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February 13

Spotlight on German

Our Head of German Mrs Turvey tells us about the rewards of learning German and how it can benefit a student's future.

How long have you been teaching German at Blackheath High School?

This is my fourth year at Blackheath High School.

Can you tell me about your background?

I learnt languages at school – French from Year 7, German from Year 8. I loved both and took them to A Level. At A Level I discovered German literature and studied German history. It was this fascination that lead to me study German at university.

What is covered in German? What are your students working on at the moment?

Students start German from scratch in Year 8 and have the opportunity to take it to GCSE and A Level. A wide variety of topics is covered throughout all years, including freetime and leisure, family and friends, youth culture, customs and traditions and school and education.

Is it a popular choice of subject?

German is very popular at Blackheath High School and there is a lot of enthusiasm for it. It can be a complex language to learn – like Latin, there are cases and three genders. However, I take students through their learning step by step and try to make lessons interesting and fun with quizzes and games.

What are the benefits of studying this subject?

German is a language in high demand, especially in the financial, scientific and engineering sectors of industry. The CBI recently named German as the language most employers want their employees to speak. With Brexit nearly upon us, the need for people who speak German is even greater. So as well as being intrinsically rewarding to learn, having a knowledge of German will serve students well later in life.

What are the benefits of studying German at Blackheath High School? What is unique about German here?

We have a lively and active German department and students can study the language to A Level. We have regular events such as German breakfast club and we go on trips. From Year 10, students have conversation lessons with our German assistant to practice their speaking skills. In September 2018, 20 of our students took part in an exchange with our partner school in Trier, Germany. Fewer and fewer schools do exchange trips but I am a great believer in them. The initial contact can even lead to a lifelong friendship. More trips are also on the agenda – we hope to go to the Christmas markets in Cologne later this year.

Is there a particular aspect of the course that students tend to enjoy?

Most students enjoy the academic challenge of learning German – it is demanding but rewarding. Students also enjoy the trips. In the classroom, interactive quizzes like Kahoot and Quizlet are also very popular.


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