World Languages

High School

In keeping with our mission, the World Languages Department seeks to educate the whole person, and inspire students to honor the diversity that enriches both our school community and the world beyond St. John's. A large part of this holistic education is teaching students to communicate effectively, an important skill in our interdependent, multicultural world (course descriptions follow).

Students learn to express themselves confidently in the language they choose to study (German, Chinese, Latin, Spanish), and develop an appreciation for its culture and people. We follow the national Standards for Foreign Language Learning, referred to as the 5 Cs: Communication, Culture, Connection, Comparison, and Community.

Students are challenged according to their ability in differing levels of instruction, and they learn to apply the four basic linguistic skills: speaking, reading, listening, and writing.

Chinese 1 - Accelerated

Chinese 1 - Accelerated [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Placement exam and/or departmental approval

This is a one-year course intended to build up students’ basic conversational skills in Chinese. Hanyu Pinyin, a romanization of Chinese, is the tool for understanding the dialogues from the textbook. The students will learn basic conversational skills, talk about their family, and provide important information such as age, grade and nationality, etc. Class instruction emphasizes situational activities and performances. The course will provide instruction in all four language skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing and lay the groundwork for the study of modern Chinese. Activities designed for the course include both deductive and inductive lectures on grammatical constructions and cultural conventions as they relate to the language. In addition, intensive drills on sounds and tones, vocabulary, and sentence patterns in meaningful contexts will be used in order for the students to communicate appropriately and accurately in authentic contexts. Both pedagogically prepared texts and authentic materials will be used in this course.

 

Chinese 1 - Honors

Chinese 1 - Honors [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Placement exam and/or departmental approval

This course is designed to develop students' practical communication skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) in Mandarin Chinese from Chinese Hanyu Pinyin sound system (which is used widely in China) to authentic daily conversation. The knowledge of Chinese language will be taught through situations: greetings, family, work, countries, etc. There are a variety of activities which will be applied to this class to help students acquire their Chinese language communicative competence such as games, role play and group discussion. The textbook and workbook will establish students' solid foundation in learning Chinese character writing and character formation. Up-to-date materials and Chinese culture (festivals and customs) will also be integrated into the course content.

Chinese 2 - Accelerated

Chinese 2 - AcceleratedChinese 2 - Accelerated [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Chinese 1 Accelerated and/or departmental approval

This course will help students expand their base in first year Chinese (or its equivalent) to continue to develop their four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Many of the grammatical constructions introduced in first year Chinese will be repeated in this course with increasing sophistication in terms of style and usage. While many of the linguistic tasks students will learn to handle are similar to those of first year Chinese, the level of language required to carry out these tasks is more advanced. In this course students are required to comprehend and produce paragraph-level Chinese. Rigorous practice of spoken and written Chinese in complex communicative activities will be conducted. Students will also do intensive reading of expository writings on a variety of cultural or situational topics.

Chinese 2 - Honors

Chinese 2 - Honors [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Chinese 1 Honors and/or departmental approval

This course is for the above average Chinese speaker who has excelled in first year Chinese both in the oral and written component. This course is designed to develop student’s practical communication skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) in Mandarin Chinese. The knowledge of the Chinese language will be taught through situations: greetings, student life, phone conversation, hobbies…etc. There are a variety of activities which will be applied to this class to help students acquire their Chinese language communicative competence such as games, role plays, cultural studies and group discussion. The textbook and workbook will also establish student’s solid foundation in learning Chinese character writing and character formation. Up-to-date materials and Chinese culture (festivals and customs) will also be integrated into this course.

Chinese 3 - Accelerated

Chinese 3 - Accelerated [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Chinese 2 Accelerated and/or departmental approval

In the third year of Chinese, students will continue to develop their oral communication skills and to expand their vocabulary ability and paragraph writing with the up-to-date topics relevant to young students in a fun and interesting way. Sentence structures and grammar rules are taught through simple explanations, and reinforced with a variety of practice exercises. Students will study more advanced Chinese grammar, verb conjugations, subject and object pronouns, reference and possession and negatives. Careful pacing leads to gradual progress in language skills, with clearly focused aims for each unit, regular review, and consistent reinforcement. In Chinese Made Easy Book Three, topics continue the development of communication skills, and introduce the customs and culture of contemporary China.

Chinese 3 - Honors

Chinese 3 - Honors [1 credit]

In Chinese Honors 3, students will continue to learn the Chinese language and culture through a series of dialogues and narratives, with culture notes, language use, and grammar explanations/ exercises. A task-based teaching approach will be used to intensify students’ motivation and heighten their awareness of the learning objectives in each chapter. This will be a communication-oriented language classroom in which activities will be widely used through interactive exercises to enhance students’ skills in oral and written communication. By building effective learning strategies students will have opportunities to make predictions based on their own experience in the lesson and bring these experiences to an immersion classroom. Through exercises, students will improve their writing skills and eventually write comprehensive essays.

Chinese 4 - Accelerated

Chinese 4 - Accelerated

Prerequisites: Chinese 3 Accelerated and/or departmental approval

In Chinese Accelerated Four, students will continue to learn the Chinese language and culture through a series of dialogues and narratives, with culture notes, language use, and grammar explanations/ exercises. A task-based teaching approach will be used to intensify students’ motivation and heighten their awareness of the learning objectives in each chapter. This will be a communication-oriented language classroom in which activities will be widely used through interactive exercises to enhance students’ skills in oral and written communication.

AP Chinese Language and Culture

AP Chinese Language and Culture [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Chinese 3 Honors and/or departmental approval

The AP course prepares students to demonstrate their level of Chinese proficiency across the three communicative modes (interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational) and the five goal areas (communication, cultures, connections, comparisons, and communities) as outlined in the Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century. Its aim is to provide students with ongoing and varied opportunities to further develop their proficiencies across the full range of language skills within a cultural frame of reference reflective of the richness of Chinese language and culture. Since the course interweaves language and culture learning, this exploration occurs mostly in Chinese.

German 1 - Honors

German 1 - Honors [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Placement exam and/or departmental approval

This course introduces the student to the German language and culture. The aim is to promote proficiency in all aspects of the German language: speaking, reading, writing, and oral comprehension. In addition, discussions about German history, folklore, culture and politics acquaint the beginning student with the background against which modern German should be studied.

German 2 - Honors

German 2 - Honors [1 credit]

Prerequisites: German 1 Honors and/or departmental approval

In this course the student continues to develop and increase his proficiency in speaking, listening, reading and composition, built upon the foundations laid down in German 1. The will be conducted primarily in German, and will stress the development of both active and passive vocabulary, and more complex grammatical forms and structures. Through readings and quarterly projects, the student deepens his awareness of life in the German speaking countries. By the end of the course the student should be able to carry on a medium length conversation, write paragraphs or short letters, and read simple German stories, all with a reasonable degree of accuracy.

German 3 - Honors, Accelerated

German 3 - Honors [1 credit]

Prerequisites: German 2 Honors and/or departmental approval

This course stresses oral/aural and written communication, and reading comprehension. The students will write regular journals, class summaries, and essays, as well as give oral presentations. The major emphasis, however, is to develop the student's ability to read authentic pieces of German literature. These works represent a wide variety of genres and authors, and thereby help to deepen the student's knowledge of the history, culture, and politics of the German speaking countries. Major grammar points, including the subjunctive mood and passive voice, are treated in depth.

German 4 - Honors

German 4 Honors [1 credit]

Prerequisites: German 3 Accelerated and/or departmental approval

This course emphasizes the use of the German language for active communication and has as its objective the development of the following skills: 1) having a strong command of vocabulary and structure; 2) understanding spoken German in various conversational situations; 3) reading newspaper and magazine articles, contemporary fiction, and nontechnical writings without the use of a dictionary; 4) expressing ideas orally and in writing accurately and fluently. Course content will include a grammar text and an anthology, as well as recordings, films, newspapers, magazines, and contemporary literature.

AP German Language and Culture

AP German Language and Culture 
[1 credit]

Prerequisites: departmental approval

The AP German Language and Culture course takes a holistic approach to language proficiency and recognizes the complex interrelatedness of comprehension and comprehensibility, vocabulary usage, language control, communication strategies, and cultural awareness. It engages students in an exploration of culture in both contemporary and historical contexts.

Latin 1 - College Prep

Latin 1 - College Prep [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Placement exam and/or departmental approval

The course is the same as the Honors section, but the pace is more deliberate and aimed at building a foundation for language study.

Latin 1 - Honors

Latin 1 - Honors [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Placement exam and/or departmental approval

Latin 1 introduces students to the fundamentals of Latin grammar through readings which also stress the cultural context of the Roman world and its heritage. The first year of Latin stresses the basic concepts of form and structure of language in general. Computer-assisted instruction is an integral part of this course and students make regular use of the computer room and use software which accompanies their textbook. In addition to rigorous language study, students are exposed to the history and mythology of the Classical world and its influence on Western culture. Latin is a parent of the English language, and instruction includes a systematic study of the formation of the English vocabulary from Latin roots.

Latin 2 - College Prep

Latin 2 - College Prep [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Latin 1 College Prep and/or departmental approval

The syllabus is the same as Honors, but with a slower pace and with the review period of Latin 1 material extended into the introduction of new material.

Latin 2 - Honors

Latin 2 - Honors [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Latin 1 Honors and/or departmental approval

The second year of Latin completes the study of grammar from first year. Computer-assisted instruction is also a feature of this course; students regularly use the software which accompanies their text for self-paced study and for special assignments. The emphasis is upon the reading of continuous prose with complex sentences, the subjunctive mood and subordinate clauses. There is a continuation of the study of Classical culture, including history, mythology, archaeology, and the influence of Latin on English vocabulary.

Latin 3 - Accelerated

Latin 3 - Accelerated [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Latin 2 Accelerated or Latin 2 College Prep and/or departmental approval

In this course, students will continue to study complex and nuanced aspects of Latin grammar while reading increasingly sophisticated selections of Latin prose.  Roman history, culture and mythology will be the primary topics explored within these texts.  In addition, students will become familiar with the various contexts in which Latin and Greek appear in today’s culture, especially Legal and Medical Terminology.  Students will expand their mastery of English grammar and vocabulary through their study of Latin syntax and roots.

Latin 3 - Honors

Latin 3 - Honors [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Latin 2 Honors and/or departmental approval

This course develops skill in reading Latin prose. Along with extensive review of grammar and syntax, students read works of Cicero and other prose writers. Students are acquainted with primary source material from the ancient world, such as letters and inscriptions. These works provide the basis both for the study of style and technical aspects of language, as well as issues in Roman history. Students write a report on an area of interest in Roman culture. 382 Latin 3 Accelerated [1 credit] Prerequisites: departmental approval

Latin 4 - Honors

Latin 4 - Honors [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Latin 3 Honors and/or departmental approval

In Honors Fourth Year Latin, students will read the short, lyric poems of Catullus and excerpts from Ovid's mythological epic, Metamorphoses. Students will master two very different genres of poetry as they explore each author's work in depth. In addition to reading the poems, students will learn how to scan the meter of Latin poetry and identify poetic and literary devices. Discussions will extend beyond the mechanics of grammar and vocabulary into many aspects of Roman culture, history and literature. Students will explore the broader themes of each author through class discussion, written assignments, and close analysis of English translations of the poems.

AP Latin

AP Latin [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Departmental approval

This course follows the College Board syllabus for epic poetry (Vergil). Students read substantial portions of the Aeneid, studying the poem's language, style and technique. Course work is directed toward the AP exam in Latin, which the student may elect to take.

Latin and Greek Foundations of English

Latin and Greek Foundations of English - Honors, Accelerated [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Departmental approval (open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors)

Approximately 60% of our vocabulary is derived from Latin and Greek, and that figure rises to 90% in English words with two or more syllables. This course will introduce students to the Classical infrastructure of English with a cross-disciplinary approach, allowing students to master words
in context rather than as random elements for memorization. Students will decipher difficult words, absorb scientific and medical terminology and comprehend the nuances of legal phrases by learning not only what a word means, but also the reason why. As students trace the oftentimes circuitous route that Latin and Greek words have navigated between antiquity and the present day, they will explore Greek & Roman civilization as well as the mores and languages of the intermediary and derivative cultures. This course’s pedagogical focus and approach will encompass numerous, diverse disciplines, including (but not limited to) anatomy, chemistry, archaeology, psychology, philosophy, literature, economics, and astronomy.   A new, organically expanded and enriched vocabulary established on an understanding of Greek and Latin roots may benefit students on standardized tests, throughout college, postgraduate work and beyond.  No familiarity with Latin or Greek is required. This course does not fulfill the World Language requirement for graduation.

Spanish 1 - College Prep

Spanish 1 - College Prep [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Placement exam and/or departmental approval

This course introduces the student to the Spanish language by developing listening, speaking and writing skills. Stress will be placed on the aural/oral skills with emphasis on expressions used in practical situations. Through readings and dialogue, basic cultural differences among Spanish-speaking countries will be presented.

Spanish 1 - Accelerated

Spanish 1 - Accelerated [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Placement exam and/or departmental approval

This course is designed for the above-average student with good language ability. It provides a fast-paced and intensive introduction to the Spanish language as a means of communication. Special emphasis is placed on conversational skills. Cultural readings and exercises in composition will be included. Spanish becomes the primary language of the instructor as the student progresses.

Spanish 1 - Honors

Spanish 1 - Honors [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Placement exam and/or departmental approval

This course is designed for the student who has a very strong background in elementary Spanish. It provides a fast-paced review of the basic structure of the Spanish language and introduces intermediate grammar and vocabulary as well. Conversational skills are enforced through the use of Spanish as the primary language in the classroom.

Spanish 2 - College Prep

Spanish 2 - College Prep [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Spanish 1 College Prep and/or departmental approval

This Spanish course emphasizes Spanish grammar. The student will be responsible for the conjugation of regular and irregular verbs in all the tenses of the indicative mood. In the imperative mood, the student will study the commands in the formal and informal persons. Reading selections will be employed which demonstrate the use of the various indicative tenses. In the latter stages of the course, the student will be introduced to the subjunctive mood in the present tense. As students build a solid foundation in Spanish, the listening, speaking and writing skills will be stressed.

Spanish 2 - Accelerated

Spanish 2 - Accelerated [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Spanish 1 Accelerated and/or departmental approval

The second year Spanish accelerated stresses aural/oral communication and the essentials of Spanish grammar. Emphasis is placed on the study of regular and irregular verbs in the nine indicative tenses, the formation and use of the present and imperfect subjunctive tenses in noun and adjective clauses, and the imperative mood. The course also introduces many important cultural and historical events of Spanish history in the New World through various reading selections.

Spanish 2 Honors

Spanish 2 Honors [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Spanish 1 Honors and/or departmental approval

This advanced course emphasizes aural/oral communication and the grammatical essentials of the Castilian language. Emphasis is placed on the study of the orthographic and radical changing verbs, a mastery of all nine tenses of the indicative mood, the imperative mood and the formation of the present and imperfect subjunctive tenses and their use in noun and adjective clauses. In order to reinforce the use of these concepts of grammar, the students will read various selections which stress the cultural and historical aspects of the Spanish experience in the New World.

Spanish 3 - College Prep

Spanish 3 - College Prep [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Spanish 2 College Prep and/or departmental approval.

This course examines important cultural aspects of a variety of Spanish-speaking countries. Students will read, write, and speak about the Hispanic culture while using appropriate grammar and vocabulary studied throughout the course in order to express themselves. Hispanic Cinema will be viewed in an attempt to understand the major political happenings of the twentieth century. Frequent oral presentations and compositions will aid in deepening knowledge in these areas. Classic examples of representative literature and art will be studied in the second semester.

Spanish 3 - Accelerated

Spanish 3 - Accelerated [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Spanish 2 Accelerated and/or departmental approval.

This is an intermediate level Spanish class. The objectives of this course are to reinforce and strengthen oral/aural skills in the Spanish language, and to further develop and reinforce vocabulary and grammatical structures through extensive reading and writing assignments.

Spanish 3 Honors

Spanish 3 Honors [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Spanish 2 Honors and/or departmental approval

This advanced level course stresses aural/oral communication, grammar, literature, and composition. Its objective is threefold: to introduce the short story, poetry, and novels which are masterpieces of Hispanic literature written by major Peninsular and Latin American authors; to demonstrate the use of advanced Spanish grammar in literature; and to enable the student to employ this advanced grammar in creative compositions and conversation. In the second semester, students will read a novel in Spanish and write a guided research paper. Conducted in Spanish.

Spanish 4 - Accelerated

Spanish 4 - Accelerated [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Spanish 3 Accelerated and/or departmental approval

In this course, the student refines his oral expression, utilizing all of the grammatical points of the previous three years of study. This knowledge is augmented daily by new vocabulary and expressions which are introduced in literary readings from the text. These readings serve as points of departure for class discussions which are conducted in Spanish. Regular review of the more difficult grammar points provides the student with the opportunity to improve his writing skills. Frequent essays further reinforce these skills. Throughout the year, students will improve their speaking skills through directed conversations, situational role-playing, and oral reports. Music, films, and television news clips are utilized to refine listening skills.

Spanish 4 Honors

Spanish 4 Honors [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Spanish 3 Honors and/or departmental approval

In Spanish 4 Honors the student is introduced to outstanding examples of the great literature of the Spanish - speaking world through diverse literary genres. For example, fables, short stories, poetry and excerpts of famous novels. The students discuss the readings daily in class in the target language and then write compositions about them. Grammar is reviewed as needed to improve their writing. Weekly oral presentations on various topics help the students with their fluency. Art and Music units are integral parts of this course. Films from Spain and Latin america are also presented to the students throughout the year.

Spanish 4: Conversation, Cinema, and Literature

Spanish 4: Conversation, Cinema, and Literature - Honors [1 credit]

Prerequisite: Spanish 3 Honors, Spanish 3 Accelerated and/or departmental approval.

This course is designed to further develop and improve oral fluency through discussion of various literary works and historical and contemporary socio-political events of the Spanish-speaking.  In the first semester, students will read classic and contemporary pieces of Hispanic literature and compare/contrast them with the film/movie version in order to hone speaking skills and become familiar with these masterworks of the language.  In the second semester, students will view films from different Spanish-speaking countries in an attempt to understand their specific political/social problems while paying special attention to the role of the dictator, economic and class divisions, the poor and marginalized, and the role of women.  Students will explore these themes through the use of literature, cinema, and other multi-media to facilitate extemporaneous and planned conversation.  Frequent oral presentations, both individual and in groups, will be assigned. Conducted in Spanish.

AP Spanish Language and Culture

AP Spanish Language and Culture [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Departmental approval

AP Spanish Language is intended for students who wish to develop their proficiency and integrate their language skills, using authentic materials and sources. Students should already have a basic knowledge of the language and cultures of Spanish-speaking peoples and should have attained a reasonable proficiency in using the language. This course will prepare students to demonstrate proficiency across the three communicative modes and the five goal areas outlined in the Standards for Foreign Language in the 21st Century. This course is meant to be comparable to fifth and sixth semester college or university courses that focus on speaking and writing in the target language at an advanced level (AP Course Handbook). Conducted in Spanish.

AP Spanish Literature and Culture

AP Spanish Literature and Culture [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Departmental approval

The AP Spanish Literature course is designed to provide students with a learning experience equivalent to that of a third-year college survey course in Peninsular and Latin American Literature. The course is designed to introduce students to the formal study of a representative body of Peninsular and Latin American literary texts (AP Course Handbook). Students will study and apply literary theory and terminology to representative genres in an attempt to compare, contrast, and relate similar themes discovered in the literature; moreover, the students will use literary criticism in order to explore the more detailed elements of a text as well as to support analytical writing assignments. Oral presentation on critical essays, authors, and historical/literary periods will be assigned to aid in the understanding of the representative works. Writing strategy will be reviewed in an attempt to prepare students for the AP Spanish Literature Exam and upper-level college literature/culture courses. Conducted in Spanish.

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