World Languages

Philosophy

While words and phrases can be learned in any number of electronic ways, the department offers real world experience within the classroom, breaking down its fourth wall. Our students are not mere actors of language, memorizing lines, but participants. Life tends to be improvisational and so should language, and not just the language, but the customs and traditions as well. In addition to the rigors of daily language lessons, students in French learn how to haggle the price of a street-side portrait in Montmartre. In Spanish, they might learn about Pachamanca, a Peruvian dish that is buried in burlap sack while cooking over hot stones. When the class takes a trip to central Andes over Spring Break, they will anticipate knowingly a meal from the earth, a tradition that is delicious, savory, and 600 years old. Erasmus once taught that in Latin you can say “Thank you” in one-hundred and fifty different ways. We teach all our languages with the same spirit of generosity.

Course Descriptions:

Chinese I
In Chinese I students build a strong foundation in modern Mandarin Chinese. Beginning with a focus on Chinese phonetics and character systems, students build into a thematic study of various topics that build a practical vocabulary around themes such as friends & family, numbers & time, hobbies, buying & selling, and many other topics. While undergoing an integrated study of the language, students also study Chinese characters in a systematic way that is designed to help them remember the meaning and writing of characters long-term. Instruction is in Chinese with English when needed for guidance and teaching learning strategies.

Chinese II
In Chinese II students continue from the foundation built during the previous year. In addition to more thematic study on topics ranging from transportation and sports to special events and relationships, students strengthen their reading skills by working through short books and articles designed for beginning and intermediate levels.

Chinese III
In Chinese III students move into more demanding intermediate-level skills. With a higher focus on independent vocabulary learning, class time is nearly all in Chinese and devoted to developing skills based on what students are already working on outside of class. At this point students have a base of over 500 Characters, which greatly enhances their ability to access and understand a growing variety of authentic sources outside the textbook. In year three, students start learning and exploring a pervasive and iconic aspect of Chinese language known as Idioms.

French I
French I emphasizes an integrated approach and a balanced development of the four language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Instruction at the first level stresses the fundamentals of French through contextual presentation of theme-based vocabulary, grammar, and verb conjugations. The textbook used exposes students to life in contemporary France, and francophone countries and various Internet sites, music, magazines, movies, cookbooks, comic strips, and children’s stories are used to facilitate the development of elementary skills by which students can listen and read in the target language. French I is designed to highlight proficiency in communication by giving students meaningful, everyday expressions they can use immediately in real life situations.

French II
The second level of French builds upon the fundamental skills learned in French I. Students study advanced grammar and idiomatic structures as well as read and write passages of increased length and difficulty. The textbook and supplementary web-based materials used in this class enhance students’ cultural knowledge of real life situations in contemporary France and francophone countries. French II is designed to expand proficiency in communication, give students meaningful expressions they can use immediately in everyday situations, and prepare them communicate in both the spoken and written form at an intermediate level.

French III
The third level of instruction is designed to teach further advanced aspects of grammar as well as to polish skills in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Through the use of a college-level textbook and corresponding web-based materials, students explore the French language through the lens of a native speaker as they are exposed to a wide variety of authentic resources and are challenged to interpret and synthesize ideas in multiple ways. Overall, the lessons learned in French III add sophistication and real-life context to students’ knowledge of modern French culture, and teach them to write well-organized and substantive essays, to communicate effectively in a conversation, and to become proficient readers of French.

French IV
This course is offered to students who have demonstrated continued excellence and interest in the study of French. French is used almost exclusively as a means of communication so to help students’ transition into a college-level environment with greater ease and to prepare them for progression into the AP Spanish Language and Culture course the following year. Students complete a thorough review of complex grammatical structures, idiomatic expressions, and vocabulary as well as explore a variety of historical, political, literary and cultural movements in Francophone countries around the world. A college-level text is used, supplemented by a variety of web-based materials and authentic resources so to support and guide progress. Formal and informal writing, literary analysis, organized debates, projects, and conversational exchange (both prepared and spontaneous) are many of the activities used to engage students and help them to develop a greater proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing.

AP French Language and Culture
Centered around six overarching themes established by the College Board, The AP French Language and Culture course is designed to challenge the advanced French student to reach beyond traditional grammar and vocabulary acquisition to apply presentational, interpretive, and interpersonal skills to a real world context. Through the exclusive use of authentic resources, students broaden their understanding of the French-speaking world through the lens of native-born speakers. Through exposure to the many products, practices and perspectives that make each culture unique, students are challenged to think critically as they work to compare and contrast their own native cultures to those corresponding to Francophone countries worldwide. Prerequisites: Appropriate course completion, recommendation from their previous French teacher, and completion of all required summer work. All students completing this course are required to take the culminating AP national exam in May.

Spanish I
Spanish I provides students a solid foundation in the basic structures of Spanish grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary. This knowledge is actively put into practice as students develop basic skills in written and oral communication. The course emphasizes an integrated approach and a balanced development of the four language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students also become familiar with the geography, customs, and the diversity of the Spanish-speaking world. A combination of textbook and web-based materials are used to facilitate students’ progress through the curriculum.

Spanish II
Spanish II is an intermediate course in which students continue to strengthen their vocabulary, grammar, and conversation skills. Students work through regular and irregular verbs in all tenses of the indicative mood, including all forms of the preterit and imperfect, as well as learn to incorporate theme-based vocabulary into both the written and oral context. Creating dialogues based on specific situations and role-playing are an important aspect of oral assessment. Students also expand their understanding of the history and culture of all Spanish-speaking countries. Spanish II is highly interactive and much of the course is conducted in Spanish. A combination of textbook and web-based materials are used to facilitate students’ progress through the curriculum.

Spanish III
Spanish III students consolidate and broaden their knowledge of grammar as they begin to use the language as a primary means of communication in the classroom. Students conjugate regular and irregular verbs in all tenses of the indicative and subjunctive moods and all forms of the imperative mood. Authentic texts expose students to a wider variety of cultural, political, and social aspects within the Spanish-speaking world. Students work on longer and more complicated dialogues through exposure to video and short films. To facilitate their learning in a variety of facets, students work from a college-level textbook and accompanying web-based materials.

Spanish III Honors
This course is designed for those students who have shown superior aptitude and interest in the study of Spanish. Students may enroll only with a recommendation from their previous Spanish teacher. Spanish is used in this class as the primary means of communication as students review grammar thoroughly as well as learn the forms and uses of more complex grammatical structures. They read, write, and converse in a variety of situations through the use of extensive, theme-based vocabulary and advanced grammar concepts, and learn to synthesize ideas in a variety of forms. Broadening students’ knowledge and exposing them to a more in-depth view into Spanish-speaking countries and their cultures is accomplished with a college-level textbook and corresponding web-based materials.

Spanish IV Honors
This course is offered to students who have demonstrated continued excellence and interest in the study of Spanish. Spanish is used almost exclusively as a means of communication to help students transition into a college-level environment with greater ease and to prepare them for progression into the AP Spanish Language and Culture course the following year. Students complete a thorough review of complex grammatical structures, idiomatic expressions, and vocabulary as well as explore a variety of historical, political, literary, and cultural movements in the Spanish-speaking world. A college-level text is used, supplemented by a variety of web-based materials and authentic resources so to support and guide progress. Formal and informal writing, literary analysis, organized debates, projects, and conversational exchange (both prepared and spontaneous) are many of the activities used to engage students and help them to develop a greater proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing.

AP Spanish Language and Culture
Centered around six overarching themes established by the College Board, The AP Spanish Language and Culture course is designed to challenge the advanced Spanish student to reach beyond traditional grammar and vocabulary acquisition to apply presentational, interpretive, and interpersonal skills to a real world context. Through the exclusive use of authentic resources, students broaden their understanding of the Spanish-speaking world through the lens of native-born speakers. Through exposure to the many products, practices, and perspectives that make each culture unique, students are challenged to think critically as they work to compare and contrast their own native cultures to those corresponding to Spanish-speaking countries worldwide. Prerequisites: Appropriate course completion, recommendation from their previous Spanish teacher, and completion of all required summer work. All students completing this course are required to take the culminating AP national exam in May.

Spanish V: Post AP Seminar
This class is designed for students who have completed the AP Spanish Language and Culture course. A seminar style course, this class challenges students to continue to develop second language acquisition through natural progression while increasing cultural awareness and appreciation for the rich history and culture of Latin America. The students explore a variety of authentic resources (film, poetry, prose, music, and art) as they work to expand their knowledge and awareness of contemporary Latin American culture. The course is centered around five main themes that challenge the students to think globally and critically: women rights and the female “voice” in Latin American society, social issues (including the right to education), immigration, drug trafficking, and political regimes and movements such as Castro, Trujillo, and Pinochet. Through class debates and discussions students continue to expand and develop their interpersonal communication skills. The hope is for students to become more proficient in each of the four key components of second language acquisition (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) while at the same time developing a more advanced ability to synthesize what they have learned for a broader and more complex understanding of the world in which they live. Students analyze Latin American literary excerpts and contemporary cinema and use their discoveries as the basis for active class discussion, presentation, and composition.

Contact World Languages
Department

 

Jen Anderson
R. Maxwell Meador Chair of World Languages
Spanish
Phone: 434-385-3832

Jocelyne Frazier
French
Phone: 434-385-3830

Matt Johnson
Mandarin
Phone: 434-385-3621

Madison Rogas
Spanish
Phone: 434-385-3619

Anne Stachura
Spanish
Phone: 434-385-3857

Honor. Rigor. Community. Relationships. Individual Attention.

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