At Albyn School we place enormous value on language learning and encourage our students to do the same. The ability to speak and understand other languages is truly a life-enhancing skill. Culturally, it can open a window onto other worlds, while academically it can help to increase mental agility and improve problem-solving skills. Moreover, in today’s globalised world, employers are increasingly looking for employees whose language skills allow them to communicate with colleagues and clients from around the world.
French remains a popular and important language throughout the world. With many great works of philosophy and literature originally written in French, it is a fantastic language for those interested in the realm of arts and ideas. Moreover, many international organisations are based in France or Belgium and use French as their working language, thus giving French-speakers a significant advantage when it comes to the job market. Finally, as one of very few languages to be spoken across the globe on all 5 continents, French is also an excellent language for those looking to explore the world.
French plays a key part in language learning at Albyn. It is the first foreign language that pupils in Lower 3 will begin to learn, and many continue their studies all the way to National 5 or even beyond. In order to enhance their language learning, pupils benefit from a range of opportunities, including a popular film club, cinema and theatre visits, and a French conversation society. In addition, Upper School pupils have the opportunity to work with our French assistant, a young native-speaker who helps pupils to gain confidence in their speaking skills and also to learn more about French culture.
With Germany at the heart of European business and industry, German remains a key language for employers both in the UK and abroad. It is also the language of many great works of philosophy and literature, and so is richly rewarding for those who master it.
A wide variety of clubs and extra-curricular activities are offered to support pupils in their German studies. We also have an assistant every year from a German speaking country and pupils really enjoy the opportunity to try out their German on a native speaker.
From Upper 3 onwards, pupils have the opportunity to take part in the German Exchange with a school near Lake Constance in southern Germany. Pupils stay with families, go to school with their partners and experience life in Germany at first hand. This is a motivating and stimulating experience for pupils which helps to develop their language confidence and cultural awareness.
We are really excited to be able to offer our pupils the chance to study Mandarin Chinese. As the most widely-spoken language in the world, Mandarin Chinese is the up-and- coming language of global business and negotiation and we believe that it will provide our pupils with great opportunities for their future. As well as being an important language for commerce and industry, the challenges associated with learning Mandarin (such as mastering a different writing and pronunciation system) will enhance pupils’ general learning skills and help to make them stand out from the crowd.
In order to begin getting to grips with this language at an early age, pupils begin learning Mandarin in Lower 5 and have the opportunity to continue throughout their school career. We are also delighted that Albyn has recently become a test centre for the HSK examination, an internationally recognised proficiency test which will enable pupils to study and work in China if they should wish to do so in the future.
With over 400 million speakers, Spanish is the second most widely spoken language in the world and is an increasingly important language of business and communication. Pupils studying Spanish therefore equip themselves well for working and travelling not just in Spain but in Latin America and across other parts of the world. There is also a thriving culture of Hispanic film, literature and music, so it is a brilliant language for those interested in exploring modern world culture.
Pupils begin learning Spanish in Lower 5 and many choose to continue their studies until National 5 and beyond. We are lucky to have 2 native speakers working within the department who help pupils to develop their pronunciation and speaking confidence. There is also a strong culture of mentoring, with pupils from the upper year groups coming into lessons to help younger pupils with their learning. Pupils are supported by a range of extra-curricular opportunities, including a thriving Hispanic film club.
After studying languages at Albyn School some of our recent pupils have gone on to study related subjects at University such as Law with French Law, Modern Languages & Business Studies and Applied Languages & Translating. The Languages department at Albyn aim to give our pupils the confidence to speak the language and to take risks in their learning so that they are not afraid to make mistakes, enabling them to communicate effectively, both for business and leisure, in the future.
Come and visit our Languages Department by booking a tour of Albyn School.