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Increasingly in today’s world, the ability to understand and communicate in at least one foreign language is vital. It is our aim to give our pupils the opportunity to acquire the language skills required for high-flying careers in today’s global marketplace.
Employment prospects and earning potential are enhanced by fluency in languages other than English. Global communication is becoming easier and international contacts are increasingly important, making the acquisition of a foreign language more vital than ever.
Apart from economic benefits, learning a foreign language enhances our understanding and appreciation of cultures and customs, and can help us to understand our own language better.
It is our firm belief that the learning of foreign languages is interesting in and of itself, and that an ability to manipulate the more complex aspects of a foreign language is a worthwhile and valuable achievement.
Ensuring that the doors along that corridor are open to our pupils is our aim here at the High School of Dundee.
❝Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own.❞
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The teaching of Modern Languages begins in Junior Years, with the introduction of French from L4. Topics covered include numbers, colours, classroom language, family members, pets, hobbies and interests. The focus is on enjoyment and encouraging real communication. Mandarin is introduced in L5, allowing pupils the opportunity to learn some basic language, while acquiring knowledge about Chinese culture and customs.
In Form 1 all pupils continue to study French, with German, Mandarin and Spanish studied on a rotational basis (along with Latin). Towards the end of Form 1 pupils choose one of these languages to study along with French in Form 2.
A further choice is made at the end of Form 2 as pupils select the subjects they wish to study to National 5 level. The norm is that all pupils choose at least one foreign language, although an increasing number opt to take two languages at this level. The topics covered are designed to be relevant to the young people of today, and include healthy living, the advantages and disadvantages of new technology, and the environment, all the while helping the pupils to acquire new language skills.
Beyond National 5, our pupils study Higher and Advanced Higher in Modern Languages, equipping them well for study at tertiary level and granting them important life skills.
The Modern Languages Department offers pupils opportunities to take part in co-curricular activities, be it joining in trips to view European films at the cinema, a chance to take part in foreign-language plays, attendance at Chinese club or accompanying classmates on trips or exchanges abroad.
❝One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.❞
A regular feature on the calendar is the Form 2 trip to the Cantal region in France, where pupils undertake a range of outward-bound activities through the medium of French – horse-riding, kayaking and climbing high ropes, as well as less physically demanding pursuits such as visiting the market, a local snail farm and a small-scale dairy, as well as some local cultural sites, including Rocamadour.
We have a long-standing exchange programme with the Christophorusschule in Hessen, Germany, and a further link with St George’s international school in Malaga, Spain. We are currently investigating a further link with a school in Limoux, in the south of France, with the aim of offering pupils a further opportunity to visit France.
Our pupils regularly achieve excellent grades, benefitting from the enthusiasm for and commitment to our subjects demonstrated by the teaching staff. The Modern Languages Department is a vibrant and interesting setting for many exciting possibilities in and beyond school.