German

Overview

German has a long tradition of success at Eltham College, most of our A Level students go on to study it at university (including Oxbridge). Alongside its strong academic track record, it also aims to enthuse its students and foster in them a life-long enthusiasm for this sophisticated language.  German is the most commonly spoken first language in Europe with 95 million native speakers. It is an official language in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, and the South Tyrol region of Italy. In an ever-changing job market German is highly regarded; a British Council report placed German as the 2nd most sought-after language in industry. Germany remains the UK’s largest trading partner and has the 4th largest economy in the world and it is set to remain that way.

Studying the German language opens you up to a rich cultural heritage. Knowing German helps you to understand the works of Goethe and Schiller, Beethoven and Bach, Freud and Nietzsche; there’s something in it for everyone. Not forgetting that German is the 2nd language most commonly used in scientific papers. It is therefore an ideal complement that supports many other A level choices extremely well.

The German department is committed to maximising students’ potential and achievement by providing both a supportive and stimulating learning environment. Lessons often include close analysis of news articles or televised reports and class discussion is a key component of all lessons. These issues are further explored in each student’s one-to-one weekly lessons with the German assistant. We aim to provide our students with rich and varied vocabulary as well as a rigorous understanding of grammar.

Curriculum

At Eltham College we follow the AQA languages A level course. In the Lower Sixth, students will learn a range of topics about which they will already have considerable knowledge and opinions (family, digital world, youth culture) but also discover new topics about the German-speaking world,  for instance traditions, art and the capital Berlin. We will also watch and discuss a German film together: Good-bye Lenin! by Wolfgang Becker. Students will discuss these subjects and write essays about them.

In the Upper Sixth, things get more serious as we consider racism, politics, Germany’s role in the EU, immigration and historical topic of the German reunification. Students will also have the opportunity to study a book or play of your choosing (from the list provided by AQA). Past choices include ‘Die Verwandlung’ (Metamorphosis) by Kafka, and ‘Der Besuch der alten Dame’ by Dürrenmatt. Students will also be required to complete an Independent Research Topic for the oral exam, based on an area that interests them; past topic have included Bayern Munich’s unrivalled success, the role of car manufacturing on the German economy and Stuttgart 21.

Trips, activities and clubs

Beyond the curriculum, students are encouraged to delve deeper into German-speaking culture in order to achieve a well-rounded understanding of the countries and language. Visiting a German-speaking country also helps students gain a feel for the nature of German and encourages a more nuanced, idiomatic expression. Our finest linguists embrace these opportunities fully.

We are keen to arrange for our Year 11 and Sixth Form students to hear talks on various aspects of German culture and society and arrange cinema trips to either the Goethe Institute or the BFI.

The German department offers:

  • Modern and Classical Languages Society: this aims to enhance the curriculum by providing extension talks in a range of cultural and academic topics, usually provided by visiting speakers.
  • Oxbridge preparation: One-to-one study sessions and interview practice. There is also an annual visit to either Oxford or Cambridge to experience a taster day of lectures.
  • Trips: we offer an annual trip to either Berlin or Vienna where students will be able to make the put into practise the historical and cultural knowledge they have acquired over the A Level course.
  • Cinema and theatre trips.
  • The department has an extensive collection of recent German books DVDs. As well as the weighty, historical favourites, we have more light-hearted fare. Students are encouraged to watch or read these termly and to discuss them in class.

Staff

  • Ms C Franz MEd (Head of German)
  • Mr F Meier MA (Assistant Head – Head of Lower School)
  • Mrs Hazeldine (Language Assistant)
  • Ms S Hill BA