The Foreign Languages curriculum offers a four-year sequential program in French, German, Japanese, Spanish, and Latin. Two years of one foreign language are required for all students. Although only two are required, the vast majority of students complete four years of study in one language and many begin a second language. One may begin a second foreign language after completing two years of a first language.
The primary goal of the Foreign Languages curriculum is to help students develop proficiency skills in listening, reading, writing and speaking. It is also the goal of the department to provide students an opportunity to travel abroad during their course of study. Trips are conducted in the following languages: German, Japanese, French, Latin, and Spanish. The curriculum's purpose is to increase the student's knowledge and appreciation of diverse cultures of the countries whose languages they are learning. Perhaps the best summations of our department’s goals are made by the proposed National Foreign Language Goals and Standards:
Communication in Languages Other Than English
- Students engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions.
- Students understand and interpret written and spoken language on a variety of topics.
- Students present information, concepts, and ideas to an audience of listeners or readers on a variety of topics.
Gain Knowledge and Understanding of Other Cultures
- Students demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the practices and perspectives of the culture studied.
- Students demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the products and perspectives of the culture studied.
Connect With Other Disciplines and Acquire Information
- Students reinforce and further their knowledge of other disciplines through the foreign language.
- Students acquire information and recognize the distinctive viewpoints that are only available through the foreign language and its cultures.
Insight into the Nature of Language and Culture
- Students demonstrate understanding of the nature of language through comparisons of the language studied and their own.
- Students demonstrate understanding of the concept of culture through comparison of the cultures studied and their own.
Participate in Multilingual Communities at Home and Around the World
- Students use the language both within and beyond the school setting.
- Students show evidence of becoming life-long learners by using the language for personal enjoyment and enrichment