Modern Foreign Languages

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The limits of my language are the limits of my world. Ludwig Wittgenstein

The ability to communicate in at least one foreign language is becoming ever more essential in a fast-changing, global society.

The Modern Foreign Language (MFL) Department aims to enthuse students, not only with the passion for the challenges and academic rigour of learning a new skill, but also with an appreciation for the different cultures and opportunities available to speakers of more than one language. Recent studies have highlighted that universities and employers value linguists extremely highly, and the Department aims to show each student that his time spent honing his linguistic competence and learning about new places and people is a sound investment in his future.

Languages in the Sixth Form are intended to support students as they develop into confident young men, and to combine their existing academic skills with other competences, which it is hoped will serve them well in their future.

In Sixth Form, the Department follows the new A Level specification in both French and Spanish, which allows staff to bring current world affairs into the classroom and tailor more of the learning towards students’ other interests and skills. As well as a focus on technical accuracy and improved fluency, the course also includes the opportunity to study plays, films, literature, current affairs and the historical aspects of the French and Spanish speaking worlds. Contemporary news items are linked to the various units of the course, so that issues can be explored and discovered more effectively, and students’ other study skills are combined with their language learning to prepare them for further study and the world of work.

The Department believes that effective classroom learning should be combined with opportunities for students to apply what they have developed in school in a foreign country. The Department works with Foreign Language Assistants in the Sixth Form to ensure that students develop a high standard of written and spoken communication with native speakers, and also offers them as many opportunities as possible to visit the countries in which their languages are spoken. Recent trips have included periods of work experience in France and Spain and a trip to Paris to see a performance of a play by Molière.