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Two years GCSE Spanish - Time allocation

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by Persopolis, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. Persopolis

    Persopolis New commenter

    I was just wondering if anyone running a 2 years GCSE Spanish in their school (preferably a comprehensive school), would know what the required time allocation is per week? We have 134 min. per week, and we do Edexel exam board.

    Many thanks
  2. hamcguin

    hamcguin New commenter

    there is no stipulated time, we have 5 hrs per fortnight, so more or less the same.
  3. There appear to be no official recommended guidelines on the number of
    class-contact hours required to prepare students for our national MFL
    examinations. However, bear in mind that the DfE recognises the different levels
    of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for Languages in its
    Languages Ladder booklet and maps them to our national MFL examinations. These
    are the number of recommended guided learning hours required to reach the
    different levels from scratch:

    CEFR A2 = Foundation GCSE, Approx 180-200 hours
    CEFR B1 = Higher GCSE, Approx 350-400 hours
    CEFR B2 = AS / A / AEA Level, Approx 500-600 hours

    Our national exam boards keep strangely quiet about the number of guided
    learning hours too, but Cambridge ESOL is very clear about the recommended hours
    that they expect students to have received. See:

    We discuss these issues in Section 2.2 of Module 4.1 at the ICT4LT site:

    The Languages Ladder booklet can be downloaded from here:

    Graham Davies
  4. I don't think there is much point in looking at the CEFR guidelines in this context since the GCSE exam is misplaced anyway, as you suggest, Graham. It obviously depends on the circumstances (students' age, is it the second or third foreign language, aptitude etc.) but if this is about passing the GCSE (even with a good grade), it can be done within a year, 3 hours a week max (as done in my school with 17-year olds. Year 10s have two hours a week after school and sit the Italian exam after two years). The new specifications mainly require rote-learning skills, so there is no need to teach grammar anyway - just make sure they know their essays/dialogue by heart. Which means the process of learning the language fit for GCSE is much faster than the process of learning the language to a reasonable standard.
    I wish this wasn't true but it is. No wonder English nationals have a bad reputation when it comes to being able to speak foreign language learning....

  5. I agree with last comment - we do 2 year GCSE in Year Tenand Eleven on 3 50 minute lessons a week. This is really a year and a half by the time we have taken work experience, absence for other exams and activities into account.
    Unfortunately the format of the new GCSE encourages rote learning and although pupils "pass" with a C or more, they have no real basis in the language , or have had much enjoyment learning it. The motivated ones prepares and learn assesments by heart.. the others...
  6. rosaespanola

    rosaespanola New commenter

    I've just done French GCSE from scratch in 2 years with my Y11s on 2 hours a week - they all got A or B on their controlled assessments (and no, we didn't do it by learning everything off by heart without them knowing what it means) and the same on all of the past papers they did, so it was obviously enough! Very silly, considering the pupils who'd done French from Y7 and were continuing to GCSE got 5 hours a fortnight, whereas the beginners got an hour less...
    It was interesting to compare them with classes who'd done French since Y7, because my group were WAY better at grammar, having done it all so recently & intensively, but they didn't have such a bank of vocab as you can only fit so much in over 2 years.
  7. Persopolis

    Persopolis New commenter

    Many thanks everyone. I'll bear all you've said in mind, but I don't think at this time, it will make much difference for me, as the SLT has gone ahead and decided on the time allocation without consulting with me about the requirements. I wouldn't normally expect them to do so, but as this was the first time they have introduced Spanish in the school, I thought it would make sense for all of us to communicate on this!
    I suppose 134 min. will have to do! Upwards and onwards and lets hope for the best.


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