The World Language program in the middle school offers the study of both classical and modern languages beginning in 6th grade. Through the study of world languages, middle school students develop an understanding of the structure of language and a wider perspective of their ever changing world. In classical studies, students focus on the reading and writing of Latin in order to gain an understanding of the linguistic and cultural heritages derived from the world of Ancient Rome. Through the study of French and Spanish, students develop skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing, as well as a knowledge and appreciation of other cultures. The goal of the modern language program in the middle school is to empower students to communicate successfully in today’s multilingual world. In every World Language classroom, middle school students experience immersion into other cultures through food, music, art, literature, publications, film, and other media.
Sixth grade students take one semester of Latin and may choose to study French or Spanish in the other semester. Seventh grade students may choose to study French, Latin, or Spanish. Eighth grade students take a level I upper school language course in French, Latin, or Spanish.
Grade six French is a transitional language course bridging the students’ language experience in the lower school to the more formal college preparatory study of French in the middle and upper schools. Sixth grade students will continue to develop their skill in speaking and listening comprehension, while beginning emphasis will be placed on spelling, grammar and reading. An important step will also be to develop their study skills, especially when it comes to note taking, memorization, organization, preparation for tests and presentations. The students will be exposed to many aspects of francophone cultures worldwide through readings, movies, songs and Internet researches. Basic class commands will be spoken in French.
Spanish 6 is a transitional course, allowing the students to practice the basic Spanish they have learned in the Lower School, and to transfer their previously acquired knowledge to more sophisticated structures of Spanish. In addition, the students learn different idiomatic expressions from various Spanish-speaking countries. They are expected to use their Spanish orally and to demonstrate accurate spelling in the written language. The students learn more about Hispanic Culture and create an original project for the Spanish Culture Fair which they put on for their Pre-K buddies.
Latin, as an introductory course, focuses on the “phenomena” common to western languages and on the workings of language in general, using Latin as the vehicle to that end. A linguistic approach is used; that is, the student experiences the process of language and learns a method of dealing with language studies. A rudimentary knowledge of the system of language facilitates language learning in general. Great care is taken in selecting concepts which are central not only to the understanding of Latin grammar, but which, at the same time, are directly transferable to English and other languages. Additionally, the course emphasizes an awareness of Greek and Roman civilization and its impact upon our world.
Seventh Grade: 7th graders take an introductory level of the language of their choosing (French, Spanish, or Latin)
Introduction to French/Spanish/Latin
Seventh Graders begin the first level of French, Spanish, or Latin and complete one-half of the standard high school French I/Spanish I/Latin I curriculum. Upon successfully completing the Seventh Grade program, Eighth Graders study the second half of the standard French I/Spanish I/Latin I curriculum. Seventh and Eighth Grade world language courses are termed IA and IB, respectively. Students successfully completing French IB, Spanish IB, or Latin IB receive one high school world language credit.
In Spanish and French, a communication-oriented approach is used. Students attain proficiency in the skill areas of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. They also develop an awareness of the language’s culture. The primary objectives this Latin class are to comprehend the language for reading purposes as well as to enhance the knowledge of classical civilization. Students also enrich their vocabulary daily through the role of Latin roots in English derivatives.
Eighth Grade: 8th graders take an upper school level I of the language of their choice (French, Latin, Spanish)
The French I course develops the student’s oral communication skills in the French language by stressing vocabulary, correct pronunciation, and basic grammatical structures of increasing complexity. Students read and comprehend passages that focus on cultural affairs in France and in French-speaking countries. The course develops writing skills, from the simple sentence to paragraph compositions in French.
The Latin I course develops awareness and mastery of Latin grammar. The course stresses proficiency in a language based on endings rather than word order. Vocabulary building is fundamental. Latin forms and endings are practiced and drilled daily. While the ultimate goal is translating sentences from Latin to English, there is practice in translating from English to Latin. A classical pronunciation is used. The class emphasizes the impact of Greek and Roman civilization on literature, culture, and art.
In Spanish I, students begin to communicate in Spanish with other people who speak the language. They are also introduced to Spanish and Hispanic culture. Students listen to and read Spanish in order to interpret meaning and to convey their own ideas through speaking and writing. Class activities include whole group questions and answers, pair and small group activities, the writing of paragraphs, and the reading of authentic materials. Videos featuring native speakers are also used.