Welcome to the start of your journey to GCSE greatness my friends! Great to have you here! Before you read this it is worth getting familiar with my tips on how to kick start your language learning and how to form a great language learning habit. However, this page contains specific information that is relevant to you as a GCSE student and links to resources and ideas specifically geared towards the language you are learning at GCSE.
If you really want to you can click straight through to the language you are studying on these links (French, Spanish, German) but before you do it would be really awesome if you could read a bit of general info that applies to everyone who is currently doing their GCSE in any foreign language. Some of this stuff is going to sound really brutal but I've been talking to the students I currently teach and they've told me that I should 'tell it how it is' so please bear in mind everything I'm about to say is designed to inspire and help you rather than alienate you and annoy you! There are some tough truths that you need to know if you are serious about embarking on this epic but brilliant mission to really kick start your language learning.
The first thing you need to realise is that you can learn a language from scratch on your own in as little as 10 weeks provided that you develop the habits and discipline to make you dedicate 20 minutes per day to the challenge. However, and this is the brutal bit, if you don't dedicate 25 minutes a day five days a week you have next to no chance of learning a language. You cannot learn a language in school in the same way as you can learn Science, History, Geography, RE etc. It just doesn't work like that. This is because all of those subjects are taught to you in English so you already understand the language of delivery. The only comparable subjects to languages in this respect are Maths and some aspects of Physics. Unsurprisingly, these tend to be the subjects that students moan because they are 'hard' or 'boring'. They also tend to be the subjects where students moan about their teachers. All this highlights is the huge weakness in our education system generally. Most people expect teachers to 'teach' you things rather than expecting teachers to be brilliant motivators and facilitators of high quality learning. This is how we should be viewed. These days with the internet you can learn literally anything at home on your own. However, 99% of you go to school expecting to be taught things once and then to 'know' it. Language learning just isn't like this. It requires daily dedication on the part of the learner. In most situations in most schools most students just don't do that. That means that you turn up to your lessons woefully under-prepared and expecting totally the wrong thing from your teachers. To fix this you need to totally flip your attitude to what you expect from your language teachers at school.
In the rush to slag off their teacher most students don't realise the crucial fact that if you start to teach yourself the language you are learning your teachers will suddenly come into their own. Firstly, they will be blown away by the progress you are making and will warm to your efforts in the direct proportion to how much you are trying, and, secondly they will all, without exception, be able to help you correct and adapt your accent (especially if they're from the country whose language you are learning) and amend and perfect your written work. Once you start using your teacher in this way you will see their true worth and realise how incredible they actually are. It's an absolute fact that nobody can teach anyone a second language. It has to be learnt. You're the learner. It's your job to learn it and your teachers to help you hone what you've learnt. Most adults pay £200 a pop to have one hour a week with a teacher in a language school. You're getting it for free. It would be madness to miss out on this awesome opportunity. So, if you currently 'hate' languages and/or 'hate' your teacher get over it, learn the language at home and take advantage of this phenomenal opportunity to get to know your teacher and use them properly. You'll soon realise, if you don't already, how deeply they care about your progress and how much they are willing to do to help you succeed. You should also use your teacher to ensure that you know exactly what topics will come up in your exams so that you can tailor your learning to them once you've got the basics under control. On that note, whilst your are in your first 10 weeks it is really important that you focus on learning to speak the language rather than learning for the exam. Once you know how to understand and speak French, Spanish or German your GCSE grade will take care of itself because you will easily be able to learn the vocab associated with the topics you need to cover. Learn the language first then adapt your learning to the GCSE content and not the other way around!
One of the best things about starting this mission is that virtually nobody, and I mean virtually nobody, who is doing their GCSEs is prepared to commit to the level of dedication you're about to start showing. This means you will be at a huge advantage compared to all your classmates and everyone else across the country if you genuinely kick start your language learning. Let's be honest here most people of your age are going to spend most of Year 10 and 11 wasting hours on Fortnite and scrolling through Instagram. If that's you at the moment, or if you currently spend more than 20 minutes a day on social media there is, I hate to be harsh, literally no excuse for you not changing that to 20 minutes language learning. If you do instead of having literally nothing to show for that time at the end of 10 weeks you'll have learnt a language. That's a clear choice between a life long skill and hours of wasted time and potential. I told you this would be harsh but it is true. Life is really short and Year 10 and 11 will go by in the blink of an eye. You should be spending every moment of these critical years either doing hobbies you love with people you love, working for money (if you have to) or developing your skills and subject knowledge through learning. That's it. It really is that simple. If you do that you'll end up being a really well rounded and balanced person with a lovely work life balance, great friends and a great set of qualifications. That will leave you ideally set up for your next journey in life!
Finally, before we get you into your separate language areas one last thing that you all need to hear. If you are in Year 11 and you are reading this any time before February half term it is NOT TOO LATE. If you're reading this before March 2019 I'm currently in the middle of my 10 week Youtube course which is designed to get you learning a language in 10 weeks. Check it out on my Youtube channel and get involved! If you're found this section and you're in Year 9 or 10 then you're onto a winner! Start now and nail your languages straight away so you can focus on your other subjects in Year 11!
Good luck you legends - you won't regret choosing to smash your GCSEs and it may well be the thing that spurs you on to a lifetime of language learning!
So, what language are you studying...