The Languages Faculty comprises English, Media, Drama and Modern Languages.
English, Drama & Media
There are five members of teaching staff in a well-resourced department. Significant investment has gone into a broad text base for the Broad General Education (S1–S3), featuring classic and modern texts, and into expansion of media resources. Where possible, students have an element of choice in texts studied, with an emphasis on contemporary and Scottish literature. Students are often involved in choosing the text(s) studied by the class and will participate in literacy circles and group discussion as part of their experience.
S1-3 courses are designed to lead students in reaching their full potential in accordance with CfE Experiences and Outcomes. Integral, too, is preparation for National 3/4/5/Higher/Advanced Higher. Classes are mixed ability in S1 and set in S2 and S3, to maximise effective use of differentiated materials and to facilitate targeted support from Support for Learning.
The department places great importance on the value of personal reading and study of ‘text’ in its widest sense, including film and other media, and has developed many new initiatives in this area. The content of homework will be determined by each teacher, dependent on ability, current stage in course and development needs relevant to any one class. Assessment is three stage (peer, self, teacher), with students reading and building on ‘strengths’ and ‘development needs’ identified therein.
In order to enhance parental engagement, we ask students to discuss formative and summative assessment accordingly. This will take the form of discussing and signing assessed work and targets set by staff and pupils.
English in the Broad General Education (S1-3)
Fiction will include prose texts, both novel and short stories as appropriate. Both non-fiction and fictional texts will be analysed and evaluated with a few to understanding and deploying the skills involved in creating and critically analysing such texts. Poetry and drama texts will also be studied in a similar manner to fiction and non-fiction texts. Students will be able to access understand and replicate these language skills. Texts are chosen in discussion with individual class teachers and students.
Drama and Media
In S1, all students will have experience of practical Drama outcomes as an extension to their curriculum. This will take the form of an additional period in the faculty per week. In S3, all students will work towards achieving Media units in order to establish these skills and facilitate progress into a National qualification in the senior school.
All students will analyse, evaluate and create reflective, informative/discursive and creative pieces of writing as appropriate to their level and stage.
Talking and Listening skills
Students will learn skills that will prepare them for National assessments. They will participate in individual and group presentations and develop their listening skills through formal and informal tasks.
Media in the Broad General Education (S1-3)
Media is incorporated into S1-3 English courses and allows students to experience a taste of Media analysis across various categories including film, TV and the internet. There is also opportunity to experience Creation and Production of Media texts through the varied and imaginative activities available.
Senior Phase English (S4-6)
Students in Senior Phase (S4-S6) follow National 4 and 5, Higher and Advanced Higher Courses. National 3 is available as an alternative precursor to National 4 for some students. Students are encouraged to take the Level of Course appropriate given their prior learning and future aspirations. Specific Recommendations are given at the time of Options to inform decisions about Course level. There are also opportunities at N4 level for students to enhance qualifications by achieving awards in Literacy N5 and Scottish Studies unit passes.
Senior Phase Media (S4-6)
Media is a growing subject within our Languages faculty. Significant time and effort has gone in to delivering engaging and in depth courses employing a range of teaching methods and media texts. The majority of pupils taking up Media in the senior phase will have some experience of studying Media from S1-S3 and will have an interest in Media texts. It is essential that students understand that this is a demanding subject which involves a great deal of analysis and it is essential that they were motivated and fully engaged. Literacy skills and self motivation are essential skills for this course as it is demanding and highly analytical.
Students in the Senior Phase (S4-S6) follow National 4, National 5 and Higher courses. Students are encouraged to take the level of course appropriate given their level in English courses: in the majority of cases a National 5 level in English would result in a National 5 Media recommendation; a Higher level in English would result in a Higher Media recommendation and so on.
The Department places great importance on the value of personal study of Media texts. So an interest in watching films, TV and keeping up with current events and news media is encouraged. The content of homework will be determined by the class teacher dependant on ability, current stage in course and development needs relevant to any one class. The final course assessment is 50% exam and 50% Creation and Production Assignment, the Assignment will account for a significant portion of homework and requires students to exhibit high levels of organisation and self-motivation.
In the Modern Languages Department three members of staff deliver a vibrant and engaging curriculum which aims to promote communicative competence in two foreign languages. The Department occupies three well-resourced classrooms.
When coming to modern languages class, students are expected to communicate in the foreign language as much as possible as they benefit from native and near native competence of our teachers.
Teaching methodology is varied and innovative, incorporating appropriate techniques in line with CfE and national initiatives. Students are encouraged to take part in our highly successful Spanish language exchange to enhance progress in the classroom. 2020 will also see the reinvigoration of the French language exchange.
There are also opportunities to experience E-twinning with Spanish and French pupils.
Individual staff use a variety of online resources and support sites, as appropriate to the needs/level of a class. At every opportunity courses are delivered in such a way as to enhance skills in Numeracy, Health & Wellbeing, Literacy and higher order thinking.
Broad and General Education (S1–S3)
French and Spanish are offered at all levels from First year. The new Broad and General Phase (S1, S2 and S3) Courses are designed to lead students in reaching their full potential in accordance with CfE Experiences and Outcomes. Classes in Broad and General Phase are mixed ability.
In Modern Languages, we focus on developing four skills : reading, writing, talking and listening as well as language structure (how to build sentences, word order etc.) and grammar (conjugating verbs, adjective agreement rule, etc.). These are covered in both French and Spanish. Students experience French and Spanish in blocks in S1 and S2. They are given the opportunity to specialise, in one, or both, modern languages from S3 onwards. All students must study a foreign language throughout BGE.
Over the BGE, the following topics will be covered in both languages: introducing ourselves and others, daily routine, house and home, school and clothes, leisure and wellbeing, in town, food, going out, holidays and becoming independent and confident individuals involving employability skills through writing a CV.
We use a range of assessments tools including project work, online reviews through quizzes that parents can have access to through Satchel/Show my homework and their children’s learning log through OneNote/Class Notebook.
In usual circumstances, pupils are offered exchanges to France and Spain in S3.
Senior Phase (S4-6)
Students in the Senior Phase (S4-S6) follow National 4/5/Higher/Advanced Higher. An alternative to Nationals are levels 3 & 4, there is a opportunity to pursue a Languages for Life and Work Award aimed at pupils with an interest in Languages and Business. This course has a more vocational approach, including units in French, Spanish and Employability Skills. Students are encouraged to take the Level of Course appropriate given their prior learning and future aspirations. Specific Recommendations are given at the time of Options to inform decisions about Course level.