The Removes & Fifths at Radley
The aim of the Spanish GCSE course is to provide a thorough basic knowledge of the world’s second most widely spoken language. It is an extension of the material first encountered in the Shell year with the majority of pupils attending five periods per cycle in the Remove and five in the Fifth Form. The most able linguists will be able to choose Spanish in another block with a provision of four periods per cycle in the two years to GCSE. This option is available only to the most gifted linguists, as the course is taught on one period per cycle less than option block 1. Boys who opt for Spanish in this option block are those who are taking German as well as Spanish at GCSE.
The emphasis is on effective communication and by the end of the course pupils should be able to cope confidently with a variety of situations such as staying with a family, eating out, making use of services and shops, as well as coping in an emergency or recounting a series of events successfully. In addition to the ability to speak and understand the language in context pupils are given a thorough grounding in its basic grammar. By the end of their third year of Spanish they should be able to read and understand fairly complicated extracts from newspapers, while the written coursework component of the exam means that they will be expected to write relatively sophisticated essays and both formal and informal letters in Spanish.
The course is not limited to the purely linguistic, however, as it is hoped that as they learn the language pupils will also start to develop an interest in the culture of Spain and Spanish America, a process that is reinforced by viewing documentaries both in Spanish and English and discussing contemporary issues in accordance with the “life in other countries” requirement of the syllabus. The aim here is not only to familiarise them with some of the topics which will be studied at A level but also to provide them with a general introduction to Hispanic culture.