoming increasingly essential in so many international businesses.
Despite this, the best reason to study a language as part of a joint degree is that it is really rewarding. You can see improvements with every piece of work and it provides the excuse to travel abroad as often as possible to practise what you have learnt!
Aoife Cantwell-Jones, 2015
For me, taking German for A Level was a no-brainer. I had developed a love for the language and culture during GCSEs and wanted to develop the skills I had already acquired. My A Level German class was a lot smaller in comparison to my other classes, which meant that lessons could be more interactive and supportive. What I particularly found helpful were the regular speaking practice sessions where I could practise speaking with the language assistant one-on-one in an informal environment. After completing my A Levels, I went to live in Berlin as an Au Pair. I thoroughly enjoyed being immersed in the culture, becoming friends with the native speakers and developing my language skills in a practical way. Although I study Biochemistry at University now, I have had the opportunity to continue learning German at a higher level at evening classes. Studying German and also spending time in Germany has vastly improved my communication skills and has given me invaluable experiences, which have helped me in my degree, my general social life and has been a great asset to my CV. I would highly recommend studying German as not only will you stand apart from your peers when applying for university or jobs, but it will also open up many doors to new opportunities such as working abroad and meeting new people.
Charlotte Tidd, 2013
"I was in two minds when deciding whether to take German onto A Level. On the one hand, I was not planning on studying a language at university. I wanted to (and did) study Mathematics, and with only 4 options every choice needed to count for that all important UCAS application! However, on the other hand, I enjoyed German and was pretty good at it. Luckily with a bit of persuading from my teachers I decided to take it, and I am so glad I did. I enjoyed studying German at A Level and building and perfecting upon something which I had been learning for 5 years, to not let it all go to waste was definitely a bonus! However, I don't think I really understand the value of learning a language at A Level until I started university.
Firstly, as clichéd as it sounds, it does immediately set you apart from others. It is the only A Level that really continues to add something to my life even today. Of course Biology and Chemistry are important (my other two A Levels) but as I studied Maths, I've never had any use for them since I left school whereas German is something that now adds to my skill set professionally and socially. I am confidently able to travel or converse with people from a whole other country in a way none of my friends can and it continues to impress!
In my second year at university, I did an internship at an Investment Bank and they needed someone to translate important German documents for them and guess who was the only person in a team of many 30-something-year olds to do that. That's right! I'd always heard that a language will help you in the world of work but never actually believed it until then. Many of my friends who learnt a language at A Level are now able to travel overseas with their work as well!
I just studied Spanish alongside my Maths course in my last year of university, and in just over a year can converse at a high level. Having studied one language already gives you great momentum for learning many more, should you want to!
So now, if I meet anyone thinking of what to take for A Level, I definitely recommend a language! It is different from most other subjects available in that it is a skill (and now for me a hobby!) for life. Being able to study a language in depth for 7 years is not an opportunity you will ever get again and it is something that will complement most of your subject combinations. My only regret is not having taken two languages for A Level!"
Leena Kang, 2012
Hi I’m Ailiés, I currently study Law and German Law on the LLB law with Magister at the University of Exeter. The course is unique in that you study the German legal system alongside your usual English law modules, whereas on most law courses you’d be studying German language and culture over German law. This may not be to everyone’s taste; however I feel that it’s a great way to challenge yourself and learn something new and unique. The course itself is a four-year course; you study the first 3 years in Exeter, taking a minimum of 3 English law modules alongside one compulsory German Law module. You will have one German lecture a week along with tutorials etc. the groups are very small (my course has only 8 people on it) so you get to know your fellow students and lecturers really well. You spend your 4th year at the Saarbrücken University in Germany. By the end of the 4 year course you are qualified to then go on and become a lawyer who can practise both English and German law, this making you incredibly attractive to a number of law firms and a lot more easily employable.
For me, studying a language at university, whichever way you do it, is something that should be considered by a lot more people. It opens you up to a much wider array of jobs and opportunities for the future, as well as giving the opportunity to travel, meet new people and see places you otherwise would never have known.
The LLB Law with Magister course at Exeter currently has grade requirements of AAA-AAB, so challenging but perfectly achievable for many Highworth students!
Good Luck everyone!
Ailiés Bryant, 2015
German was without a doubt my favourite subject at A Level. I still remember when I decided to drop it after year 12…and I cried. So I came to my senses and followed it through until I left for university. I am now doing Dentistry and you may think there is no direct use for my language skills but they have definitely helped me along the way, from adding an extra boost to my applications to giving me the confidence to travel - not knowing the native language is definitely a massive barrier to getting fully immersed in any culture. What’s more is that in MFL lessons, you don’t just learn a language; you study history, read literature, debate current affairs and actually get to know things that relate to the real world, rather than just memorising a textbook. I hear far too often "I wish I could speak another language" or "Oh I wish I hadn’t dropped Spanish/German". It really is an impressive skill. Don’t be that person with regrets!
Sarita Kang, 2013
I loved studying German at Highworth - the department were really supportive and made every effort to create a fun learning environment. As a student, I've met plenty of students from across Europe and it's been great to keep speaking other languages. It's also helped out loads in my studies - you'd be amazed how many German words find their way into music!
Sam Wilson, 2013
Trips and visits
We are keen to give students opportunities to visit Germany to practise their German and we currently offer two trips:
Year 8 Köln Christmas Market visit (December each year) - An inspiring one day trip to Cologne to experience the magical Christmas Markets. Preparations are already underway for our 2017 visit!
Year 9 and 12 Rheinland visit (June each year). On this fantastic trip, we stay in Boppard, a small village on the Rhine and visit our partner school in Bad Münstereifel to experience life in a German school. Preparations are already underway for our 2017 visit!
We have also been fortunate to be invited to take part in the Ashford Twinning Alliance visits to Bad Münstereifel and students in Year 13 have represented the Borough and given formal presentations.