Spanish AS & A Level
The course is designed to build on the language acquired when studying for GCSE Spanish and continues the development of listening, speaking, reading and writing skills, alongside an understanding of the way in which grammatical structures enhance linguistic independence.
Students study social and technological change alongside highlights of Spanish-speaking artistic culture and also explore the influence of the past on present-day Spanish-speaking communities. They learn the language in the context of Spanish-speaking countries and the issues and influences which have shaped them. Students will study a film and a literary text and will have the opportunity to carry out independent research on a topic of their choice linked to an aspect of Spanish language culture.
A minimum of 4 subjects at grade 5 or above at GCSE plus English Language at grade 4 or above. You should also have a grade 6 or above in GCSE Spanish.
What will I study?
Aspects of Hispanic society:
- Modern and traditional values: family changes, trends in marriage and divorce, influence of the church
- Cyberspace: the influence of internet, positive and negative effect of smartphones, the influence of social networks on society
- Equal rights: women in the world of work, sexism and feminism, LGBT rights
Artistic culture in the Hispanic world:
- Modern day idols: the influence of singers and musicians, the effect of TV and cinema stars, the influence of fashion models on young people
- Spanish regional identity: Spanish customs and traditions, similarities and difference in the gastronomy, languages spoken in Spain
- Cultural heritage or cultural landscape: civilizations that contributed to the cultural heritage of Spain, artists and architecture in Spain, diversity of Hispanic music and dance
You will also study a Spanish language film in the first year.
You will build on the topics studied in Year One and study new topics.
Multiculturalism in Hispanic society
- Immigration: Positive and negative aspects, immigration in the Spanish-speaking world, illegal migrants
- Racism: racist and xenophobic attitudes, measures to combat racism, legislation against racism
- Integration: different ways cultures integrate in Hispanic society, integration of different cultures within the sphere of education, coexistence of various religions
Aspects of political life in the Hispanic world
- Today’s youth, tomorrow’s citizens: young people and politics, unemployment, the ideal society
- Monarchies, republics and dictatorships: Spanish civil war, Franco’s dictatorship, changes in monarchy and republic to dictatorship, dictatorships in Latin America
- Popular movements: protests and strikes, trade unions, 15-M and Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo
You will also study a Spanish language film and literary work in the second year.
Individual Research Project: you will identify a subject of interest to you and which relates to a country or countries where Spanish is spoken. You will develop the ability to initiate and conduct individual research by analysing and summarising your findings, in order to present and discuss them in the speaking assessment.
You will have a short lesson with the Spanish teacher each week, and you will be encouraged to spend some time in a Spanish-speaking country during the course.
Method of delivery
The course follows the traditional A Level delivery model of three 90 minute lessons a week, typically including listening and reading practice, group and paired speaking work and practice of grammatical structures.
We use the AQA approved Kerboodle online coursebook, with additional material. Students are provided with a personal login so they can access materials for independent study. In addition there is a weekly short lesson to improve spoken confidence, fluency, and accuracy.
How will I be assessed?
Assessment is by final examination at the end of each year, including a speaking examination, listening and reading comprehension, translation and essays on the film and/or book.
Good course combinations
Students can combine Spanish successfully with the full range of A Levels. The current specification works particularly well with English Language, Film Studies, English Literature, History, Politics and Sociology. The skills needed also feature in A Levels with an emphasis on logic or process such as Maths, Music and the Sciences.
Your next steps
Many students go on to a language related degree course. Learning a language at A Level teaches the skills needed to learn all languages so students sometimes choose to start a new language at university e.g. Mandarin, Arabic, Japanese. There are many universities offering courses including language study combined with another option. Recently students have progressed to courses including French and Spanish at York and History and German at Cambridge. Students progressing to non-MFL courses have opted for Journalism at the University of Westminster, Maths at Newcastle and Classics at Oxford.
Possible careers include teaching, translation, journalism, publishing, and work in the tourism or financial sectors. Knowledge of a minority language can increase a student’s options in the job market, and the skills developed on languages courses, including analysis, attention to detail and oral skills are valued in many areas of employment. Some students progress straight into a career and many feel that Spanish A Level builds up the confidence and language skills needed for travelling and periods of work abroad.
“The Spanish A Level at York College is interesting and engaging, with a wide variety of different activities. The weekly one-to-one speaking sessions have been helpful and allowed me to improve my pronunciation and confidence.”