The World Languages Department teaches the four basic skills inherent in the acquisition of a language- listening, speaking, reading, and writing. We address each of the “5 C’s” of the National Standards appropriately to the language and level: Communication, Culture, Comparisons, Connections, and Communitites. Each language offered in the department provides AP or U Conn credit in level 4 or 5.
The Department also is the home of a sequence of courses in Classical Studies, in which students read works of Greek and Latin literature in English translation; these courses are not offered for foreign language credit.
Philosophy of the World Languages Department
The study of World Languages consists of a body of knowledge that includes the vocabulary, grammatical structures, and syntax of the target language; the acquisition of receptive and expressive skills to communicate actively and passively in the target language; and elements of the culture of the target language, including history, geography, customs, arts, foods, etc.
Our philosophy of Foreign Language education is based on the statement in the Standards for Foreign Language Learning produced by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). ACTFL states that “Language and communication are at the heart of the human experience. The United States must educate students who are equipped linguistically and culturally to communicate successfully in a pluralistic American society and abroad.” (page 7). We believe that acquiring proficiency in a modern or classical language will enable students to benefit in many ways: students will gain the ability to communicate with other people in other cultures, acquire insight into other cultures, and develop the means to gain access to bodies of knowledge on their own terms and to gain greater awareness of themselves and communities. We believe that all students can succeed in learning Foreign Languages, whether modern or classical. Foreign Language education is part of the core curriculum: it is integral to the entire school experience, provides unique benefits in intellectual development and integrates students into the wider world community.
Communication in languages other than English has become increasingly important in a diverse nation and in an ever-shrinking world. Through long, uninterrupted sequences of second languages, learners acquire the skills and cultural understandings that permit them to function in a non-English speaking environment. Technological advances have provided new opportunities for learners to use their second language skills in interactions with other speakers and to learn about other cultures whether or not they travel beyond their classrooms. The study of Latin and Ancient Greek offers students the same benefits as the study of other languages except that the emphasis on oral communication is not as great.
Program Goals of the World Languages Department
In general the goals of the Department reflect the National Standards. In studying foreign languages, students will learn to:
- communicate in languages other than English
- gain knowledge and understanding of other cultures
- connect with other disciplines and acquire information
- develop insight into the nature of languages and culture
- participate in multilingual communities at home and around the world
The application of the Standards differs in the context of modern languages and classical languages. In the context of modern language instruction, students will learn to communicate in all four language skills—listening, speaking, reading and writing. Classical language instruction is primarily concerned with the ability to read Latin and Ancient Greek: the other skills areas help with the acquisition of that skill. Spanish students learn about the contemporary cultures of the Hispanic world and participate in them; classical language students learn about the ancient world and participate in the community (-ies) of Ancient Greek and Latin as the heirs of classical culture. All foreign language students gain insight into their own culture by coming in contact with those of people different from them in time or in geographical location.
Specific goals of the program include:
- To develop in the student the ability to understand, speak, read and write the target language as appropriate according to The Connecticut World Languages Curriculum Framework.
- To acquaint the student with the culture and civilization, i.e. art, music, history, literature, etc. of the target language.
- To develop an awareness and appreciation for one’s own language and culture by means of contrast and comparison.
- To promote an understanding of a diverse society through the acquisition of knowledge concerning a second language and the people who speak it, as well as the common linguistic heritage of Western Culture.
- To promote an interest in the acquisition of a second language and its usefulness in enhancing career opportunities.