World Languages

The upper school world language department aims to help students develop language skills, with an emphasis on communication in the modern languages, and cultural awareness. Through exploration of diverse cultures, our students gain a greater understanding and practice of compassionate global citizenship and discover lifelong passions.

Spanish Courses

Spanish I

Students develop basic speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills for the purpose of self-expression about daily activities. Grammar and vocabulary are taught in a cultural context.

Spanish II

In a review and continuation of content taught in Level I, students will study additional vocabulary and grammar, in a cultural context, with the goal of developing fluency.

Spanish III

In Spanish III, students review and refine the basic skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening comprehension. Grammar is reviewed and extended as are vocabulary and culture. Authentic examples of Hispanic literature are read and discussed in Spanish. Building fluency is the goal of this course.

Spanish IV

A culmination of the previous three levels, with great emphasis in speaking, listening, reading, writing, and culture. Students review and refine language skills through grammatical practice. Reading skills are enhanced through authentic literature, such as the short stories of Spain and Latin America. Also, students use a variety of media: newspapers, magazines, essays, and videos, to explore life in Hispanic cultures.

Spanish V

Spanish V provides an excellent opportunity for students to enhance their Spanish skills. This course is based on improving speaking skills through dialogues, comprehension questions, patterns, and vocabulary expansion. Students can build their Spanish skills through literary analysis, discussion, and composition. Literature of Spain and Latin America will be discussed. Students have an option to challenge themselves in AP Spanish.

French Courses

French I

In this beginning French course, mastery of listening and speaking skills and development of reading and writing complement each other. Emphasis is placed on using the language for self-expression. Introduction to elementary grammar, basic vocabulary, and the daily life and culture of France and the francophone world are taught.

French II

This course continues to develop the four basic linguistic skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Through a study of new vocabulary, verb tenses, and grammar, the student increases his or her range of fluency. An emphasis of French culture is the francophone community.

French III

French III is an intermediate course that provides the opportunity to make use of and build on, in conversation and in writing, what has been learned in the first two levels. Increased mastery of the language leads to improved self-expression. There is a review of French grammar as well as study of more advanced concepts. The study of civilization and culture includes a study of French history and French artists. Students read Le Petit Prince, a French classic, at the end of the year.

French IV

This advanced course has a two-fold purpose: first, to continue progress with the student’s linguistic skills in speaking, listening, writing and reading; and, second, to develop the student’s understanding and appreciation of French culture as manifested in literature and contemporary culture. Students will read literary works and discuss contemporary issues.

French V

A fifth year of French is offered to capable and interested students. The course is designed to meet the needs of the particular group, including the study of literature, history, culture, and advanced grammar review. Students may elect to prepare and take the AP French Language and Culture exam, which requires competency in the integration of reading, writing, listening and speaking, as well as cultural knowledge.

Mandarin Courses

Mandarin I

This course is an introduction to the Chinese Pinyin Romanization system and basic conversational Mandarin Chinese structures. Students learn the following: rules of phonetic spelling, tones, and pronunciation; basic sentence patterns for daily use; introduction to Chinese characters (creation and evolution, stroke order and structure), and language related Chinese culture. By the end of the course, students are expected to know the basic sound system and simple sentence structures, conduct daily conversation in simple Chinese, and read and write short passages with an active vocabulary of about 250 simplified Chinese characters.

Mandarin II

Mandarin II is a continuation and further development of the Chinese Pinyin Romanization system and conversational Mandarin Chinese structures: sentence patterns that help students carry on simple conversations in Chinese on a considerable range of topics; the Chinese character writing system, sentence composition and development of language skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Computer skills with Chinese programs and simplified Chinese character input will also be included. By the end of this course, students are expected to have a good command of the Pinyin system, have rudimentary knowledge of Chinese writing system, communicate in some real-life situations in a Mandarin-speaking environment, and read and write with an active vocabulary of 500 simplified characters.

Mandarin III

This course reinforces language skills developed in Mandarin I and II and is a transition to more advanced materials with a focus on life and cultural values in China. The course will review and complete basic grammar and key sentence patterns of Chinese, provide practice in the appropriate use of idiomatic expressions, and further develop skills in reading and writing Chinese characters. It will also build vocabulary, expand reading comprehension, and encourage extensive conversation in Mandarin. Students will continue to practice computer skills with Chinese programs. By the end of this course, students are expected to apply better pronunciation and tones as well as fluency in speaking, communicate more and better in real-life situations in a Mandarin-speaking environment, acquire a better knowledge of the Chinese writing system, and read and write with an active vocabulary of 800 simplified characters.


Mandarin IV

Mandarin IV is an intermediate course for students who have had at least three years of Mandarin learning experience. It is an expansion on pronunciation and more elaborate and extensive Chinese grammar and vocabulary. Students will continue to develop language proficiency at the intermediate level. Students will improve their Chinese language skills and knowledge of the culture with an emphasis on reading and writing. Topics include education, food, direction, social life, and literature. Upon completion of this course, students are expected to apply better pronunciation and tones as well as fluency, achieve intermediate level of communicative skills, have a better knowledge of Chinese writing system, and read and write with an active vocabulary of 1200 simplified characters.

Mandarin V

Mandarin V is designed for students to apply their growing cultural knowledge of communicative tasks. Throughout the course, students hone their language skills across the three communicative modes: interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational. In doing so, they develop necessary knowledge of the Chinese language, including pronunciation, vocabulary, idiomatic expressions, grammatical structures, and written characters. Authentic materials and teacher-prepared texts are used as learning materials in addition to other texts. Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to initiate and sustain two-way communication with native speakers of Chinese in culturally appropriate ways; comprehend a wide variety of oral and written texts, ranging from the formal language used in news broadcasts, advertisements, signs, posters and announcements made in public places to colloquial language found in movies and television dramas, newspapers, magazine articles, contemporary literature, letters, and essays; compose e-mails or personal letters as part of back-and-forth communication with other Chinese speakers; and create a level-appropriate speech, produce a newscast or video with comprehensible pronunciation and tones and write narrative stories or reports. Students will perform extensive computer keyboarding skills throughout the course.


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