Welcome to the World Languages Homepage
To understand the approach to the CSD World Languages Curriculum, it is first necessary to recognize the difference between Modern World Languages and Classical World Languages, for the goals and purposes are not always the same. According to the Academic Standards for World Languages as proposed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, there are three areas in which students should understand or perform. These areas include COMMUNICATION, CULTURE, and COMMUNITY. The descriptions of the standards in these areas for Modern World Languages are different from the description for Classical World Languages.
The study of modern world languages can foster the ability of students to do these tasks:
- communicate and interact with people in the target language
- improve their understanding, and sensitivity, to cultural similarities and differences
- develop an appreciation for cultural difference
- succeed in an ever-changing and competitive global community
- enter into a diverse workplace and/or continued education
- improve critical thinking and problem solving skills
- engage in life-long learning
- participate in the local, national and world communities
The philosophy, therefore, in teaching modern world languages is developing communicative competence. Students should be able to speak, listen, read and write in the target language, and should develop proficiency as they progress through the curriculum. Since the curriculum is proficiency based, each course has as a benchmark achieving a certain level of proficiency as described by the ACTFL guidelines
The study of classical world languages:
- gives access to two of the world's great literatures and cultures, Greek and Roman
- radically improves English vocabulary, since 2/3 of modern English is Latin based and modern technical vocabularies are derived from Greek and Latin
- helps students learn the structure of English grammar, improving their written and spoken communication.
- Classical world language curriculum, unlike its modern counterpart, is not proficiency oriented. Those who study a classical language try less to communicate orally with each other, and more with the ancient authors and cultures, primarily through reading. While the emphasis is on reading, both traditional and newer teaching methods stress pronunciation, reading aloud, recitation and short spoken dialogues as important aids to learning.
The World Language Curriculum for the Colonial School District is based on the Pennsylvania Proposed Academic Standards for World Languages (Pennsylvania Department of Education), The ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines (The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages), and the Advanced Placement Curriculum for Languages and Literature (The College Board).
The CSD World Languages Curriculum is organized in an outline form with the outline numbers corresponding to those of the Pennsylvania Proposed Academic Standards for World Languages. Both the modern and classical world language curriculums are subdivided into the three areas of Communication, Culture, and Community. For modern world languages, communication is further sub-divided into three modes: interpersonal, interpretive and presentational.
SEQUENCING AND AGE APPROPRIATENESS
The CSD World Languages Curriculum establishes what students will be able to do at designated benchmarks, Levels 1 through Advanced Placement, throughout their middle and/or high school career.
In order to enroll in a course, students must either have successfully completed the previous level of instruction or have demonstrated the required proficiency designated in the course description. Because students may begin formal language learning at various stages of development, content and vocabulary may be adjusted to reflect age appropriate interests.
Course levels do not correspond to a student's grade level. Any student may begin study of a world language at any point in their academic career. Course levels offered at the middle school and the high school do correspond, and therefore if a student successfully completes a course at the middle school, that student should enroll in the next course in sequence at the high school. In the case of block scheduling, a student may study two course levels within one academic year if they choose to take a world language in both the fall and spring semester.
USE OF TARGET LANGUAGE
From the onset of language instruction, the use of the target language as the principal means of communication in the classroom is essential (with regards to modern world languages). Teachers must use instructional strategies that allow and encourage students to practice using the target language. Central to this concept is a student-centered classroom with the teacher in the role of facilitator. The goal of the language instruction is to have students use the target language for specific communicative purposes. In this context, grammar becomes a means to accomplish the defined content standards rather than a content standard in itself.
USE OF TEXTBOOKS, RESOURCES AND TECHNOLOGY
The most common tool available to modern language teachers is the textbook; however, it should not dictate the curriculum. Whenever possible, teachers should access and use authentic materials.
Teachers are strongly encouraged to use the ever-expanding resources available on the Internet and other media sources as enrichment as well. Culturally authentic materials that add relevance to linguistic and cultural components of language study are readily accessible.
As set forth in the national standards, an important component of language classes is the use of the language beyond the classroom in the real world. The integration of technology is an important tool that can facilitate this goal by allowing students to access authentic information in the target language and in providing students with the opportunity to interact with native speakers.
The language laboratory located in Plymouth Whitemarsh High School is a technology tool designed to meet this end. All teachers are encouraged to utilize this resource, and students are expected to become familiar with its use.
Another valuable resource to the world language program is the school to school exchange program. Students from foreign countries visit the high school during the academic year and interact with language learners of all levels. Native speakers at students' same age level provide an invaluable resource for learning and practice. Students also have the opportunity to study abroad through this exchange and have a complete immersion experience.
World Language teachers should view assessment as an ongoing practice with both formative and summative opportunities as well as continuous measurement of performance growth. Assessment serves to direct instruction, and provide both student and parent feedback. The World Language Department has developed rubrics that teachers should use to provide consistent feedback to students as they progress through the curriculum. The department also has common final assessments to assure that students are placed in the appropriate instructional level.
Grades 9-12 World Languages