Languages

Middle School language courses offer a broad introduction to language learning and culture. The courses develop the students’ speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills, introduce basic grammar concepts, and begin to lay the foundation toward proficiency in the target language. As preparation for communication in real-life situations is stressed, teachers design tasks and activities to give students opportunities to use the language in a variety of meaningful ways. The courses promote cultural understanding and discovery and enrich the students’ understanding of English and its associated cultures, as well as of other native languages and societies. The program also includes activities related to the process of studying a second language. A system of formative assessment guides students in meeting learning and performance goals.

Middle School students typically complete a three-part series (Levels A, B, and C) in grades 6-8.* The pace of the Middle School sequence allows for greater exploration of topics and cultural themes, as well as development of general study skills and good practices for language learning. Upon completion of the Level C course in Middle School, students will be placed into an Upper School course appropriate for their level of preparation.

*Students entering with an advanced background in a particular language may seek placement beyond the beginning level.

Courses in this department:

Chinese A, B, C

Students learn the basics of Chinese language, in both its spoken and written (traditional and simplified) forms. The program aims to foster a love of Chinese language and culture within a proficiency-based curriculum and to build cultural competency. Students are guided in acquiring language-learning strategies. Activities include songs, games, skits, cooking, field trips, and interacting with native speakers. Calligraphy is incorporated in the curriculum. Technology and the Internet are used as tools. Formative and summative assessment techniques are employed to measure student learning as set out in the National Standard for Foreign Language Learning.

French A, B, C

Students learn basic conversational skills, fundamental grammar, and vocabulary and undertake level-appropriate reading and writing activities. In addition to general study skills, students practice memorization techniques, recognition of cognates, and pattern identification. Supplemental materials introduce students to how the language varies in different parts of the world, as well as among native speakers in the United States. Students learn songs and poems, write and perform short skits, play games, cook traditional dishes, complete a variety of cultural and linguistic projects, and celebrate holidays and customs of the Francophone world.

Spanish A, B, C

The Middle School Spanish curriculum is designed for students to explore the language in a three year sequence, which provides a foundational knowledge that is comparable to two full years of Upper School study. Students learn basic to intermediate conversational skills, fundamental grammar, and vocabulary and undertake level-appropriate reading and writing activities, while making natural comparisons to their own language and culture. In addition to general study skills, students practice memorization techniques, recognition of cognates, and pattern identification. Supplemental materials introduce students to how the language varies in different parts of the world, as well as among native speakers in the United States. Students learn songs and poems, write and perform short skits, play games, cook traditional dishes, complete a variety of cultural and linguistic projects, and celebrate holidays and customs of the Hispanic world.