Pupils will learn three modern languages whilst at Immanuel College: French, Modern Hebrew and Spanish. Lessons in the Modern Language Faculty are fast-paced and interactive, using a variety of authentic resources. There is a significant emphasis on teaching in the language itself and pupils are encouraged to respond accordingly! Modern Hebrew is taught as a special language which connects Jewish people everywhere. It equips pupils with a vital set of communication skills which enable them to extend their understanding and appreciation of Israeli way of life and culture.
In Year 7 pupils learn French and Modern Hebrew. French is taught in mixed-ability sets and Modern Hebrew is taught in ability groupings. In Year 8 pupils continue to study both French and Modern Hebrew with French also being taught in ability sets, determined by their results at the end of each End of Unit test as well as their results in the end of Year 7 examination. Spanish is introduced in Year 8 and is taught, at the outset, according to pupils’ French sets. Movement up or down thereafter is dependent upon ongoing assessment, homework and the results of regular testing. In Years 7-9 the emphasis is on encouraging pupils to gain excellent language skills and on building linguistic confidence.
For GCSE, most of our pupils study at least one language, with significant numbers opting to study two. Pupils have four periods per week. By the end of Year 11 our aim is that pupils will be able to use their language effectively for practical communication, have some insight into the culture and civilisation of the countries of their chosen language(s), including the Jewish dimension, and will derive pleasure from their exposure to a variety of authentic resources, including literary extracts, film clips and short films, magazines and newspapers. All three languages follow the AQA GCSE course. The examinations, which are all taken at the end of Year 11, are divided equally between the four skills: Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing.
In the Modern Languages Department at Immanuel College we pride ourselves on the fact that around 20% of our pupils in the Sixth Form take a language at A level, which is well above the national average. At Key Stage 5 our aim is for our students to learn to collect, analyse and exchange information, ideas and attitudes through the medium of the language as well as to develop an interest in the contemporary culture of the countries in which their chosen language is spoken. Students are encouraged to undertake independent study and are regularly required to discuss the news or to present topics of interest in class. Students at Key Stage 5 will study in much smaller sets and will have eight lessons per week which are divided between two teachers. In French and Spanish students also have the opportunity to work with our language assistants, who provide conversation sessions on a weekly basis.
The extra-curricular life of the Modern Languages faculty is very rich. We have links with schools in France, Spain and Israel and we offer penfriend exchanges for some pupils in Years 7, 8 and 9. In Year 8 all pupils go on an educational trip to France and spend several days immersed in the language and culture. Year 9 students all take part in the Immanuel College Israel Trip, where they have the opportunity to put into practice the Hebrew that they have learnt. In Year 10 pupils studying French and Spanish have the opportunity to go on a 4-day educational, cultural and social trip to either Strasbourg or Madrid, where they can make use of the language that they have learnt as well to discover more about the fascinating culture of the countries. We also have links in France and Spain for work experience for our Sixth Form students.
We have a very popular Modern Languages Club run with the able assistance of our Sixth Form linguists; as well as an extremely well-attended Israel Society which regularly offers a high calibre of speakers on a range of Israel-linked topics, including politics, history and art. A more recent addition to our extra-curricular activities is Omniglot, a linguistics club offering pupils the chance to discover a whole wealth of different languages. Our first cohort were entered into the UK Linguistics Olympiad and all achieved a Bronze award. The highlight of the year in the Modern Languages faculty is our Focus Week, during which we encourage pupils, and staff, to greet each other in a variety of languages! Key Stage 3 pupils are treated to a week of language-based and cultural activities, such as Flamenco dancing or a French play and we invite a range of speakers to talk to students in Key Stages 4 and 5; past speakers have included a Premier League football interpreter, an international lawyer, a television producer and a CEO of ebay.