Modern Languages

The goal of the Language Department is to promote proficiency in all four language acquisition skills – reading, writing, listening, and speaking – as well as a better understanding of the history and culture associated with the language of study. Our range of language courses prepare our students to succeed in an increasingly connected world.

Mandarin 1

Designed for students who have little or no previous background in the language, this course uses a variety of pedagogical approaches to help students acquire basic skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in the target language. Aligned with the standards for learning a foreign language as identified by American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), linguistic elements are the focus of this course. Cultural information that augments language development is included also. The emphases in this class are on building vocabulary and sentence patterns in communicative contexts, establishing a solid foundation in pronunciation, and developing an awareness of Chinese culture.

Mandarin 2

Designed for students who have had previous study in the language, this course uses a variety of pedagogical approaches to help students acquire skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in the target language. Aligned with the standards for learning a foreign language as identified by American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), linguistic elements are the focus of this course. Cultural information that augments language development is included also. The emphases in this class are on building vocabulary and sentence patterns in communicative contexts, establishing a solid foundation in pronunciation, and developing awareness of Chinese culture.

Mandarin 3

This is an advanced intermediate course that enables students to begin functioning in a native-speaking Chinese environment through readings and recordings of authentic Chinese literature, news, and fiction that supplement the textbook. Conversational fluency and essay writing are cornerstones of the program. Aligned with the standards for learning a foreign language as identified by American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), linguistic elements are the focus of this course, but cultural information that augments language development is included also. Continuing emphases are on building vocabulary and sentence patterns in communicative contexts, establishing a solid foundation in pronunciation, and developing awareness of Chinese culture.  Upon completion of the course, students are expected to have memorized approximately 1,200 characters.

In this course, students will continue the road to mastery by building upon what has been developed in previous years by adding more sophisticated vocabulary and grammatical structures and by increasing students' media literacy through exposure to Chinese idioms and by texts written in the style of magazines and news articles.

Mandarin 4

Students will complete Level 1, Part II and Level 2, Part I of Integrated Chinese Leader as emphases on oral practice, original composition, and thorough familiarity with the phrasing, tones, and sequences of written and spoken Chinese occur.  Mastery of over fifteen hundred characters is expected, and an increased use of authentic materials is employed as more sophisticated aspects of language and culture are explored. In particular, students are exposed to the more formal written style of Chinese, which is prevalent in newspapers, on street signs, etc.  Aligned with the standards for learning a foreign language as identified by American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), linguistic elements are the focus of this course, but cultural information that augments language development is included also.  At the end of the year, students should be prepared to take the SAT II Chinese subject test.

Mandarin 5

Designed for advanced students who possess sufficient oral and writing skills to analyze and discuss contemporary Chinese short stories and novels, students will also learn to read Chinese newspapers. In addition to a systematic review of grammar supplemented with exercises, course sequence explores a variety of topics, including advanced conversation, film, and contemporary short stories. Course work is designed to increase skills in reading, analyzing, and discussion. Students refine their communicative abilities in interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational modes while deepening their understanding of Chinese history and contemporary society through increased use of authentic materials.

Aligned with the standards for learning a foreign language as identified by American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), linguistic elements are the focus of this course, but cultural information that augments language development is included as well. 

French 1

As the native language of millions worldwide, the second language of millions more, and as the official language of diplomacy, French maintains its place on the global stage. The rich cultures of the Francophone world have also made tremendous contributions in literature, philosophy, art, and science, among other fields. Throughout this course, students gain an introductory knowledge of the French language and culture as we “tour” various destinations throughout the Francophone world. Students work on their reading, writing, speaking, and listening comprehension through skits, readings, written exercises, and cultural activities. By the end of the year, students gain an understanding of the interactions between language and culture and learn the importance of being a global citizen.

French 2

This course focuses on deepening the students’ knowledge of the French language through games, cultural activities, skits, and longer writing assignments. Students also use current events and research topics of their choosing to strengthen their vocabulary and grammatical skills. Students begin to look at the world through a French and Francophone perspective. 

French 3

Students begin to put the finishing touches on their written and spoken expression through skits, cultural activities, and writing assignments. Classes shift from grammar-strengthening activities towards discussion as students read and respond to short stories, fables, and films. 

French 4

This course focuses on a French and Francophone approach towards the questions humans have asked for centuries, including the nature of beauty and what it means to be a good person, among other topics. Students read French literary classics, participate in discussions, and complete in-depth writing assignments. Grammar is revisited as needed.

Spanish 1

This is the foundation Spanish course. Using the four areas of language acquisition — reading, writing, speaking, and listening — students gain command of basic phrases, vocabulary, and grammar, such as the present tense and simple future. The course also covers a diverse range of cultural topics from food to geography to art.  

Spanish 2 Intermediate

Students work on cementing their command of the present indicative and are introduced to the preterite indicative. Spanish 2 Intermediate has a strong focus on improving study skills necessary for language acquisition. Students are introduced to new cultural topics each term and further their understanding of the material through class work, project based learning, and interactive games.  

Spanish 2 (Honors)

This is an accelerated class for students taking a second year of high-school Spanish. Students improve their command of all four areas of language acquisition — reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Spanish 2 Honors moves more quickly through grammatical topics and emphasizes speaking, listening, and vocabulary acquisition. Students reinforce their knowledge of the present indicative and learn the preterite indicative, the imperfect indicative, and the imperative mood. Cultural topics that reinforce the grammar are also a component of the course. 

Spanish 3

In Spanish 4, students continue to build on the fluency they have gained in prior years. The class employs Teaching Proficiency Through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS©) and Comprehensible Input teaching methods. These focus on providing students with repetitive, comprehensible, and meaningful auditory and visual input. This is accomplished mainly through the use of teacher and student created stories and leveled Spanish readers. The goals of the class are two-fold: to greatly expand students’ fluency, giving them practical skills in conversational Spanish, and to instill in them a life-long desire to continue to study languages.

Spanish 4

Spanish 4 is intended for students in the fourth year of high-school Spanish. This class continues to use TPRS© and CI teaching methods and focuses on building students’ fluency through acquisition of meaningful, high-frequency vocabulary. In addition to leveled readers, through which students are exposed to a full range of Spanish grammar, the class also uses authentic readings from Latin American and Spanish culture to build students’ knowledge and awareness of the diverse cultures of the Spanish-speaking world.   

Spanish Language and Culture

Spanish Language and Culture is intended for students in the fourth or fifth year of high-school Spanish. This accelerated class continues to use TPRS© and CI teaching methods and focuses on building students’ fluency through acquisition of meaningful, high-frequency vocabulary. In addition to leveled readers, through which students are exposed to a full range of Spanish grammar, the class also uses authentic readings from Latin American and Spanish culture to build students' knowledge and awareness of the diverse cultures of the Spanish-speaking world.  

Advanced Spanish Language & Literature

In Advanced Spanish Language and Literature, students continue to build on the fluency they have gained in prior years. The class employs TPRS© and CI teaching methods. These focus on providing students with repetitive, comprehensible, and meaningful auditory and visual input. This is accomplished mainly through the use of teacher and student created stories and leveled Spanish readers. The goals of the class are two-fold: to greatly expand students’ fluency, giving them practical skills in conversational Spanish, and to instill in them a life-long desire to continue to study languages.

Teaching language is so rewarding. I'm not just teaching the translations — I'm teaching cultural interaction and respect. Our world needs that.

Lisabeth Conti,
Spanish Teacher


MEET THE LANGUAGE DEPARTMENT

Trevor Anderson-Salo

Mandarin Teacher

Kathe Blydenburgh

French Teacher

Joshua Frost ’04

Spanish Teacher

Anne Pearson

Language Department Chair