Modern Languages, Level I-III
Oral proficiency is the basis for all modern foreign languages. Each modern language course emphasizes listening, speaking, reading, writing, study of target cultures, and basic language concepts. Students in Level I courses learn to produce words and phrases needed for real-world situations, building a lexicon of vocabulary while mastering simple conversational nuances as well as grammar and syntactical patterns. Students in subsequent courses, Levels II and III, build upon the knowledge obtained in Level I to listen, speak, write and read the target language at increasing levels of expertise and proficiency. Students are introduced to more challenging tasks and must demonstrate mastery of more complex grammar and syntactical structures as they hone their speaking and writing skills. Level III focuses on listening comprehension as students are exposed to a greater variety of spoken samples from the world of the target language. Students learn to approach reading comprehension samples at an increased level of understanding and analysis.
Modern Languages IV
Modern languages, Levels IV and AP, are intermediate/advanced courses. Focal points for each modern language course at this level include: listening (native speaker samples), speaking, reading (sophisticated literary pieces as well as current articles), writing (extemporaneous as well as formal), studying related cultures and history, and continued mastery of grammar and syntactical patterns and concepts. These courses are conducted in the target language. Students must demonstrate oral as well as written proficiency in the classroom and in the community.
The Advanced Placement courses offer college level work for the high school student who is ready in maturity, motivation, and thorough preparation. The curriculum of each A.P. course must be approved by College Board, and the A.P. teacher has taken extensive course work in order to fully prepare the students for the consequent AP language exam. The courses are strenuous and require a great deal of effort on the part of the student, both in and outside the classroom. The exam itself is a challenging one, as its “pay-off” can be quite rewarding: success (a score of 3, 4, or 5) may allow the student to place out of all required foreign language study (two years of classes as well as labs, so potentially as many as 16 semester hours of college credit.) Students who are considering taking the class should consider several factors:
- How many other AP/PreAP courses am I taking?
- Do I have a full or part-time job?
- What other demands are there on my time?
- How well-prepared am I? (Have I thoroughly mastered the prerequisite course work?)