In a world where international contacts are increasingly vital and where global communication is ever easier, the importance of being able to speak other languages and understand different cultures is paramount. Watson’s is committed to equipping our pupils with these skills, and the process begins in the early years of the Junior School when pupils are introduced to French and Spanish.
In the Senior School, we teach French, German, Spanish, Italian and Mandarin Chinese. The Modern Languages Department is committed and energetic, and we are fortunate to have native speakers on the staff, as well as Foreign Language Assistants from France or Belgium, Germany, Spain, and Taiwan. All of the staff have spent prolonged periods abroad, maintain their level of fluency in the language, and are committed to the ideals of internationalism.
Pupils are encouraged not to view languages in isolation, and cross-curricular activities include the use of ICT in the classroom. The Department offers trips or exchanges to France, China, Spain and Germany on an annual basis.
The Department also administers a Language Scholarship fund, which allows successful senior pupils to travel abroad to improve their skills.
Pupils choose two languages in S1 from a choice of French, German, Spanish, Chinese and Latin.
Pupils have to continue with one of these language until the end of S4 and can continue with both. A large number continue to Higher and Advanced Higher. We also offer Higher Italian in S6.
The emphasis in language learning is on speaking, as the ability to communicate orally is an essential skill. However, at all levels, we underpin this with solid learning of grammar and vocabulary, and we develop the skills of listening, reading and writing at all stages of the curriculum.