The study of German at St Olave’s is not just a study of the language; students also learn about the culture, traditions, and history of Germany, and other German-speaking countries. By sixth form, students have a strong grasp of speaking and writing skills and are able to understand complex written and spoken texts on a variety of topics, as well as literary extracts.
Boys start in Year 7 (or year 8 fast track) and many choose to continue to GCSE and A-Level. We are proud of the various trips offered at various stages, and students relish the chance to hear from other native speakers and try out what they have learnt in the classroom. Year 8 pupils have the opportunity to participate in a trip to the Aachen Christmas market. The theatre company Onatti performs a German play to students in Years 9 and 10. In Year 10, students can take part in our exchange with the Starnberg Gymnasium near Munich, and a 5-day trip to Berlin alternates with an exchange with the Hölderlin Gymnasium in Heidelberg in the Sixth Form. Indeed, in the sixth form, students also take part in a trip to the British Film Institute, where they attend a workshop on the German film studied at A-Level – all conducted in German!
From the moment they start, boys are encouraged to speak in German with their teacher and each other, and they are able to listen to their teacher using a large amount of German in lessons. Lessons are interactive, and classes have regular lessons in the IT suites where they can visit language-learning websites to progress in their German at their own pace and focus on their own personal targets. Songs, films, literature, and other authentic materials are used in German lessons for all year groups. Attention is drawn to the shared linguistic history between English and German, so that vocabulary can be learnt with ease and confidence is boosted. At GCSE and in the sixth form, students have regular lessons with our language assistant, who is a native speaker, when they focus on speaking skills.
The nurturing and engaging atmosphere in lessons, alongside rigorous academic standards and ample opportunity to participate in trips and competitions promote a genuine love of German language and culture.
Mrs L. Probodziak, Head of German