German

Departmental approach to the curriculum

In MFL at Key Stage 3 we aim to develop literacy through the ability to use language effectively for purposes of practical communication; to offer insights into the culture and civilisation of countries where the language is spoken; to encourage positive attitudes to foreign language learning and to speakers of foreign languages as well as a sympathetic approach to other cultures and civilisations and to develop an awareness of the nature of language and language learning.

The MFL curriculum aims to develop students’ understanding of themselves socially and in the context of an international environment as well as provide enjoyment and intellectual stimulation.

All students are encouraged to form a sound base of the skills, language and attitudes required for further study and practical implementation as they move into Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 where the application of tenses and longer sentences, as well as more complex grammar, is crucial for success.


Long Term Curriculum Overviews

Year 7

When students arrive at Rickmansworth School they have had a variety of different experiences in relation to their learning of a Modern Foreign Language. Therefore, students are given the opportunity to learn both French and German in Year 7.  Having 3 lessons a fortnight in each language they gain an insight into the basic language and cultures of the target language countries before deciding which language they would like to study, in the majority of cases, until GCSE. There is also the option to continue with both languages with one language being studied in twilight sessions in years 8 & 9.

As well as being introduced to the basic topics and grammatical rules, students have the option to become involved in the Ricky MFL Bake-Off and the European Day of Languages, the aims of which are to raise awareness of:

  • Europe’s rich linguistic diversity, which must be preserved and enhanced;
  • the need to diversify the range of languages people learn (to include less widely used languages), which results in plurilingualism;
  • the need for people to develop some degree of proficiency in two languages or more to be able to play their full part in a globalised world.

Later in the year the Year 7 learn about the importance of languages in society through the MFL Factor Enrichment day which culminates in an evening of celebration in March each year.

Year 8

In Year 8 students who have opted to study German as their language build on their basic understanding of the key elements covered in year 7. This involves working on communicating in the past as well as the present tense and using a greater range of language to talk about their daily life.

The highlight of year 8 is the residential trip to Berlin, the capital of Germany. Students have the opportunity to visit the country, see the cultural differences as well as put the language they have learnt into practice; whether that be at the Christmas markets we visit or by communicating with students at the secondary school we visit in Spandau.

 

Year 9

In Year 9 students continue the development of their language skills. In Year 9 students focus on the ability to refer to 3 or more time frames and look at a far greater range of language to not only talk about themselves but also more social and topical issues such as the environment and homelessness. This provides a crucial springboard to study at Key Stage 4 and prepares the students for the demands of the GCSE course.

There is also an option to visit the BFI on the South-Bank in London for a study day on German film.

Year 10 and 11

We operate a pathway system with roughly 75% of the cohort being selected to continue with their Modern Foreign Language study.

We follow the AQA syllabus which continues to build on the premise that learning a language can bring many benefits. It is a syllabus which expands students' cultural knowledge whilst developing their language skills at the same time. Our KS3 curriculum prepares students for the demands of this course due to its spiralised nature.

Students study all of the following themes on which the assessments are based. 

  • Theme 1: Identity and culture
  • Theme 2: Local, national, international and global areas of interest
  • Theme 3: Current and future study and employment

GCSE German has a Foundation Tier (grades 1–5) and a Higher Tier (grades 4–9).

Students must take all four question papers at the same tier and all question papers must be taken in the same series.

Paper 1: Listening

  • What's assessed? - Understanding and responding to different types of spoken language 
  • How is it assessed? - Exam: 35 minutes (Foundation Tier), 45 minutes (Higher Tier)  
  • Section A – questions in English, to be answered in English or non-verbally 
  • Section B – questions in German, to be answered in German or non-verbally 

Paper 2: Speaking 

  • What's assessed? - Communicating and interacting effectively in speech for a variety of purposes
  • How it's assessed • Non-exam assessment 
  • Role-play – 15 marks ( (2 minutes at Foundation Tier; 2 minutes at Higher Tier)
  • Photo card – 15 marks (2 minutes at Foundation Tier; 3 minutes at Higher Tier) 
  • General conversation – 30 marks (3–5 minutes at Foundation Tier; 5–7 minutes at Higher Tier)

Paper 3: Reading

  • What's assessed? - Understanding and responding to different types of written language 
  • How is it assessed? • Written exam: 45 minutes (Foundation Tier), 1 hour (Higher Tier) 
  • Section A – questions in English, to be answered in English or non-verbally 
  • Section B – questions in German, to be answered in German or non-verbally 
  • Section C – translation from German into English (a minimum of 35 words at Foundation Tier and 50 words at Higher Tier) 

Paper 4: Writing

  • What's assessed? -Communicating effectively in writing for a variety of purposes 
  • How is it assessed? • Written exam: 1 hour (Foundation Tier), 1 hour 15 minutes (Higher Tier) Foundation Tier
  • Question 1 – message (student produces four sentences in response to a photo)
  • Question 2 – short passage (student writes a piece of continuous text in response to four brief bullet points, approximately 40 words in total)
  • Question 3 – translation from English into German (minimum 35 words)
  • Question 4 – structured writing task (student responds to four compulsory detailed bullet points, producing approximately 90 words in total) – there is a choice from two questions

Higher Tier

  • Question 1 – structured writing task (student responds to four compulsory detailed bullet points, producing approximately 90 words in total) – there is a choice from two questions
  • Question 2 – open-ended writing task (student responds to two compulsory detailed bullet points, producing approximately 150 words in total) – there is a choice from two questions
  • Question 3 – translation from English into German (minimum 50 words)

Alongside this there is a further residential trip in year 10 which has in the past seen students visit either the Rhineland or Berlin. We also support the students through a selection of extra drop-ins, booster sessions and Spring Revision Workshops.

Year 12 and 13

We have also chosen the AQA syllabus for advanced level study in German. The syllabus enables students to develop their linguistic skills alongside their understanding of the culture and society of the countries where German is spoken.

There is a broad area of study, with prescribed aspects for closer examination. Students study technological and social change, looking at the multicultural nature of German-speaking society. They study highlights of German-speaking artistic culture, including art and architecture, and will learn how Germany's political landscape was formed. Students explore the influence of the past on present-day German-speaking communities.

Throughout their studies, they will learn the language in the context of German-speaking countries and the issues and influences which have shaped them. Students will study Goodbye Lenin! (film) and Der Besuch der alten Dame (text) and will have the opportunity to carry out independent research on an area of their choice. Assessment tasks will be varied and cover listening, speaking, reading and writing skills.

Students cover the following themes:

  1. Social issues and trends
  2. Political and artistic culture  
  3. Grammar 
  4. Works: a literary text and a film

Paper 1: Listening, reading and writing

  • What's assessed?  - Aspects of German-speaking society • Artistic culture in the German-speaking world • Multiculturalism in German-speaking society • Aspects of political life in German-speaking society • Grammar 
  • How is it assessed? - Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes - 50% of A-level  

Questions:

Listening and responding to spoken passages from a range of contexts and sources covering different registers and adapted as necessary. Material will include complex factual and abstract content and questions will target main points, gist and detail. Studio recordings will be used and students will have individual control of the recording. All questions are in German, to be answered with non-verbal responses or in German  

Reading and responding to a variety of texts written for different purposes, drawn from a range of authentic sources and adapted as necessary. Material will include complex factual and abstract content and questions will target main points, gist and detail. All questions are in German, to be answered with non-verbal responses or in German

  • Translation into English; a passage of minimum 100 words
  • Translation into German; a passage of minimum 100 words

Paper 2: Writing 

  • What is assessed? - One text and one film from the list set in the specification • Grammar 
  • How is it assessed?  Written exam: 2 hours - 20% of A-level 

Questions:

One question in German on a set text from a choice of two questions and one question in German on a set film from a choice of two questions. All questions will require a critical appreciation of the concepts and issues covered in the work and a critical and analytical response to features such as the form and the technique of presentation, as appropriate to the work studied. Students are advised to write approximately 300 words per essay.


Paper 3: Speaking 

  • What is assessed? - Individual research project • One of four themes ie Aspects of German-speaking society or Artistic culture in the German-speaking world or Multiculturalism in German-speaking society or Aspects of political life in German-speaking society.
  • How is it assessed? - Oral exam: 21–23 minutes (including 5 minutes preparation time) 30% of A-level 

Questions :

  • Discussion of a sub-theme with the discussion based on a stimulus card (5–6 minutes). The student studies the card for 5 minutes at the start of the test
  • Presentation (2 minutes) and discussion (9–10 minutes) of individual research project
  • No access to a dictionary during the assessment (including 5 minutes preparation). 

Students are encouraged to visit the target language country either independently or through an organised work experience programme. Students are also encouraged to read authentic texts as well as watch films and other series on platforms such as Netflix.

'The Big Picture' Curriculum Map

'The Big Picture' Curriculum Map

This document will provide a visual overview of the department's curriculum from Key Stages 3 to 5. This is in a student-friendly format to support them in their understanding the of the department's curriculum. 

Assessment

Department Assessment Matrix

This document will provide an overview for assessment for Key Stages 3, 4 and 5.

 

Key Stage 3 Judgement Descriptors

This document will give you an overview of the criteria for Emerging, Developing, Secure and Mastery judgements at KS3 for this subject.

How can you help your child to succeed in German?

Independent study outside of lessons is a crucial element of learning a modern foreign language which will improve attainment and ensure students are making good progress. As a parent, you may or may not have any understanding of the German language.  However, NO language knowledge is necessary! 

Students will be expected to learn new vocabulary on a regular basis and parents can encourage study of the language and where it can take young people as well as showing an interest in the topics of study. Testing your son or daughter on the words/phrases can be really helpful and give you a real indication of how they are getting on. The department is committed to providing opportunities for students to experience the language abroad and practise their new language skills. A range of educational visits are offered and you will receive details of these throughout the academic year.

Helpful websites and further information

Please find below some websites & resources which students should be using at home or in their free time. We recommend a number of online resources to help students with their independent learning and consolidation of material encountered in lessons. In addition to this online platforms such as Netflix.  Amazon Prime, ALL4 and YouTube all provide access to series/films/clips in the foreign language.


KS3

Linguascope(FREE subscriber app also available on iOS [iPad], Android [tablet]) The department subscribes to this website which is a really helpful and fun way to revise vocabulary through different games and activities, sorted by topic. Elementary is aimed at 6-12 year olds, Beginner is aimed at 9-14 and Intermediate is aimed at ages 13-16.

Students are given the username and password.

Quizlet(also available as an app on iOS, Android)

This website enables students to create flashcards to revise vocabulary on a computer and on smartphones/ tablets. They can access vocabulary lists created by the department, by other schools and they are able to make their own lists. Quizlet features games, activities and tests to enable students to practise and see their progress.

Languages OnlineThis is a useful website created by teachers which allow students to practise both vocabulary and grammar – this is particularly useful for students struggling with tenses

BBC Bitesize (French & German)A range of activities and videos to practice reading, listening, speaking and writing at KS3 and KS4.

Gut! (German)

A range of resources and activities covering the KS3, KS4 and KS5 topics. These are available freely after 4 pm weekdays and at weekends.

LyricsTraining

LyricsTraining is an easy and fun way to learn and improve foreign languages skills, through music videos and the lyrics of your favourite songs.

Word Reference(also available as an app on iOS and Android)

This is a useful reliable online dictionary which is also a verb conjugator. This is NOT a translator.


KS4

Linguascope(FREE subscriber app also available on iOS [iPad], Android [tablet]) The department subscribes to this website which is a really helpful and fun way to revise vocabulary through different games and activities, sorted by topic. Elementary is aimed at 6-12-year-olds, Beginner is aimed at 9-14 and Intermediate is aimed at ages 13-16.

Students are given the username and password.

Quizlet(also available as an app on iOS, Android)

This website enables students to create flashcards to revise vocabulary on a computer and on smartphones/ tablets. They can access vocabulary lists created by the department, by other schools and they are able to make their own lists. Quizlet features games, activities and tests to enable students to practise and see their progress.

This resource works at its best when students have a free account and ensure they are logged in whenever they use it as this logs their progress.

Languages OnlineThis is a useful website created by teachers which allow students to practise both vocabulary and grammar – this is particularly useful for students struggling with tenses.

This Is LanguageThis is a website we subscribe to for our KS4 students and for which they will be given log-in details. It contains authentic language videos, interactive exercises and awesome games for MFL learning.

 

BBC Bitesize (French & German)A range of activities and videos to practice reading, listening, speaking and writing at KS3 and KS4.

Gut! (German)A range of resources and activities covering the KS3, KS4 and KS5 topics. These are available freely after 4 pm weekdays and at weekends.

LyricsTrainingLyrics Training is an easy and fun way to learn and improve foreign languages skills, through the music videos and the lyrics of your favourite songs.

News In Slow GermanA website which allows students to listen to a round-up of the weeks’ news at a slower pace.

Blinde KuhA website and search engine for German children.

Word Reference(also available as an app on iOS and Android)

This is a useful reliable online dictionary which is also a verb conjugator. This is NOT a translator.


KS5

Quizlet (also available as an app on iOS, Android)

This website enables students to create flashcards to revise vocabulary on a computer and on smartphones/ tablets. They can access vocabulary lists created by the department, by other schools and they are able to make their own lists. Quizlet features games, activities and tests to enable students to practise and see their progress.

This resource works at its best when students have a free account and ensure they are logged in whenever they use it as this logs their progress

Languages OnlineThis is a useful website created by teachers which allow students to practise both vocabulary and grammar – this is particularly useful for students struggling with tenses

Gut! (German)A range of resources and activities covering the KS3, KS4 and KS5 topics. These are available freely after 4pm weekdays and at weekends.

LyricsTrainingLyrics Training is an easy and fun way to learn and improve foreign languages skills, through the music videos and the lyrics of your favourite songs.

News In Slow GermanA website which allows students to listen to a round-up of the weeks’ news at a slower pace.

Blinde Kuh DeA website and search engine for German children.

Word Reference(also available as an app on iOS and Android)

This is a useful reliable online dictionary which is also a verb conjugator. This is NOT a translator.

GermanThis is a free online resource made for those looking to start out at the very beginning and for advanced learners that want to reach fluency and perfection.

DWNews, off-beat stories and analysis of German and international affairs.

Goethe InstitutThe Goethe-Institut is the cultural institute of the Federal Republic of Germany with a global reach. They promote knowledge of German abroad, foster international cultural cooperation and convey a comprehensive image of contemporary Germany. Through their library, website and social media they provide up-to-date information on contemporary Germany.