Middle School Foreign Languages
The Country School’s foreign language program is implemented in the middle school with two major objectives. The first is to teach comprehension of Latin and Spanish through practice in reading and translation. The second is to develop, through these readings and translations, students’ understanding of the social history and culture of the people of ancient Rome, Spain and the Americas. By integrating culture with the grammatical development of each language, our Foreign Language Program teaches not only the skills of reading, translating and comprehension, but also an understanding of our multicultural world.
Students’ studies of vocabulary, grammar, syntax and cultural context in Latin and Spanish are arranged in a systematic way to provide them with the skills needed to read and translate with comprehension and enjoyment.
Teachers use strategies of speaking, listening and writing. The first teaching strategy is to have the students speak the target language by reading aloud small passages. Students then learn by listening to Latin and Spanish spoken aloud by the teacher and/or other students. Finally, students write meaningful phrases and sentences in the acquired language, based on patterns they have seen in their textbooks. This variety of teaching strategies actively engages our students and accommodates a variety of learning styles so that all students may succeed.
Students demonstrate their understanding of Roman, Spanish and Latin-American culture and the effects they have in their own language and culture. In addition, students research aspects of historical events and connections with their social studies teacher. Research projects integrate book learning with technology, in class and in the school’s library. In this way, students expand their knowledge of other disciplines including history, government, economics, geography, law, art and architecture.