Our Head of German is Mr P Delaney
We are extremely proud that German has a strong presence in the school, and it is a very popular language option. Maybe it’s learning incredibly long words or quirky sounds that sparks a fondness to the language amongst our pupils? Maybe they are attracted to its ‘learnability’, since German is easy to pronounce, spelled phonetically, and it’s not spoken at breakneck speed? Or maybe our community quite rightly realises that German is an important business language, irrespective of Brexit? Not least because if you master the German language, it opens the doors to live and work in countries with a higher standard of living and working conditions that we enjoy here in the UK. Solihull pupils have the opportunity to make real inroads into the German language, especially as they are stretched well beyond the basic syllabus from the outset by an experienced, dedicated and passionate team. If they continue to A Level, they will leave school with sufficient fluency to put German onto their CVs with confidence and pride.
Pupils can opt to take German from the beginning of the Shells (Year 8), after having started with Spanish in the Third Form (Year 7). We follow a curriculum based upon Stimmt 1 and Echo Express 2, although materials from other sources are also used to supplement the course.
Throughout the Lower School course, there are regular screenings of German-language films, and as the opportunity arises, we take time to incorporate relevant cultural content, such as history, festivals and traditions, and food.
We follow the AQA Specification and use the dedicated OUP textbook together with other suitable material to support the curriculum. All pupils are entered at Higher Tier.
Traditional classroom teaching is blended with digital learning, through subscriptions to ‘This Is Language’ and ‘Vocab Express’. Pupils therefore foster key independent learning skills and really take ownership of their German language development.
Help and support is always at hand with a weekly lunchtime clinic and GCSE pupils also benefit from sessions with our German language assistant.
We follow the AQA A Level syllabus, guided by the dedicated OUP textbook. However, the course is supplemented by material from other sources, such as the Goethe Institute, Deutsche Welle TV, the German language learners’ newspaper Presse und Sprache, and of course, articles taken directly from core German media sources.
Topics covered are wide ranging and relevant: the changing state of the family; festivals and traditions; modern technology; music, fashion and TV; Berlin culture; art and architecture; politics and the EU; the reunification; and immigration and racism.
Furthermore, the students undertake an independent research project (the subject of which they choose themselves), and the study of a literary work and a film. These are currently Der Besuch der alten Dame (Friedrich Dürrenmatt) and Goodbye Lenin.
Sixth Form German is quite a unique learning experience. Classes are small, which means that students get plenty of personalised support, and they have one full period a week of one-to-one speaking practice with the German language assistant.
Solihull’s German department is a member of the Oxford German Network. This provides us with university links, guest speakers and access to national competitions for those extra keen linguists. We also enter Fourths (Year 9) pupils into the Routes into Languages Translation Bee competition.
Each year, the majority of our Lower Fifth (Year 10) pupils participate in the long-established exchange programme with the Elisabethen Schule in Hofheim near Frankfurt. Staying for a week in a host family really boosts their language skills and most importantly, they form international friendships that can last for a lifetime.
The Sixth Form are invited to participate in a bi-annual Berlin trip. Berlin history and culture is now a core element of the A-Level course, and this trip includes educational tours (in German) of key buildings, monuments and museums. Since we fly out as a small group of Germanists, and the trip takes place during the run-up to Christmas when the streets of Berlin are filled with festive spirit, this is a real highlight of the A-Level course.