Our approach to A level German is rooted in an understanding of what makes Germany tick today. We study many aspects of modern German society: from the socio-political, including immigration and racism, to the cultural, including literature and film. Through their appreciation of what it is to be German, students develop the ability to think in a non-Anglophone way and to connect effectively with Germans on many levels, in addition to becoming competent linguists.
Studying German at AS and A level allows students to enrich their command of the spoken and written language to a significant degree of sophistication. Students’ understanding of an increasingly widening range of language develops as does a greater awareness of cultural differences, nuances and similarities. That said, taking German at A level is not solely about learning a language – it is a chance to develop intellectual skills in a challenging and rewarding environment.
Students have a weekly lesson with the Language Assistant to build their confidence in their spoken German. These intensive lessons are invaluable in helping them develop fluency and the ability to debate and defend their point of view confidently, and to prepare for the oral exam.
Students who study German in the Sixth Form often go on to read German at university, either as the chief subject of their degree or as a valuable subsidiary component.
- Learning journey - Lower Sixth
The syllabus covers the topics relating to the AS course:
- Aspects of German-speaking society: the changing role of the family; the digital world; youth culture
- Artistic culture in the German-speaking world: festivals and traditions; art and architecture; Berlin as a cultural city
- Learning journey - Upper Sixth
In the Upper Sixth we continue to cover to work on developing the content of the AS examination. Students also study a film by a German director. For those students wishing to take the full A level qualification (as a subsidised extra-curricular option), additional lessons will be available to cover the extra topic areas:
- Multiculturalism in German-speaking society
- Aspects of political life in the German-speaking world
- Furthermore, as part of the A level oral examination preparation, students will undertake an Individual Research Project, the aim of which is to develop research skills. They identify a subject or a key question which is of interest to them and which relates to a country or countries where German is spoken. They select relevant information in German from a range of sources including the internet.
- Students will demonstrate their ability to initiate and conduct individual research by analysing and summarising their findings, in order to present and discuss them in the speaking assessment. They start to plan the project towards the end of the Lower Sixth.
- Providing stretch
Sixth formers go to either Vienna or Berlin for a study tour. As well as an excellent opportunity to gain greater confidence communicating in German, it provides a chance to study the history and culture of these remarkable cities. The study of Vienna and Berlin links in directly with aspects of the AS and A level courses.
Students have benefitted from seminars led by visiting speakers from KCL, UCL, Cambridge and the Goethe Institute on topics from Nazi Cinema to modern German literature.
We encourage students to enter the Oxford University German Olympiad. In recent years we have had students from The Perse who have been winners and runners up in different categories.
Sixth form students of German also take part in the Eastern Region MFL debating competition, held at The Perse.
- Beyond the classroom
During the year we organise cultural talks, competitions, debates, and seminars at lunchtime and after school. We also have a strong link with the Goethe Institut in London.
Students can keep up with news from Germany by browsing news magazine Spiegel Online, borrow a German film on DVD, or enjoy a novel from the extensive German language collection in our library. We encourage wide reading to stimulate intellectual curiosity and develop new interests, understanding and skills. Students of German are encouraged to consider delving into an aspect of German which they may not have previously considered.
- German at university
We work 1:1 with students to create a reading and viewing programme and to offer support with all aspects of the subject. This is particularly important and useful for those wishing to study German at university, for whom we also provide personal support to develop a strong application.