At the Alice Smith School, we believe it is important to foster a spirit of internationalism in the hearts and minds of our community and nurture the ability to function effectively in an international context.
The learning of a foreign language helps us to achieve this and to enjoy interacting in a new cultural context. It increases our own personal opportunities for work, entertainment and travel as well as expanding our awareness of the world as we know it, a world that is shrinking due to high speed international air travel, the Internet and our own understanding that cultural diversity is what makes us human.
In a world community that is interconnected socially, culturally, commercially and economically, the Alice Smith School helps to equip our younger generation with every possible skill that will lead them to a successful future. We, in the Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) faculty, present our students with a choice of four vibrant and relevant languages, Bahasa Malaysia, French, Mandarin and Spanish.
The MFL team consists of ten very experienced full-time language specialists from Malaysia, the UK and abroad. We recognise the varying levels of ability students have in languages and for new students we ensure we quickly gain an understanding of their language experience and achievements from their previous school.
With class sizes ranging from 10 to 24 and a newly-refurbished modern teaching space, the faculty has the resources to provide language classes from beginner to advanced, to enable each student to progress and fulfil their potential. From Years 7 to 9 (Key Stage 3), all students study two languages* and at least one language for GCSE, although we are happy to say, many of our students choose to study more than one language at this stage.
- Students who have Malaysian citizenship are required by law to pursue a course in Bahasa Malaysia up to Year 9 as a minimum. At (I)GCSE level, we encourage the continuation of the Bahasa course, but it is not compulsory from Year 10 onwards.
- Students who are native or near native speakers of a language, have the option to sit the external examination of their 1st language as independent candidates, thus providing them the opportunity to acquire added skills in a new language.
Malaysia and its neighbouring regions have emerged as dynamic and exciting players in the global economic market, and a large part of business transactions are facilitated in the Malay language. It is also a language rich in cultural heritage and traditions. The Malay language, officially known in Malaysia as Bahasa Malaysia, is part of the Austronesian family of languages which is understood by approximately 300 million people in the Malay Peninsula, Madagascar, Indonesia, New Guinea, Taiwan, the Philippines, the Melanesian, Micronesian and Polynesian islands and New Zealand.
At the Alice Smith School, we encourage the development and use of the language and aim to prepare our students, whether Malaysian nationals or expatriates, for the world of employment and interaction within the local environment.
Our team of Bahasa teachers are fully qualified Malaysian teachers who bring with them a wealth of experience and expertise and are fully aware of the learning styles of our students here at the Alice Smith School. They have been very active within the Wider Learning Days and International Weeks, providing activities to enhance the students’ appreciation of the culture available through the medium of Bahasa Malaysia.
Did you know that apart from English, French is the only language spoken on every continent in the world? It is the top ten most popular languages in the world and is spoken by approximately 200 million people globally. It is officially spoken in 33 countries, second only to English, and is also an official language of the European Union and United Nations.
If you enjoy communicating with other people, imagine yourself working in an international setting in the future, enjoy traveling and interacting with people, or working with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds, then studying French is the perfect option for you. At the Alice Smith School we aim to ensure that learning French is so much more than just learning the language. It provides an insight into the French culture, teaches you to respect others and better understand people from all walks of life. It also tells employers that you know how to connect with people who share different views and upbringings.
At the Secondary Campus, our French classes are tailored to the students individual needs, whether you are building upon previous skills learned from our fantastic French team at the Primary Campus or any previous school, or are joining us as a complete beginner. In addition to our specialist language teachers, we also have one native speaker French Teaching Assistant who supports the French curriculum and works within the faculty to provide individualised learning for our students and valuable one-to-one speaking opportunities.
Mandarin is now widely considered as one of the leading world languages. An official language of the United Nations, Chinese is the most widely spoken first language in the world, extending beyond the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan to Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei, the Philippines, and to Mongolia. Chinese will soon top English as the most-used language on the Internet, according to forecasts by the World Intellectual Property Organisation.
A growing Chinese presence both economically and politically further increases the importance of Mandarin as a global language. China’s tremendous economic growth creates new opportunities and challenges for businesses. Businesspeople who can speak Mandarin will have an advantage in the business world. China has a major international cultural presence, in literature and cuisine, music and film, dance and art, religion and philosophy, drawing on its tremendous heritage to enrich our present. A fluent speaker of Mandarin will be able to share in the richness of Chinese culture.
Learning Mandarin Chinese at the Alice Smith School will enable students in the future to access a huge range of travel and business opportunities, as well as learning about the cultural and historical aspects of this powerhouse nation. Our team of Mandarin teachers is both experienced and well-qualified, and is also extremely proactive in sharing Chinese culture and language across the school, through yearly trips to China, Chinese New Year Assemblies and cultural events during our Wider Learning Days and International Week.
Spanish is the world's 3rd most-widely spoken language, after Chinese and English, and ranks 2nd in terms of the size of the population of native speakers.
Over 400 million people in 21 countries across five continents speak Spanish as their first language and many more speak it as a second language. Spanish is the most studied foreign language in the English university system; the second most used language in international communication, and an official language of the UN and it’s organisations. This diversity, both in human and geographical terms, offers students of Spanish a wealth of opportunities for their future.
The Spanish speaking world also opens wonderful opportunities for those who want to travel. With vibrant new economies flourishing all over Latin America and Spain's important membership in the European Community, opportunities to live and work abound in Hispanic countries.
At the Alice Smith School, our dynamic and enthusiastic team of Spanish teachers aims to provide an outstanding instruction in this beautiful language, while instilling an appreciation for the rich cultural heritage and diversity within the Hispanic world. Recent events undertaken by the Spanish department include residential trips to Spain, a project on Carnival, which resulted in a lively and colourful procession around the school, and salsa classes during our Wider Learning Days.
Students who are native or near-native speakers of a language, or who have had extensive experience within a previous school, also have the option to sit external examinations in their first language as independent candidates, thus providing them with the opportunity in their timetable to acquire added skills in a new language. If you would like to discuss this in more detail please contact the Admissions team.