Why learn German?
German is the most frequently spoken language in Central Europe with around 100 million native speakers. It’s taught in countries around the world and can also help you to develop your English language skills - as English and German are both Germanic languages with lots of crossover.
There are large numbers of German firms with subsidiary offices in the UK, e.g. BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen, Haribo, Adidas, Nivea, Siemens, Playmobil, Staedler, Faber-Castell, Lufthansa, T-Mobile, Bosch, Miele and so on. They are all crying out for English people with German language skills. A knowledge of German is therefore important in the world of business, especially as Germany has the largest and most thriving economy in Europe.
German at Key Stage 3
German is offered from Year 7 and is taught in a very lively and communicative way. The emphasis throughout Key Stage 3 is on practical language learning with plenty of activities which enable students to use their language skills.
These include roleplay, pair work, group work, short presentations, songs, plays, debates, discussions and the use of Chromebooks. We read authentic magazines, watch German films and generally encourage an interest in the cultural background of the German-speaking world, especially at Christmas and Easter when we celebrate German traditions. Our language assistants, who come from all parts of the German-speaking world, contribute enormously to our teaching and offer personalised support to students.
We also emphasise cultural elements in our teaching. The girls have the opportunity to write to a German pen friend of the same age in Germany. Apart from being fun, this gives the girls the chance to practise their German.
We also offer a German club in which the girls deepen their cultural experience about Germany. In the run up to Christmas, girls from all year groups taste and make German food such as decorating gingerbread biscuits. They also sing traditional German carols and find out about German Christmas traditions. The pupils also get the opportunity to join a German Drama Club where they set up and perform popular Brothers Grimm fairy tales such as ‘The princess and the frog’. In an assembly, the chosen play will be performed in German to the girls’ own year group.
Typical themes covered in Key Stage 3 (Years 7 to 9) are: personal details, family, pets, home town, school, food, clothes, hobbies and free time, health, environment and holidays.
We currently follow the Edexcel IGCSE. This is a linear course and all examinations take place at the end of Year 11. Students cover a range of topics including home and abroad, education and employment, the modern world and health and fitness. Students develop their language skills, and knowledge of grammar and vocabulary over the 2 year course. There are 4 examinations at the end of Year 11 in all the skill areas: Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing and each skill is worth 25%.
The study of Modern Foreign Languages is really thriving at Sheffield Girls'. We're pleased to consistently achieve some of the best GCSE results in the school and the GDST network.
Every year, our students learning German have the opportunity to take part in a trip to Germany to practise their language skills. In Years 8 and 9, we organise a trip to the Rhineland to immerse ourselves in German culture. We go to Cologne to visit the famous Cathedral, the Roman-Germanic Museum and the Chocolate Museum. We make a stop at the Haribo Outlet in Bonn too. This trip also takes us to Trier which is Germany’s oldest city with lots of well-preserved Roman remains. Finally, we explore the River Rhine and its surrounding villages and castles such as the Marksburg.
For older students (Years 10-13) we offer a visit to Berlin where students are able to experience the recent history and changes in Germany at first hand. Berlin is one of the most visited cities in Europe. More than 20 years after reunification, it is still changing all the time. This vibrant city offers something for everyone as it’s full of history and museums, as well as art, culture, shopping and greenery to explore. The girls experience four fun-packed days that cater for all interests. The sights that we visit include the Reichstag Dome (planned by Sir Norman Foster), remains of the Berlin Wall (known as the “Eastside Gallery”), the Brandenburg Gate, the Jewish Museum as well as a boat tour of the River Spree.
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