Foreign Language

Sarah Aguilar-Francis, Department Chair

It is the primary goal of the Foreign Language Department to enable students to communicate successfully in at least one language other than English. The acquisition of a second language will allow the students to develop a clear understanding and appreciation of the cultures of the people whose language they are studying and to establish intelligent connections and comparisons between those cultural manifestations and ours in the United States. In a world of instant communication and global markets, it is difficult to imagine a profession, job, career or leisure activity that will not be enhanced by the ability to communicate sensitively and effectively in more than one language. Because we believe that every Penn Charter graduate should be prepared to function effectively in the present and future global conditions, the study of a foreign language is a graduation requirement.

The curricula for each of the four languages Penn Charter offers follow the Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century, which are more commonly known as the five Cs: Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons and Communities. Furthermore, student progress is determined by using the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Proficiency Guidelines. In order to ensure that students develop fluency, the primary language of instruction in modern language courses is the target language (i.e., Chinese, French or Spanish). In contrast, English tends to be the language of instruction in the Latin classroom.

Graduation Requirements:

Students must complete three consecutive levels of the same foreign language in the Upper School. A Penn Charter student who begins formal foreign language studies in the seventh grade is required to study that language until the end of the sophomore year, or he/she may begin the study of another language upon entering the Upper School.

Advanced Placement and Electives:

All students at Penn Charter are encouraged to pursue the study of a foreign language past the graduation requirements and/or to begin the study of another language after meeting the graduation requirements in their first language. Students with a particular interest in language are encouraged to study more than one language at the same time if their schedule permits. Advanced Placement courses and other elective courses are offered for students to continue their language education past the graduation requirements. Proper placement in the course will be based on a student’s performance, the teacher’s recommendation and the guidelines for enrollment in each course.

For the 2017-2018 school year, the Latin and Spanish programs will continue to offer traditional Advanced Placement and advanced topics courses. In Chinese and French, students will have the option of signing up for one advanced level V course. Pending departmental approval, interested and motivated students will have the opportunity to prepare for the Advanced Placement examination in Chinese or French Language.

Course Offerings:

The Foreign Language Department offers a well designed sequence of courses in all languages: Chinese, French, Latin and Spanish. It is important to note that the school’s ability to offer any course depends directly on the number of students who enroll. Penn Charter reserves the right to cancel a course if student enrollment is deemed too low, or if staffing needs require a course cancellation.

Chinese French Latin
Spanish

 

Chinese

Mandarin Chinese is the official language of the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), and one of the official languages of Singapore. Approximately 1.3 billion people, or one-fifth of the world’s population, speak a version of Chinese as their native language. At Penn Charter, students learn Mandarin Chinese using a story-based approach that immerses them in the language while making it easy to understand. Students also learn to read and write simplified Chinese characters. While at Penn Charter, students may also have the opportunity to take part in an exchange program with partner schools in China.

L110
CHINESE, LEVEL I
(2 UNITS)   ALL YEAR

This introductory language course immediately immerses students in Chinese through the use of stories. The teacher and students work together to create simple stories that make the language comprehensible, interesting, and memorable. Listening to and reading these stories provide students with the practice that they need in order to develop a natural feel for the language. Emphasis is placed on teaching high-frequency words and structures related to daily life so that students can quickly begin to communicate in Chinese. Students narrate events, describe people and things, and express their own opinions in basic language. They learn to read and write simplified characters, and by the end of the year can write their own stories. A variety of games are used in class to solidify students’ grasp of the language. At the completion of this course, students will achieve proficiency levels of novice high as defined by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

L210
CHINESE, LEVEL II
(2 UNITS)   ALL YEAR

In this course, students continue their work with a variety of stories. They master more grammatical structures, improving their ability to describe, narrate, compare and explain. Students also expand their vocabulary related to topics such as school life, sports, hobbies, clothing and weather, allowing them to communicate in more depth about their daily lives. At the completion of this course, students will achieve proficiency levels of intermediate low as defined by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Prerequisite: Chinese, Level I.

L310
CHINESE, LEVEL III
(2 UNITS)   ALL YEAR


In this intermediate course, the overarching theme is travel, with a focus on using Chinese to accomplish real-life tasks. Students practice navigating around cities, shopping and bargaining, ordering food and celebrating holidays. Videos, images, podcasts and songs help bring the culture to life, and a Chinese novella provides extensive reading practice. Students completing this course will achieve proficiency levels in the intermediate low to intermediate mid range as defined by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Prerequisite: Chinese, Level II.

L410
CHINESE, LEVEL IV
(2 UNITS)   ALL YEAR

In this upper-intermediate class, students delve deeper into Chinese culture. Students explore topics in Chinese geography, climate and cuisine, researching and reporting on various cities in China. Students also discuss the many facets of high school and family life. They learn to share their own experiences and opinions in greater depth, and they investigate what life is like in China and compare it to the United States. Images, videos, songs, podcasts and news stories are used to help students understand these social topics in greater depth. Students completing this course will achieve proficiency levels in the intermediate mid to intermediate high range as defined by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Prerequisite: minimum grade of B in Chinese, Level III and/or departmental approval.


L510A
CHINESE, LEVEL V ADVANCED
(2 UNITS)   ALL YEAR

 

In this advanced class, students explore contemporary Chinese societal issues. The focus is on increasing students’ understanding of contemporary China alongside their language skills and exploring topics from multiple perspectives. Students learn how these issues affect the daily lives of Chinese people, and they compare and contrast common Chinese experiences with American ones. Images, videos, songs, podcasts and news stories help students understand these social topics in greater depth. Students completing this course will strengthen their ability to communicate in the intermediate mid to intermediate high range of proficiency as defined by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Prerequisite: minimum grade of B in Chinese, Level IV and/or departmental approval.

French

L100   
FRENCH, LEVEL I
(2 UNITS)   ALL YEAR

The French I course is designed to help students discover and explore the basics of French as it is used in the francophone world. Students will engage in simple interactions about their immediate environment and will respond to different situations that they experience in their day-to-day lives. They will be able to talk and write about themselves and ask for information. The course emphasizes active communication and cultural awareness through task-based learning and the use of authentic materials. Course content incorporates authentic videos and other online resources. At the completion of this course, students will achieve proficiency levels of novice mid to novice high as defined by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

L200   
FRENCH, LEVEL II 
(2 UNITS)   ALL YEAR

The French II course builds on skills students mastered in French I by introducing more interpersonal communication and a broader range of topics. The course uses a task-based, communicative approach that keeps students in an active learning position. Students will be able to understand written and spoken information related to personal relationships, family, shopping, their surroundings and work from a variety of different francophone perspectives. Students will communicate in more complex exchanges with a focus on writing more advanced stories in the past, as well as communicating clearly when speaking about everyday tasks. Students will build their language skills when provided with scaffolding of additional vocabulary and verb tenses to finesse their speaking and writing skills in French. Over the course of the year, students are led to master all past tenses in French, and they are also introduced to many additional grammatical concepts. Course content is developed and supported by selected texts of varying difficulty, videos and additional online resources. At the completion of this course, students will achieve proficiency levels of novice high to intermediate low as defined by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Prerequisite: French, Level I.

L300   
FRENCH, LEVEL III 
(2 UNITS)   ALL YEAR

The French III course is designed to bring students to a basic degree of independence. Students will be able to understand a much greater variety of written and spoken information presented in clear, standard French. They will also be able to meet their needs in most communicative situations with a native speaker. Students will be able to communicate in both writing and speaking on a variety of topics and about their own interests. Over the course of the year, students will review past tenses and explore in detail the uses of the subjunctive, as well as the conditional. Course content is developed and supported by short stories, a reader, a variety of audio recordings and videos, and online resources. At the completion of this course, students will achieve proficiency levels of intermediate low as defined by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Prerequisite: French, Level II with a passing grade and departmental approval.


L400    
FRENCH, LEVEL IV  
(2 UNITS)   ALL YEAR

The main objective of this course is to expand students’ autonomy in the French language past the intermediate level in all four skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing. Students further their study of French by reading and discussing two novels, watching original French movies, and listening to and reading other authentic materials. Throughout the year, students will continue to advance their knowledge of the French language and various francophone cultures. Students will be able to compare and contrast these various cultural perspectives with their own, here in Philadelphia. Students will continue to work with pronouns and all verb tenses, and they will also finesse their use of the subjunctive in speaking and in writing. At the completion of this course, students will achieve proficiency levels of intermediate low to intermediate mid as defined by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Prerequisite: minimum grade of B+ in French, Level III and/or departmental approval.

L500A    
FRENCH, LEVEL V ADVANCED 
(2 UNITS)   ALL YEAR

This course explores topics in French and French-speaking cultures and literature, including work, immigration, relationships and materialism. Students will have the opportunity to view and study these topics through the prism of film, literature, songs and contemporary media. The course will foster advanced writing and speaking skills, as well as further listening and reading comprehension. Students will be assessed on a hybrid model of traditional assessments and individually chosen portfolio assignments. Class will consist of discussions, listening activities, speaking exercises and discrete grammar topics on a need-to-review basis. Those students who choose to take the AP French Language Exam will be enrolled in the course for two semesters and will prepare to take the exam developed by the College Board. Prerequisite: minimum grade of B in French, Level IV and/or departmental approval.

Latin

L140
LATIN, LEVEL I
(2 UNITS)   ALL YEAR

In this course, students will be introduced to the basic principles of the Latin language. They will read and comprehend simple Latin text, demonstrate knowledge of grammar appropriate to their reading level, and make connections between Roman and present-day culture. Through a series of entertaining stories, the class will follow the lives of Roman families and their children as they come of age during the first century C.E. Connections between Latin and English will enrich the students’ understanding of vocabulary and grammar. In addition to exploring the language of the Romans, students will also have the opportunity to examine the history, culture, art and artifacts of the Classical world.

L240
LATIN, LEVEL II
(2 UNITS)   ALL YEAR

This course builds on the foundations of Latin grammar and vocabulary established in Latin, Level I. Students will translate Latin stories and deepen their knowledge of Roman life and culture, enabling them to read colorful texts about Roman family life and the broad scope of the Roman empire. In their vocabulary studies, students regularly learn new Latin words and their English derivatives, drawing connections to other fields of study whenever possible. In addition, the study of Latin grammar will enable students to better understand English and the Romance languages. Prerequisite: Latin, Level I.

L340
LATIN, LEVEL III
(2 UNITS)   ALL YEAR

In Latin III, students will expand their knowledge of Latin grammar and hone their translation skills. Their ability to read more advanced passages of Latin will prepare them to examine authentic Latin texts. Selected passages will allow students to explore exciting stories from mythology and Roman history. The acquisition of new vocabulary related to the readings will be emphasized, as well as relevant cultural connections between the ancient and modern world. Prerequisite: Latin, Level II.

L440
LATIN, LEVEL IV
(2 UNITS)   ALL YEAR

Students in Latin IV will study the political realities of the waning days for the Roman republic, including the civil wars that marked the transition from democratic rule to empire. Students will read primary sources in Latin, including selections from Julius Caesar's memoirs and letters exchanged by some of the key political players of the period. In the second semester, students will learn the basics of Latin poetic meters and figures of speech while reading selections from Vergil’s epic poem, the Aeneid. Prerequisite: minimum grade of B in Latin, Level III and/or departmental approval.

L740A
ADVANCED TOPICS IN LATIN
(2 UNITS)   ALL YEAR

This course will give advanced Latin students the opportunity to explore Roman poetry from the late Republic and early Empire. The first part of the course will be dedicated to the study of the Roman lyric poet Catullus. Through a close reading of several poems, students will examine many significant themes of Latin Neoteric poetry, including love, friendship, social mores and writing. They will discern and analyze the composition of Latin lyric poetry through an examination of the meter and figures of speech employed by Roman authors. Students will also read several stories of transformation from Ovid’s epic mythological poem The Metamorphoses and explore key passages from Vergil’s Aeneid. In addition to reading Latin text, students will do projects in which they examine the themes of Latin poetry and its impact on art, literature and music throughout history. Prerequisite: minimum grade of B in Latin, Level IV and/or departmental approval.

L840
AP LATIN
(2 UNITS)   ALL YEAR

In AP Latin, we will devote the entire year to an in-depth study of two Roman authors, one prose writer (Caesar), and one poet (Vergil). We will read selections from Caesar’s De Bello Gallico, the collected reports about his campaign in Gaul, and will also study the history of the Roman republic in its declining years. For the Vergil section of the course, we will read excerpts from the Aeneid, lingering over many of the epic’s most compelling passages, including the description of the fall of Troy and the account of Aeneas’s ill-fated love affair with the Carthaginian queen Dido. Our class conversations in AP Latin will revolve around some of the dominant themes of Roman literature: the discord between personal choice and civic obligation, filial piety versus individual inclination, and the brutal martial reality involved in establishing and maintaining an empire. This course prepares students to take the College Board Advanced Placement Exam in Latin. Prerequisite: minimum grade of B in Latin IV and/or departmental approval.

Spanish

L160
SPANISH, LEVEL I
(2 UNITS)   ALL YEAR

It is the objective of this beginning course to introduce the students to the basic principles of the Spanish language. Students will develop all four skills (listening comprehension, speaking, reading and writing). At the end of the year, students will be able to participate in a short conversation in Spanish and read simple narratives in this foreign language using the present tense to a high degree of proficiency. In the cultural aspect of the course, the students will be introduced to the many and different Spanish-speaking countries. Listening and speaking exercises, the textbook website and a video program will supplement this course. At the completion of this course, students will achieve proficiency levels of novice mid to novice high as defined by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

L260   
SPANISH, LEVEL II 
(2 UNITS)   ALL YEAR

This course is a continuation of Spanish, Level I. Students will further develop listening, speaking, reading and writing skills and deepen their understanding of grammar, vocabulary and culture. Emphasis will be placed largely on the past tenses of the indicative mood. This increased knowledge of grammar combined with a more extensive vocabulary will strengthen the students' ability to communicate in Spanish, specifically to be able to narrate events and stories in the past. Classes will incorporate various readings, including short stories and newspaper articles. Students will also listen to and analyze songs, watch authentic video clips, write short compositions and engage in regular classroom discussions. In addition to a more advanced understanding of Spanish at a linguistic level, students will examine the geography, history and arts of the Spanish-speaking world. At the completion of this course, students will achieve proficiency levels of novice high to intermediate low as defined by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Prerequisite: Spanish, Level I.

L360  
SPANISH, LEVEL III 
(2 UNITS)   ALL YEAR

This course builds on the foundation of linguistic and cultural knowledge gained in Spanish I and II. Students will learn the remaining tenses of the indicative mood and develop a fundamental understanding of the subjunctive mood. They will also continue to build vocabulary through longer and more advanced readings, as well as discussion of historical and contemporary issues. Students will begin to express more complex ideas both in writing and speech, demonstrating their own feelings and opinions in a more concise manner. Emphasis will also be placed on several cultural topics related to the Hispanic world, which students will examine at an in-depth level. Students completing this course will achieve proficiency levels in the intermediate low to intermediate mid range as defined by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Prerequisite: Spanish, Level II.

L460
SPANISH, LEVEL IV
(2 UNITS)   ALL YEAR

This course provides further practice for students interested in refining their skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing. It is designed to provide an active learning experience while encouraging independent thinking and stimulating class discussion in Spanish. As such, through further exposure to authentic sources such as videos, current events articles and short stories, students will continue to explore current themes such as family and personal relationships. In addition, current themes such as immigration, indigenous communities and the role of

women will be explored in depth as they relate to the Spanish-speaking community as well as the global community. Students will also be given opportunities through various assignments to explore aspects of the Spanish-speaking world that interest them most. Class discussion will be an integral component of this course and students will be expected to fully engage with their classmates and teacher in order to make connections with the content as well as maximize their use of the target language. It is the objective of this course to continue developing students’ proficiency of the Spanish language in the intermediate level in all four skills of second language acquisition: listening comprehension, reading comprehension, speaking and writing. Prerequisite: minimum grade of B in Spanish, Level III, demonstration of appropriate skill level on placement evaluation and/or departmental approval. Preference given to rising juniors.


L460A   
SPANISH, LEVEL IV ADVANCED 
(2 UNITS)   ALL YEAR

It is the main objective of this course to further develop students’ knowledge of the Spanish language past the intermediate level in all four skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. The conclusion of the study of the subjunctive mood and other grammatical points of the Spanish language and the acquisition of thematically organized vocabulary will enable the students to read and write with a high level of proficiency. Listening comprehension activities and oral presentations will develop students’ abilities to understand and to speak Spanish with fluidity. The reading selections for the course will be short stories written by well-known authors from the Hispanic world, supplemented by a variety of cultural activities as well as by Internet research projects. In preparation for AP Spanish, students in this class will be required to write short essays on a variety of topics and to record themselves speaking on a regular basis. This course is conducted exclusively in Spanish, and the students are required to communicate in the target language at all times. Prerequisite: minimum grade of B+ in Spanish, Level III demonstration of appropriate skill level on placement evaluation and/or departmental approval. Preference given to rising juniors.

L760A   
ADVANCED TOPICS IN SPANISH
(2 UNITS)   ALL YEAR

This course provides further practice for students interested in improving their skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing. The textbooks Imagina (2015 edition), Revista (2014 edition), and Words and Actions: Teaching Languages Through the Lens of Social Justice (2014) are used as aids to provide an active learning experience while strengthening language skills. Each lesson presents a discussion topic, which is supplemented by various readings, videos with native speakers and a film at the end of each unit to encourage independent thinking and stimulate class discussion, as well as broaden vocabulary and improve grammar in context. Students will also be exposed to current events articles in order to explore current themes as they relate to the Spanish-speaking community as well as the global community. As such, class discussion will be an integral component of this course, and students will be expected to fully engage with their classmates and teacher in order to make connections with the content as well as maximize their use of the target language. Students will also be given opportunities through various assignments to explore aspects of the Spanish-speaking world that interest them most. One of the primary goals of this course is to aid students in becoming global citizens, an essential 21st century learner skill. In addition, a service-learning component forms an integral part of this course. Regular attendance at the service site, maintaining journal entries, and a final project will be key elements of the service-learning component. Prerequisite: minimum grade of B in Spanish, Level IV and/or departmental approval.

L860   
AP SPANISH
(2 UNITS)   ALL YEAR

This course is designed to help students develop a high level of proficiency in each of the four skills of second language acquisition: listening comprehension, reading comprehension, speaking and writing. It is intended to be equal to a fifth or sixth semester college class, and will focus on integrating each of these skills to ultimately communicate both verbally and in writing at an advanced level. This course is conducted exclusively in Spanish and the students are required to communicate in the target language at all times. Throughout the year, the students will be exposed to authentic audio and video recordings that are intended for native speakers. Furthermore, they will study the current events of Spanish-speaking countries and read many types of written texts, including magazine and newspaper articles, poems, and an array of short stories written by famous Latin American and Spanish authors. Students will also prepare to take the AP Spanish Language exam developed by the College Board. Prerequisite: minimum grade of B+ in Spanish, Level IV Advanced and/or departmental approval.

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Penn Charter

A Friends School for Girls and Boys, Pre-K to 12

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