The course is based on the study of contemporary issues in France and French-speaking countries. The aim is to improve your overall communication and understanding of French but with a particular emphasis on your ability to debate and put forward a balanced argument on any given topic.
The themes are a departure from those studied at GCSE thus allowing you to gain a better understanding of Francophone culture and affording you the opportunity to discuss your viewpoints on a diverse range of topics and current affairs. Some of the themes studied and debated include crime and punishment, lowering the voting age, racism, homophobia and secularism. You will also study a French novel and film which will enable you to greatly improve your writing skills.
You will be expected to use the target language as much as possible during lessons and will do a lot of speaking work in pairs and small groups. In addition to normal lessons, you will also have a number of study periods in which you will carry out independent work provided by your teacher. This could be anything from reading news articles on a topic you have studied, preparing for an in-class debate, researching an aspect of French culture or doing grammar drills to brush up on points studied during lessons.
You will be provided with all the equipment necessary on beginning the course, including your own copy of the textbook used and revision and grammar workbooks for use during your study periods. Your iPad will also be relied on heavily so that you have access to French media and a bilingual dictionary.
The skills you will focus on are speaking, listening, reading and writing. The goal is to improve your fluency in all four of these skills so that you are readily able to communicate with native French speakers.
The A level consists of three papers:
Paper 1 – Listening, Reading and Writing (100 marks)
Paper 2 – Writing (80 marks)
Paper 3 – Speaking (60 marks)
Any degree can have a language as a subsidiary thereby giving you the unique opportunity to study or work abroad in a French-speaking area during your third year. You could find yourself attending a French university, working in a French hospital whilst studying Medicine or working for a company in the French Caribbean whilst studying Business.
Many employers across all sectors are seeking linguists more than ever due to fewer and fewer people in the UK being able to speak a second language. An A level in French can really set you apart and make you stand out from the crowd in today’s job market.