Do you have an interest in Hispanic society, culture, traditions and politics, which add colour to Spanish-speaking countries? Do you enjoy constructing your own arguments in a foreign language? Are you keen to participate in discussions and good at listening to others? Then A-level Spanish is for you!
This course offers you the opportunity to become competent in the language but, equally important, it will provide you with skills that employers look for: critical thinking and problem solving, excellent memory capacity, a global outlook, intercultural competence, a great team player. You will stand out from the crowd for a good reason!
In Spanish A Level, you study a range of cutting edge topics through the practice of the four skills: listening, reading, speaking and writing. You learn about the world around you whilst you develop further your research and analitical skills. You will have many opportunities to practice your abilities in class and through a range of visits and partnerships.
Ten reasons to study Spanish A-level
1. Open your doors to communicate with the 400 million speakers of the world’s third most spoken language in the world
2. Communicate with Spanish speakers in your own community
3. Make your travel experiences more exciting and rewarding
5. Prepare yourself for study abroad experiences, regardless of your university course
6. Improve your knowledge and understanding of your own language
7. Make learning your next language easier
8. Gain a greater appreciation for Spanish-speaking cultures (that is, nearly all America…)
9. Enjoy Spanish music, theatre, film and literature in their original Spanish forms
10. Meet many new people and make friendships that will last a lifetime
World map where Spanish is spoken
Year 1 content
- one theme from social issues and trends, for example cyberspace or equal rights
- one theme from political and/or intellectual and/or artistic culture, for example celebrity cult or historical places
- one book or film
Year 2 content
- a further theme from social issues and trends, for example racism or popular protests
- a further theme from political and/or intellectual and/or artistic culture, for example social movements
- one book (or if book studied in Year 1, one film or a second book)
- an individual research project
Both years include an element of translation both ways.
The course is very varied and engaging in content. There is something for everyone and you will develop ways of thinking that you have never experience before!
Methods of Teaching and Learning
The courses are tutored by well-qualified and experienced staff. We are a friendly bunch but we do our best to ensure you do well. In the classroom, you work in pairs or small groups as well as being encouraged to show initiative in your private study.
The lesson is conducted mostly in Spanish and attendance and achievement are monitored regularly. Targets are set regularly throughout the course, so you understand what you are doing well and what you need to improve. We are very caring with our students so that you feel good about your progress all along.
Students joining this course will be expected to buy some books for learning.
If you want to be well prepared for the course, you can purchase the VIVA GCSE Translation and Grammar Workbook (It has oranges at the front!) and work through it in the summer. In that way, you will be ahead of the game and join the course with great confidence!
You will have numerous opportunities to develop your communication skills through written and verbal expression of your own ideas in whole class, small group and one-to-one situations. Use of information technology and independent study are an integral to the course. For example, we often use our mobiles as electronic dictionaries and you are guided on reading and watching widely on the topics that we study.
Method of Assessment
The four language skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking - are assessed by examination. We do not complete any coursework. We carry out regular mock assessments so that you become very familiar with the exam format (see AQA site for samples) and you always know the grade you are working at and aiming for.
There are opportunities throughout the year to go on trips to the cinema, theatre, universities and conferences. We also do extra-curricular activities, such as talks, workshops, support sessions and celebrate special dates in the calendar. Work experience in College includes teaching school students in mini workshops, translation, transcribing and proofreading projects, as well as supporting other students.You can also complete interactive activities to enrich your knowledge and your teacher will direct you through this.
Some students choose to go on a work experience placement, intensive course or exchange in Spain. All these activities will add to your learning experience and will help you to forge friendships. They are also a great asset for your university application or if you are seeking employement or an apprenticeship.
These activities form an integral part of the course and, therefore, it is expected that students will attend and participate in them.
What do universities want?
Universities very much value language skills and in some it is a requirement to have studied a language previously. Some advanced level subjects are more frequently required for entry to degree courses than others. These are called "facilitating" subjects because choosing one of them opens a wide range of options for university study. Foreign Modern Languages are a facilitating subject, so you won't go wrong if you study Spanish!
When you pick your subjects at advanced level, you will probably have many other subjects open to you but, unlike a facilitating subject such as Spanish, these other subjects are unlikely to be required for any particular degree course and so choosing them doesn’t increase your options at university.
At Bristol University, finding out about courses and requirements
There are many misconceptions about where studying a language might take you. Some people think that the only jobs available to you if you study Spanish will be teaching, translating or interpreting.
There are plenty of other opportunities in a large variety of fields such as diplomacy and national security, medicine and engineering. By studying Spanish you will develop key skills such as the ability to build relationships in and across borders, critical thinking and problem solving, a global outlook and intercultural confidence. Businesses and organisations not only want to recruit people who talk a language, but they want to recruit people who have a deeper understanding of foreign environments and practices and who are first-class communicators, particularly if the communication is hard-to-reach!
We have a range of work experience opportunities for our students. For example, this year, our students have been school children in miniworkshops. Some students with an advance level of the language have been working as translators, transcribers and proofreaders within the College. These experiences are great to add on your CV.
Spain is a diverse country for A-level students to do work experience. Amongst the cities you could be visiting are Madrid, Barcelona and Malaga. Many of these destinations are university cities, providing you with the opportunity to explore and discover a vibrant and cultural city where you can meet professionals and other young people whilst practising your language skills and gain confidence and independence. The placements range from a conference centre and a bookshop to a laboratory or a health food shop. Just ask your teacher for details.
Work Experience: Students teach at primary School