The Department has, over the past
years, undergone a complete review of the way it delivers
languages. What we do now is as follows:
- J4 and J5: cocktail of languages (Dutch, French, German,
Italian, Mandarin and Russian)
- First and Second Forms: Spanish, further Mandarin for those who
can already speak the language, and Mandarin club for all
- Third Form: French, German, Mandarin and Spanish as a
carousel in order to make an informed choice for the Fourth
- Fourth Form: choice of two languages from French, German,
Mandarin and Spanish
- Shell and Fifth Form: choice of one or two languages from
French, German, Mandarin and Spanish at Standard Grade and IGCSE
levels. Russian and Italian and Japanese are also available
- L6th and U6th: French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish
available at AS, Higher and A2 levels
The seven members of the Department offer regular 'clinics' for
small groups or individuals.
There are both full time and part time members of staff. The
prinicpal members are:
Hélène Gray MA: Head of Department
Mrs Gray teaches French as well as coordinating the work of the
Modern Language staff. She tutors in Rogerson House.
Paul Corbett MA
Mr Corbett teaches French and English as a Second
Language. He coaches rugby and cricket, and has a particular
interest in French film, which he introduces to boys in the
Cercle Cinémane he runs for senior boys.
Stephen Horrocks MA
Mr Horrocks teaches both French and Spanish. He coaches
rugby in the Senior School, and has organised many overseas tours
with rugby teams. He tutors in Rogerson, and was a Sixth Form
Housemaster for many years.
Chispa Prini-Garcia L-e-L
Mrs Prini-Garcia teaches Spanish. Additionally, she is the Head of
Careers Advice, and is Housemaster of Laidlaw South House.
Ferdi Geisler LA SII/I
Mr Geisler teaches German. His interests include football and
Michelle Hsu-McWilliam BA, MSc
Mrs Hsu-McWilliam teaches Mandarin, and has been closely involved
with much of the pioneering work on the teaching of this subject
not only within Merchiston, but in Scotland generally. Under her
guidance, the School has furthered its exchange links
with a school in China.
Helen Bruce MA
Mrs Bruce taught at the Lycée Francais in South
Kensington in London, at St Aidan's High School in Wishaw and
at the Edinburgh Academy before joining Merchiston. She enjoys
playing and coaching hockey, she has grade 8 in the oboe, is a keen
singer, and is also very interested in drama.
The Department has now four classrooms dedicated to each of the
main four languages that we offer (French, German, Mandarin and
Spanish), as well as an extra two smaller classrooms which are
shared between all languages, and are used more particularly for
Sixth Form teaching.
The curriculum, obviously, depends on the Language: all those
taught are offered at all levels throughout the School.
Some features of our work:
- Speaker about languages in the world of work (September)
- Language Evening (early December)
- 5 School Conference in November (French) and February (German
and Spanish) with Fettes, Glenalmond, Stewart's Melville and
- French Workshop Morning for L6th with Stewart's Melville