Philosophy, Goals, and Objectives of the World Languages Department
Language and communication are at the heart of the human experience, whether communication takes place face-to-face, in writing, or across the centuries through the reading of literature. Our students must have the linguistic and cultural skills to communicate successfully in a pluralistic society at home and abroad. All students should develop a level of proficiency in at least one other language. All students should study language and culture in an integrated fashion, beginning in elementary school and extending through their entire school experience. Whatever their heritage, there is an opportunity for students to gain an understanding of themselves and others through the study of another culture.
The organizing principle in today’s modern language classroom is communication, which highlights how (grammar) and what (vocabulary and content) as well as why, to whom and when (social and cultural aspects of language). While grammar and vocabulary remain essential tools for communication, learning to use a second language in meaningful and appropriate ways is the ultimate goal of Modern Languages instruction.
As we aligned our curriculum to the Learning Results, we struggled with the term “mastered.” In almost no case do we feel that students master most aspects of a language in a four year sequence of study. We decided that we were more comfortable with the term “proficient,” which more accurately reflects the skills of a high school student in SAD # 1 who has studied a language beyond level two.