Modern Languages

Philosophy

Upper School students are required to study at least one foreign language (including Latin) through Level III. French and Spanish courses are available through the Advanced Placement level and qualified students have the opportunity to pursue language even further via an independent study. Upper School classes in French and Spanish continue the immersion method begun in the Middle School years. Students are expected to commit themselves to developing oral fluency as well as proficiency in reading and writing. Toward the latter goal, literary works in all genres are read, and written work is regularly assigned.

FRENCH

Form III: French II
This course builds on previous work in French and continues to emphasize the oral tradition as well as the acquisition of vocabulary, expressions and the fundamental principles of grammar. Vocabulary is drawn from a variety of sources, including short stories, songs and texts related to culture and history. In terms of grammar, the major verb tenses/moods are covered with particular emphasis on the forms and uses of the imparfait and the passé composé. Students also learn how to build more complex sentences through the study of object and relative pronouns. Text: Materials are drawn from a wide variety of sources.

Form IV: French III
French III students are expected to gain an understanding of intermediate French grammar and verb tense structures. Emphasis is also placed on vocabulary enrichment and increased cultural awareness. This is achieved by continued focus on the development of the four basic skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. Students are asked to write frequently in French, and once in English in a two- to three-page report on French history. Students are expected to master basic written French. Text: Discovering French, textbook and workbooks; French III Years

Form V: French IV
This course continues to focus on the four components of language: reading, writing, speaking and listening. A wide variety of cultural and geographical information pertaining to the various peoples and places of the French-speaking world, as well as vocabulary and idiomatic expressions, are presented. In terms of grammar, the goal of the course is a detailed review of structure; it is assumed that students have a solid grasp of the fundamentals of French grammar. Though discussions of complex grammatical information are sometimes conducted in English, students are otherwise expected to express themselves, both orally and in writing, exclusively in French. Text: Materials are drawn from a wide variety of sources.

Form VI: Advanced French
The course focuses on preparing students for college courses in French. This course is designed to review the history of France from ancient Gaul to the present day. As each period unfolds, students examine not only landmark historical events and famous people, but also achievements in literature, arts, science and history. Students continue to work on language skills with the intention of developing ease in language through reading and study of magazines and newspapers, as well as through seminar discussions, oral reports and tapes. Students enrolled in this course traditionally sit for the Advanced Placement exam. Mastering French Vocabulary; Selections from novels; En Bonne Forme; AP French Manuals.

Independent Study
This course is offered to boys who have completed Advanced French and who desire additional study in advanced literary, cultural and grammatical topics. Conducted entirely in French, this class meets once a week. In rare instances a student may be allowed to take an independent study concurrently with Advanced French.

SPANISH

Form III: Spanish II
This course builds on previous work in Spanish and continues to emphasize the oral tradition as well as the acquisition of vocabulary, expressions and the fundamental principles of grammar. Vocabulary will be drawn from a variety of sources, including short stories, songs and texts related to culture and history. In terms of grammar, the major verb tenses/moods are covered with particular emphasis on el presente perfecto del indicativo and the forms and uses of the pretérito and the imperfecto. Students also learn how to build more complex sentences and questions through the study of object, possessive, interrogative, relative pronouns, comparatives and superlatives, and rules of the infinitive. Lastly, students will also complete a major project during the course of the year on the Mexican Revolution. Text: Descubre 2 textbook, workbook, and supersite.

Form IV: Spanish III
This course is designed to enhance the student’s skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Students should be able to understand most Spanish (if it is spoken at a slower than normal pace), answer and ask questions on a variety of everyday topics, read almost any simple Spanish text, and write at a level comparable with their speaking skills. From a grammatical perspective, emphasis is placed on reviewing previously studied tenses and incorporating the imperative mood and the present and imperfect subjunctive mood. Information on the various cultures of the Spanish-speaking world, famous people of Hispanic descent and relevant movies are interwoven throughout the course.

Form V: Spanish IV
The ultimate goal of this course is the integration of all language skills: oral and written comprehension and speaking at an advanced level. Students expand their cultural knowledge and vocabulary through poetry, short stories and drama by authors from all over the Spanish-speaking world, while fine-tuning their listening skills. In terms of grammar, the goal of the course is a detailed review of structure; it is assumed that students have a solid grasp of the fundamentals of Spanish grammar. Though discussions of complex grammatical information are conducted in both Spanish and English, students are otherwise expected to express themselves, both orally and in writing, exclusively in Spanish. Text: Sueña 3rd edition; textbook, workbook, and supersite.

Form VI: Contemporary Topics in Spanish and Latin American Literature and Film
This course is for students who have completed study in Spanish IV. The course introduces students to the formal study of a representative body of texts and films from Peninsular Spain and Latin America. In addition, the study of literature and film is alternated with the study of current events. The overarching aims of the course are to provide students with ongoing and varied opportunities to further develop their proficiencies across the full range of language skills - with special attention to critical reading and analytical writing- and to encourage them to reflect on the many voices and themes included in a rich and diverse body of literature written in Spanish. Also, students will acquire the technical vocabulary necessary for advanced literary analysis in Spanish. Themes will include: family relations, gender construction, societies in conflict.

Advanced Seminar: Themes in the Spanish- Speaking World
In this course, students use their advanced language skills to explore selected aspects of the Spanish-speaking world. They read about, listen to, and view traditional and new media in Spanish in order to gain insights and reflect on themes such as media, politics, current issues, history, geography, art, film, music, science and technology. The focus is on how these themes are unique to each part of the Spanish-speaking world and inform its culture. In addition to periodic oral and written assignments and assessments throughout the year, students are required to complete a long-term multimedia project on a particular topic of interest, and present it to the class. Preparation proceeds through several guided steps over a number of weeks. Each student or group of students: (1) selects a tentative topic and discusses it with the teacher for feedback and approval; (2) submits an outline of the presentation for review and comment by the teacher; (3) submits a draft presentation for review and comment; (4) finalizes and makes the presentation to the class. The Advanced Seminar class is designed for students who have outstanding skills in the language. Students focus on perfecting their writing skills comparable to a rigorous College level course. Textbooks: Intrigas, Letras  

Independent Study
This course is offered to boys who have completed Advanced Spanish and desire additional study in advanced literary and cultural topics. The course is conducted entirely in Spanish and meets once or twice a week. In rare instances a student may be allowed to take an independent study concurrently with Advanced Spanish.