Aim of the course
Our approach to AS level German and Goethe Zertifikat (GZ) is rooted in an understanding of what makes Germany tick today. 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 level, in combination with GZ, should be seen as complementary. While the AS level focuses on cultural and historical topics, the GZ is a skills-based course focusing on communication and inter-cultural awareness. It 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.
The syllabus covers the topics relating to the AS and GZ courses:
- 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
In the Upper Sixth, we continue to work on developing the content of the AS examination. Students also explore a film by a German director. For those wishing to take the full A level qualification, additional lessons will be available to cover the extra topic areas:
- Multiculturalism in German-speaking society
- Germany and the EU
- Young people and politics
- The reunification of Germany and its consequences
- Literature classes focusing on one novel. We currently study Der Vorleser by Bernhard Schlink
- As part of A level oral examination preparation, students will undertake an individual research project on a topic relating to a German-speaking country. This forms two-thirds of the oral assessment, during which students discuss their findings with their teacher-examiner. This exam component is an excellent way to develop essential evaluative and research skills.
Students have a weekly lesson with the language assistant to build 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.
German is also offered as a full A level under the extra-curricular programme provision. However, lessons usually fall within the normal school day timetable.
Students 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 benefited from seminars led by visiting speakers from King’s College London, University College London, the University of Cambridge and the Goethe-Institut.
We encourage students to enter the University of Oxford German Olympiad. In recent years we have had students from The Perse who have been winners and runners-up in different categories. Students also take part in the Eastern Region Modern Foreign Languages debating competition, held at The Perse.
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.
It is anticipated students would sit the GZ qualification at the end of the Lower Sixth, while the AS level would be sat in the Upper Sixth.
AS level – Two written papers and an oral exam at the end of the Upper Sixth.
GZ – Separate oral, listening, reading and writing papers in May of the Lower Sixth. All exams are taken at the Goethe-Institut in London.
A level – Two written papers and an oral exam at the end of the Upper Sixth. Two-thirds of the oral exam incorporates discussion of an individual research project carried out during the Upper Sixth.