Language is the soul of culture. It is the pursuit of learning to communicate through reading, writing, listening, speaking, and observing in order to better understand others in the world and to better understand oneself. Studying another language is a global and personal endeavor. In a language class, discussions about the diversity of cultures in the world are inherent and inevitable.
Language study also provides a context for examining one’s own culture through comparing and contrasting it to others. While helping students build a linguistic foundation, the experience can simultaneously foster a global mindset.
WORLD LANGUAGES CLASSES
Latin teaching has changed considerably in recent years, incorporating more modern language-acquisition techniques to help learn this vibrant language. As outlined in descriptions for the modern languages, Latin classes draw upon all language skills: the reading that is traditionally emphasized in Latin classes, as well as the essential skills of writing, listening, and speaking. Students will begin building a foundation of Latin vocabulary concerning mythology, homes, family, and public spaces, which will support them through the higher levels of Latin. They will begin using Latin phrases and sentences, and writing in Latin. Cultural understanding will be created through reading and discussion. Students will develop novice language skills and learn about Roman culture.
In Latin II, students continue to build upon the foundation that they acquired in Latin I. Students read longer, more complex paragraphs and answer comprehension questions about reading passages. Students are also able to orally express their understanding of the reading passages. Students continue to build a strong Latin vocabulary concerning war, government, hero, and heroines. Regular visits to the Language Lab boost student confidence and facility in the language.
Students review and complete their study of Latin grammar and begin an introduction to Latin prose. The skills of listening and speaking also help strengthen the interpersonal and interpretive communication skills of the students. In this transitional level of language learning, students learn to read more than translate, to use the language actively, and to grow more confident about their abilities. Students will continue building a foundation of Latin vocabulary, which will support them through the higher levels of Latin. They will begin to read longer Latin texts and to read authentic materials. Cultural understanding will be created through reading and discussion. Students will develop intermediate novice level language skills and learn about Roman culture.
Advanced courses in Latin poetry are offered in alternate years, Vergil in odd years (e.g., 2019-2020) and the poets Catullus and Ovid in even years (e.g., 2020-2021). Fourth- and fifth-year students study together.
Vergil and Caesar (Advanced Placement)
Students study selections from Vergil’s Aeneid, an epic poem about a hero’s struggle to establish a new kingdom after the fall of Troy. Students also read significant selections in English. The course examines the role of a leader, and the texts’ literary, stylistic, and cultural dimensions. The magnitude of information available through digital tools significantly enriches the course, offering a wide variety of related art, music, film, analytical essays, and critiques.
Catullus and Ovid (Honors)
This course emphasizes the critical reading and analysis of lyric and elegiac poetry, primarily from Catullus and Ovid, but from a variety of other Roman poets as well. Students read this poetry aloud as it was intended to be read. Students hear certain poems set to music and have the opportunity to work on modern, creative translations of the poems.
- French I
- French II (or French II Honors)
- French III (or French III Honors)
- French IV/V
- French V Honors
- Advanced Placement (AP) French IV Language and Culture
This introductory course in French places primary emphasis on basic communication in the language. Students focus first on oral communication (listening and speaking) and basic conversational skills. Thematic vocabulary is presented throughout the course. French I is taught through a four-skills approach (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) and focuses on basic French sentence patterns and high-frequency vocabulary. Grammar is presented formally and is practiced in functional situations. Frequent use of the Language Lab reinforces topics and skills learned in the classroom.
This Level II course reinforces and builds upon basic linguistic structures and communicative skills in the French language. Beginning with a thorough review of French I material, students learn more complex verb tenses, advanced sentence structure, and expanded vocabulary. Students read short stories and examine and discuss audio/visual media from the Francophone world, such as films, magazines, songs, podcasts, and poems. The course is designed to prepare students to study the intermediate level of French in subsequent years.
This intermediate course is designed to help students expand their reading skills through the study of more advanced texts, develop their written and oral communication skills for more complex situations, and hone their writing and editing skills through frequent writing assignments. Emphasis is placed on helping students express themselves in French with greater confidence and ease. Vocabulary development and thorough review and expansion of grammar are key components of the course. In addition to the literary texts covered, supplemental materials from the Francophone world, such as films, songs, magazines, newspapers, works of art, and the Internet, are added to the curriculum. Students make use of the Language Lab to reinforce topics and skills learned in the classroom.
This course is designed to help students continue to refine their language skills as they explore the richness and diversity of France and the French-speaking world. In French IV/V, students learn to communicate clearly and confidently by practicing both their spoken and written French. Video and audio exposure to native speakers allows students to further their listening skills. To this end, students make frequent use of the Language Lab. The study of the visual arts and the written and spoken word provides students with the opportunity to improve their skills of analysis as they discover Francophone art, music, cinema, and literature. Grammar reinforcement and vocabulary study continue throughout the year. Students write frequently, drawing upon a variety of topics. Course content includes the arts and the cultural and historical background of France and the French-speaking world, including possible units on the Francophone communities of North America, Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia. Materials used in this course are representative of the diversity of the Francophone world and include poems, fables, short stories, cartoons, novels, visual art, songs, and movies.
This academically rigorous course is intended for those students who wish to explore French literature at an advanced level. It gives an overview of French history and civilization through readings, textual analysis, and writing on a broad selection of texts from different genres and periods. Emphasis is placed on the appreciation and analysis of literary concepts in their historical and cultural contexts. All work, both oral and written, is conducted in French. All literary works follow a chronological sequence of study. Grammar reinforcement and vocabulary study continue as necessary throughout the year. A variety of assessments is used to evaluate student progress.
The French IV AP course is designed to prepare students for the rigorous Advanced Placement French Language and Culture exam. The course emphasizes language skills through discussion, focusing on listening and reading comprehension, speaking, and writing. It prepares and further develops skills required on the AP exam. These consist of the three modes of communication as defined in Standards for Language Learning in the 21st Century: interpretative, interpersonal, and presentational. Through thematic and authentic materials from the contemporary Francophone world, students learn language structures in context and use them to convey meaning. Materials for the course are designed specifically in preparation of the thematic elements presented on the exam. Through interactive media, students read a number of short stories from Francophone authors and view authentic media and broadcasts from French-speaking countries. Students also produce their own written and oral presentations in order to strengthen interpersonal communication and presentational skills. Students benefit from regular use of the Language Lab where oral and listening exercises help facilitate understanding. Students are required to take the AP exam in May.
- Mandarin Chinese I
- Mandarin Chinese II
- Mandarin Chinese III
- Mandarin Chinese IV (or Mandarin Chinese IV Honors)
In this introductory course, students learn the phonetic system (tones and pinyin) and the structures of Chinese character strokes. They can use acquired language skills in a variety of classroom activities. The focus is primarily on oral proficiency and aural comprehension, including the mastery of tones as well as cultural exploration. At the conclusion of the course, students acquire the following language skills that allow them to ask and answer questions; narrate events; describe likes and dislikes; make short oral presentations in Mandarin Chinese; and engage in short reading and writing activities that show mastery of approximately 300 characters. Mandarin I takes full advantage of the School’s Language Lab.
This course continues to build upon the language skills taught in Mandarin Chinese I: oral proficiency, aural comprehension, reading, and character formation. The primary emphasis placed on conversational fluency is complemented by an increasing focus on reading and writing skills. Students master approximately 400 additional characters and are able to recognize significantly more in context. Students learn to expand on Mandarin Chinese phrases on the computer. Well-known poems are taught to enrich the students’ understanding of the written language and culture of China. Language study is enriched with China’s history and culture through audio, visual, and online sources. Mandarin II takes full advantage of the School’s Language Lab and other technology tools with the iPad.
Students enrolled in Mandarin Chinese III continue to develop communication skills using more advanced vocabulary and grammar, increase their focus on reading and writing, and learn to use character input computer software. Students connect their prior knowledge of character structures with new characters and become more skillful in decoding and applying them. This course uses the textbook Integrated Chinese, Level 1, Part 2 and supplementary materials, including audio CDs, interactive CD-ROMs, typing software, and videos. Cultural exploration is integrated with thematic learning. Mandarin III takes full advantage of the School’s Language Lab and other technology tools.
Students are introduced to more sophisticated grammar patterns and vocabulary to help their viewing, listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills reach the advanced level. The content and exercises in Mandarin IV and IV Honors build upon the students’ prior study of the language, gradually adding more sophisticated idioms. Topics for this level reflect the diversity of students' lives, from school-based interests and activities to personal/social concerns about health, adolescence, part-time work, relationships, customs, technology, and environmental issues. Diary entries, compositions, and literature assignments provide the opportunity to review and reinforce their Chinese language knowledge and deeper cultural understanding. This course uses the textbook Integrated Chinese Level 2, Part 2. Other supplementary materials including a variety of technological tools are also integrated. The class is conducted completely in Chinese. Mandarin IV and IV Honors take full advantage of the School’s Language Lab.
- Spanish I
- Spanish II (or Spanish II Honors)
- Spanish III (or Spanish III Honors)
- Spanish IV/V
- Advanced Placement (AP) Spanish IV Language
- Advanced Placement (AP) Spanish V Literature
Students study introductory grammar and build vocabulary, practicing their skills in dialogues, games, reading, writing, and listening. They develop a strong foundation in the basic grammatical structure that they will need to attain linguistic competence as they move to the more complex aspects of the language in Spanish II. Lessons give students an authentic feel for the cultures of Spain and Latin America through geography, television programs, folk music, and food. A variety of interactive media is used to expose students to authentic materials. Through continuous practice in the Language Lab and the use of various technological tools, such as iPads, Dropbox, and Schoology, students are able to reinforce the material studied in class and become more confident in its use.
Students reinforce the basic linguistic elements learned in Spanish I in order to continue a more comprehensive and in-depth study of the most important grammatical concepts. As students master the complex tense structures of Spanish and broaden their vocabulary, they improve their interpersonal and interpretive communication skills. Through continuous practice in the Language Lab and the use of various technological tools, such as iPads, Dropbox, and Schoology, students are able to reinforce material studied in class to build confidence. Use of the Language Lab also helps students continue to develop linguistic competence through strengthening their listening, comprehension, pronunciation, and speaking skills. In addition, students read a variety of short literary works by contemporary Spanish and Latin American authors. Through a variety of interactive media, they are able to both listen to authentic materials, as well as produce their own. Students enrolled in Spanish II are eligible for participation in the Spanish exchange program.
This course is devoted to a systematic study of grammar and intensive vocabulary development to assist students in the analysis of style, content, and syntax. Through an interactive approach, emphasis is placed on oral and written fluency in the language and on developing reading skills. Students make use of the Language Lab in order to strengthen their listening comprehension and speaking skills, thus furthering their linguistic competence. This course also strives to help each student gain competence in literary writing. Readings from literature are combined with materials from magazines, newspapers, and films from Spain and Latin America. Through a variety of interactive media, students are able to both listen to authentic materials, as well as produce their own. Students enrolled in Spanish III are eligible for participation in the Spanish exchange program.
This course focuses on language and culture through literature, paintings, and film. Students continue to reinforce grammar skills and build vocabulary throughout the year. They demonstrate their knowledge of Spanish in all four skill areas (listening, reading, writing, and speaking), and they communicate primarily in the target language. Toward this end, the course focuses on Latin American literature and culture, analyzing works by Ariel Dorfman, Isabel Allende, Julia Alvarez, Francisco Jiménez, and others. Students also have the opportunity to appreciate important Latin American painters, such as Frida Kahlo, Fernando Botero, Roberto Matta, and Diego Rivera. The course concludes with an in-depth study of the cultural, regional, and political aspects of 20th century Latin American history through cinema: Diarios de motocicleta and La misma luna, among others. All of these experiences are reinforced through activities developed in the Language Lab and the use of a variety of technological tools that build language skills. Students enrolled in Spanish IV/V are eligible for participation in the Spanish exchange program.
This course emphasizes language skills largely through discussion, focusing on speaking, listening comprehension, reading, and writing. Spanish IV AP closely follows the content, format, and expectations of the Advanced Placement exam that all students are required to take in May. Materials designed specifically for this exam form the core of the course work. Among the activities, students read a variety of short stories and novels by contemporary Spanish and Latin American authors in order to improve their reading comprehension, reinforce grammatical structure, and improve their vocabulary. Through a variety of interactive media, students are able to both listen to authentic materials, as well as produce their own in order to strengthen their interpersonal and interpretive communication skills. AP students also benefit from the Language Lab for oral and listening exercises that help them attain fluency. Students are required to take the AP exam in May. Students enrolled in Spanish IV are eligible for participation in the Spanish exchange program.
Representative Spanish and Latin American literary works are the focus of this course. The readings reflect the various genres and periods of literary history, ranging from medieval to postwar and magic realism. Students develop skills in literary analysis and increase their power to speak and write literary Spanish. Students are given many opportunities to write analytical essays and give oral presentations. The course culminates with the required AP Spanish Literature exam. Students enrolled in Spanish V are eligible for participation in the Spanish exchange program.