Unlike many modern approaches to the teaching of Modern Foreign Languages, where the focus is on communication and where there is less emphasis on grammar, we at St. John’s take the classic route. This is where we keep our eyes on the ultimate goal – which is indeed on communication, but where we appreciate that, however unfashionable, a sound grasp of grammar is essential to the attainment of this ultimate goal. One cannot build a solid house without a solid understanding of basic tools and the bricks with which the house is to be built.
Of course we believe that learning should be fun but only if the fun is built upon firm substance. Thus, we guide our pupils to explicitly learn vocabulary and grammar.
Vocabulary learning is a gradual process which can only be done on a regular basis. That is why one piece of homework per week always includes learning vocabulary which will then be tested in lessons.
There is also a second more time consuming piece of homework per week, which is mainly writing texts or essays in the 3 rd and 4 th year of learning German. This is an excellent preparation for the G.C.S.E-exam and St. John’s takes pride in the outstanding results our pupils have achieved over the years.
We also believe that it is very important to reach out and speak German in authentic environments. Sightseeing is on the agenda with trips to Lubeck and Berlin. In Berlin, among other attractions, we visit the German Parliament in the Reichstag and enjoy the spectacular view over the city while walking up the magnificent glass dome, designed by Lord Foster.
German is a great language and at St. John’s we treat it as such.