Language Learning at JGHS
We believe that the ability to speak another language is essential in today’s world. We aim to equip our students with the skills to make a difference in the world, and we see knowledge of another language as a vital skill. As technology, ease of travel and communication brings the world closer together, a second language is a key part of being an effective global citizen.
Nowhere is this more apparent than at JGHS. At last count, there are 47 languages spoken natively by our students and staff. The relevance and importance of learning a language is clear for everybody to see. The opportunities that await our pupils when they leave – be they at University in Scotland or abroad, during a gap year or in the workplace – will be enhanced with knowledge of another language.
Furthermore, the communication skills and cultural awareness that we teach are desirable skills in the workplace. As the majority of UK citizens are not proficient in a second language, we aim to give our pupils the edge when incomes to the employment market.
S1 pupils generally continue with the language they have been learning in Primary school (currently French or Spanish). Our S1 course builds on the foundation laid at Primary school, and focuses on increasing pupils’ ability to express themselves in the foreign language in the four key skills of talking, writing, reading and listening. In order to do this, pupils learn about what life is like in other countries for young people their age, looking at the following themes : Family Life, School and Free Time, and Home Area.
Pupils in S2 build on their experiences in S1 and learn higher level language, as well as gaining more insight into the culture of other countries. The themes covered are as follows : Cities, Music, Food, and Past Holidays.
In S3, pupils are expected to finish their experience of the Broad General Education, and begin to prepare themselves for working towards National qualifications in their languages. Pupils also have the opportunity to begin learning an additional language, giving them the opportunity to study two languages at National 5 level in S4. The themes covered in S3 are : Tourism, Healthy Living, Family Life and Cinema.
We offer qualifications at National 3, 4 and 5 levels, and it is hoped that the majority of pupils will study towards National 5. In addition to focusing on the four key skills, pupils cover the themes of Education, Employability, Global Citizenship and Environmental Issues.
We currently offer Highers in each language, and we usually have high uptake in S5. Pupils who have achieved National 5 in S4 have the opportunity to study one, two (or occasionally more!) languages at Higher level. The new Higher qualification equips pupils with much more sophisticated and complex language and aims to increase further their confidence in using and understanding the language independently, as well as increasing their knowledge of grammar. The themes of the Higher course are Society, Learning, Employability and Culture.
Pupils who have completed a Higher in a language have the opportunity to study Advanced Higher in S6 and, similarly to S5, we tend to have high uptake in each language in S6. Advanced Higher offers pupils a chance to study a language at an even higher level, and covers a wide variety of topics and themes. Pupils will have the opportunity to study in depth a piece of literature, and will be expected to talk and write at length about topical issues. It is an ideal course for those who intend to study languages at University, but any student who has a Higher in the subject and is keen to develop their skills is welcome.