Modern Foreign Languages
The Department’s aim is to help students of all abilities to use language effectively for the purpose of practical communication and in so doing to develop self-confidence and an awareness of how language works. We encourage students to gain insights into the culture and civilisation of other countries. We hope this will help develop positive attitudes to foreign language learning and to speakers of foreign languages. We aim to create a feeling of enjoyment and achievement in all students and help them acquire skills and language necessary for further study, whether it is for leisure or work.
At Cockermouth School we teach three modern foreign languages, French, German and Spanish. In Years 7, 8 and 9 students study two of the three languages and Spanish is offered as an option in Key Stage 4.
The department has nine members of staff and is located in the West Wing. We have six dedicated language teaching rooms, each with interactive SmartBoard and audio facilities. We also have access to Notebooks with internet connectivity and are well resourced with dictionaries, text books, magazines and mini-whiteboards.
Key Stage 3
We aim to build on the foundations of language learning laid at Key Stage 2, whether students continue with the same language or take up a new one. In Key Stage 3 we try to develop the breadth and depth of student's competence in listening, speaking, reading and writing, based on a sound foundation of core grammar and vocabulary. The languages curriculum should enable students to understand and communicate personal and factual information that goes beyound their immediate needs and interests, developing and justifying points of view in speech, writing, with increased spontaniety, independence and accuracy. The course will provide suitable preparation for further study. The focus of study in modern languages will be on practical communication. During the key stage we aim to develop knowledge of grammar and vocabulary as well as linguistic competence.
Key Stage 4
Languages are a popular option at GCSE and the curriculum builds on the Key Stage 3 study and prepares students for further study. Students develop their language skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing in a variety of contexts, such as Lifestyle, Leisure, Home and Environment and Work and Education.
Key Stage 5
A Level language study helps students develop confident, effective communication skills and a thorough understanding of the culture of countries and communities where the language is spoken. It develops an interest in, and enthusiasm for, language learning and encourages students to consider their study of the language in a broader context. AS Level topics include The Media, Popular Culture, Healthy Living and Family and Relationships. In Year 13 students study the Environment, Immigration, Racism and Topical Social Issues, as well as two cultural topics, such as a film, work of literature or a period of history.
Outside the Classroom
There are many opportunities to experience languages first-hand. In Year 8 there is a 4/5 day trip to France or Germany. There are long-established exchanges with schools in France and Germany and we have recently offered sixth form study visits to Spain. We run an annual language enrichment event with Manchester Metropolitan University, which uses language tasters and cultural activities in less widely taught languages to encourage the learning of languages generally. There are also revision or study trips to higher education institutions whenever possible.