A Level French

Head of Modern Languages: Mrs H Parker
Being able to converse in a foreign language is a valuable asset; it opens up international study and work opportunities, signals a well-educated person and makes life, including holidays, very enjoyable too. The A Level course aims to develop high level practical language skills as well as knowledge and understanding of French culture. Studying a language also fosters a range of transferable skills such as communication skills, critical thinking, resourcefulness and creativity, as well as linguistic, cultural and cognitive flexibility.

At A Level, students will improve their language skills, develop their understanding of French culture, and study at least one book and either a second book or a film. They will also complete an independent research project for which they will choose an aspect of France or French culture which interests them. By the end of the A Level course, students will be able to have a conversation and write about a range of topics. Throughout the Sixth Form they will have a weekly lesson with the French Language Assistant to develop their speaking skills.

Course content
Examination board: AQA

– Themes relating to French society and culture, including social and political topics and intellectual and artistic culture
– Either two set texts or one book and one film, enabling students to give an analytical appreciation of the plot, themes and characters as well as technical or stylistic features
– Advanced language skills, enabling them to respond to authentic written and spoken texts, translate and communicate their views in speaking and writing
– Independent research project relating to France or French-speaking countries

The final examinations will include listening and reading comprehensions, translation into and out of French, essays in French about the book(s) and film studied and a speaking test.

We look for opportunities to take students to exhibitions, plays and films to broaden their knowledge of French culture. Competitions and debates with other schools make the languages come to life to an even greater extent. We also encourage students to find out about other possibilities. Film Club in school also gives a chance to see foreign films. Students are encouraged to arrange visits to France and are given details of work experience possibilities.

University and beyond
A number of our students go on to study a language at university, either on its own or in combination with another language or a different subject. Combinations can include a language and business, a language and history, a language and law and many more. Language degree courses also vary widely from traditional courses involving serious study of literature to courses which are more language-based. The evidence is that employers value graduates with language skills and employment rates among recent languages graduates are high. Sydenham High students are well prepared in the Sixth Form to take on the challenge of a degree course, and we offer additional preparation sessions for those interested in applying to Oxford or Cambridge.

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