Ashbourne offers small groups, an intimate atmosphere and a communicative approach to language learning using a wide range of authentic materials.
Alberto is our native Spanish teacher and head of languages. Not only does he make language learning fun and engaging but he also brings a wealth of experience as an Edexcel examiner which allows him to offer expert advice on exam preparation.
Why study Spanish?
Spanish is currently the fourth most widely spoken language in the world and is the official language in 21 countries. Simply by learning Spanish you will broaden your jobs prospects and be able to earn yourself a ticket to travel and work confidently in the Spanish-speaking world.
Just as importantly, being able to understand and communicate in Spanish will allow you to explore and enjoy the different cultural ideas and perspectives offered by friends and through films, music, media, politics and more. As your understanding of word meanings and usage develops you will also discover and better appreciate the nuances and biases inherent within.
Learning Spanish will also improve your understanding of English and help with your other studies. Language learning challenges you to find connections, use your memory, analyse structure and differentiate meaning; and developing these communication and problem solving skills has an impact on your overall approach to learning.
Spanish is a very accessible and attractive Romance language derived from latin. Once you have mastered it you will easily be able to pick up other latin-based languages like French and Italian.
Which syllabus do we follow?
What is covered in the course?
You will learn the skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) necessary to express yourself fluently in Spanish. In both AS and A level students will develop their language skills by exploring a range of social, political and cultural issues relating to Spain and Spanish-speaking countries, outlined below. A level students will also study a literary text and/or film.
In this theme you will explore certain aspects of Spanish society and social values. How have attitudes towards family, relationships and marriage changed? What is the labour market like in Spain and what job opportunities does it offer? Is tourism a healthy industry to get into and what impact does it have on peoples’ well-being, employment and the environment?
This theme provides a genuine excuse to listen to some great music from across the world so you can discuss its impact on contemporary culture. You will also get a chance to discover a wealth of festivals, fiestas, costumes and traditions from many of the Spanish-speaking countries and communities.
Globalisation has dramatically changed the way we communicate and share ideas today. You will examine how media – like TV, internet and social media (blogs, video, podcast, newsletter, eBook etc.) – has affected the social and political make up of Spanish-speaking communities across the world.
Students will explore classic literature by authors like Gabriel García Márquez and Laura Esquivel, works by major playwrights like Federico García Lorca and cult films by the likes of Pedro Almodóvar, in this part of their course.
Students study two works from the lists below: two literary texts, or one literary text and one film.
Bodas de sangre, Federico García Lorca,1932 (play)
Como agua para chocolate, Laura Esquivel,1989 (novel)
El coronel no tiene quien le escriba, Gabriel García Márquez,1961 (novella)
La casa de Bernarda Alba, Federico García Lorca,1936 (play)
Nada, Carmen Laforet,1943 (novel)
Primera memoria, Ana María Matute 1959 (novel)
Réquiem por un campesino español, Ramón J. Sender, 1953 (novella)
Diarios de motocicleta, dir. Walter Salles (2004)
El laberinto del fauno, dir. Guillermo del Toro (2006)
La lengua de las mariposas, dir.José Luis Cuerda (1999)
La misma luna, dir. Patricia Riggen (2007)
Mar adentro, dir. Alejandro Amenábar (2004)
También la lluvia, dir. Icíar Bollaín (2010)
Volver, dir. Pedro Almodóvar (2006)
Who teaches this course?
Alberto Lado Rey
MA Hispanic Studies (UCL); BA English Language Studies (University of Santiago de Compestela, Spain); Teachers Training Certificate (University of Santiago de Compestela, Spain)
Alberto is Faculty Head of Languages at Ashbourne and has been teaching at the college since 2000. He has been an Edexcel examiner since 2004. Alberto specialises in Spanish and Latin American culture.
Beyond A level Spanish
Spanish A level is a must if you plan to study Modern Languages or Latin American Studies at university. And if you love everything about words – history, origins, form, use and meaning – etymology or comparative linguistics could be the right course for you.
Most universities also offer combined degree courses that allow you to study languages alongside other major subjects like History, Law, Business, Management, Politics and Development Studies, for example.
With all of that under your belt you could become a key asset for companies or organisations working in Spanish-speaking countries, you could be an interpreter for leading political figures at the European Commission or translate great new novels by aspiring South American writers. And much more besides.
Suggested reading and resources
Grant & Cutler
Long established foreign-language bookshop with books and media in more than 150 languages, as well as national newspapers and magazines. Now owned by independent bookseller Foyles on Charing Cross Road.
Penguin Parallel Texts
Penguin produce a range of Parallel Texts books in Spanish, French, Italian, German, Russian and Japanese. These contain classic short stories in the chosen language with parallel versions in English.
News, views and videos in Spanish on a wide range of issues, including a special section on Latin America, from the BBC.
Contemporary Spanish and world cinema comes to London every year at selected venues.