Modern Foreign Languages
“You live a new life for every new language you speak. If you know only one language, you live only once.”
College believes passionately that there are many irrefutable reasons why everyone should be able to speak at least one foreign language. There are the obvious advantages for business, travel and culture but perhaps less tangible (though scientifically proven) are the benefits that language learning has on the brain and development of our mother tongue. Furthermore, learning a foreign language enhances communication, a skill much prized in a wide range of careers, including medicine.
The Modern Languages Department at College is one of the largest of any school in the UK. The five core languages we teach are: Mandarin Chinese, French, Italian, German and Spanish. In addition, wherever we can, we support girls’ individual needs and home languages. Currently we have girls studying Arabic, Dutch, Modern Greek, Russian and Japanese alongside the main curriculum.
Over the last 10 years, language learning has been revolutionised by developments in technology and the wealth of online materials and apps which our team of highly proficient teachers, many of whom are native speakers, use to support their teaching.
Though our ultimate aim is for girls to communicate effectively in their chosen language(s) this cannot happen without a good understanding of how languages are structured. We also work closely with the girls to enable them to become independent language learners, which is essential for success beyond GCSE level.
We have three digital language laboratories which we use for class teaching and are also available for individual study and support sessions. The department has 11 language coaches, who provide extra lessons, and an administrator.
The Modern Languages Department offers a wide range of activities ranging from reading groups to cookery sessions. World cinema evenings are always a popular event. We encourage girls to take part in competitions such as the UK Linguistics Olympiad and Juvenes Translatores. We were delighted that this year one of our girls was selected for the prestigious Ruta Quetzal competition run by the Spanish government.
Girls work on establishing a firm grammatical foundation and study an innovative language acquisition programme.
All girls prepare for CIE IGCSE as the formal qualification but we also encourage interest in the country, its people and history.
Head of Modern Languages: Mr Thomas Couliou BA MA (Spanish)
Mrs Claire Dalet-Puzzanghera L ès L (i/c French)
Miss Sue Bemrose BA (Spanish)
Mrs Yan Burch BA (Mandarin) (i/c Oriental Studies)
Mr John Campbell BA MA (French/German)
Mr Michael Downey BA MSc (Mandarin)
Miss Emma Diaz LFI LFH (Spanish) (i/c Spanish)
Mrs Anne Ferré-Dyèvre L ès L (French)
Mrs Fei Gao (Mandarin)
Mrs Catherine Lygoe MA MPhil (French/German)
Miss Yolanda Martínez LP (Spanish)
Mrs Isabelle McDonald M ès L (French)
Mrs Marieli Mooney BA MA (Spanish)
Mrs Anita Mukasa BA (German)
Dr Paola F N di Robilant BA MA MPhil (Italian)
Dr Carla Quirighetti BA (French)
Mrs Ann-Kathrin Salge-Dexter (German/French) (i/c German)
Mrs Fuji Sonnenschein (Mandarin)
Dr Elisabetta Tondello BA MA (Italian/Spanish/Dutch) (i/c Italian)