Departments > Academics > Foreign Language

Foreign Languages

We believe that all students should have the opportunity to learn to communicate in a new language. Through a well-articulated, engaging program, we will guide students to increasing levels of proficiency, cultural awareness, and a passion for lifelong language learning. By making connections with other disciplines and through cross-cultural comparisons and the use of authentic materials, students will acquire the fundamental skills to succeed in a global community.

Lower School

There are four languages offered to students at the Chenery: Chinese, French, Latin, and Spanish. Before the end of grade 5, students will select one of the languages to study for grades 6, 7, and 8. In grade 6 students receive foreign language instruction in the foreign language classroom every day for two quarters (either Quarters 1 & 3 or Quarters 2 & 4). Students have reading class during the quarters when they are not studying foreign language.

Chinese, French and Spanish

Grade 6

In these courses, students begin the language learning process with emphasis on speaking and listening in the target language. The skills of writing and reading are also taught while concentrating on thematic units and specific communicative functions within those units. Students of Chinese also learn about pinyin, the pronunciation system of Chinese, and Chinese character writing. The study of the target culture is an important part of the grade 6 program, and students are encouraged to make linguistic and cultural comparisons with their own language and culture. Whenever possible, connections are made with other curricular areas. Students demonstrate their knowledge and skills through both traditional means of assessment and performance assessment, such as role-plays, dialogues, or short writing samples. The course is taught using a variety of video and audio resources, teacher-generated materials, and a textbook.

Latin

In this course, students begin studying the Latin language with the introduction of vocabulary, grammatical structures, word order, and verb tenses. Students also begin to learn about the Roman culture through the study of myths, leaders, family life, and ruins. The course is taught using a variety of video and audio resources, teacher-generated materials, and a textbook.

Upper School

In grade 7 and 8, foreign language is a major subject, and students receive instruction every day. The goal of the middle school foreign language program is the mastery of the Novice stage of language learning in order to prepare the students to successfully continue their language study at the Intermediate level at the high school. Students have the option of continuing with the same language or selecting a new language for the 9th grade.

Chinese, French and Spanish

Grade 7

The goal of these courses is to continue building on the foundation established in grade 6 in order to attain a higher level of communicative and cultural proficiency. The focus is on communication: using all four skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) to participate in meaningful exchanges of information in a variety of communicative modes: interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational. Grammar and vocabulary are taught as a means to accomplish that communication successfully. Students demonstrate their mastery of specific skills through a variety of means such as quizzes, tests, role-plays, presentations, and writing samples. The study of the target culture is integrated throughout the curriculum. Linguistic and cultural comparisons provide students with the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of their own language and culture. As students’ skills in the target language build, there are increased opportunities to make connections with other disciplines as well as to participate in communities of native speakers.

Latin

In this course, students continue to develop reading and interpreting skills they began to acquire in 6th Grade Latin. The textbooks for this course enable the students to learn new vocabulary and grammar through a reading based curriculum. Each chapter builds on previously learned material, and so the students always have the opportunity to hone their skills and improve their understanding of the Latin language. Throughout the year students are assessed on their ability to read Latin texts and understand grammar concepts. Students demonstrate their mastery of specific skills through quizzes, tests, translations and written compositions. In addition to learning grammar and syntax, students study the culture and history of the Roman people, centering on the Roman religion, government, and Pompeii. These culture units enable the students to begin to understand who the Roman people were, what their accomplishments were, how they influenced modern cultures and why it is so important to study their language.

Chinese, French and Spanish

Grade 8

These courses build on the skills and communicative goals from the previous years of study. Students are expected to integrate more grammar structures, verb tenses, and vocabulary units as the complexity and length of discourse increases. As in grade 7, students are asked to demonstrate what they know and can do with the language through a variety of achievement and performance assessment tasks.

Latin

In this course students continue to develop the reading and interpreting skills they learned in 6th and 7th Grade. Through their continued use of the textbook series, the students learn new vocabulary words and grammar forms. As in 7th Grade, student understanding is assessed through quizzes, tests, translations and written compositions. 8th Graders also continue to study the culture and history of the Roman people, centering on the city of Rome, the Roman emperors, and the Roman army. By the end of the three years of study, 8th Graders have a solid understanding of who the Romans were, why they were an important group in history and why a person would and should study the Latin language.