Foreign Language at CES
(Currently only Spanish is offered at all levels; however, as the high school grows, other foreign languages will be added.)
Foreign Language Philosophy and Overview
The teaching of foreign language at CES is congruent with the "National Foreign Language Standards and Goals," which focuses on five goal areas, "the five C's": Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities. At CES, the foreign language program addresses these goal areas and operates off the statement of philosophy originally developed in 1993 by the National Foreign Language Standards and Goals Task Force:
"Language and communication are at the heart of the human experience. The United States must educate students who are equipped linguistically and culturally to communicate successfully in a pluralistic American society and abroad. This imperative envisions a future in which all students will develop and maintain proficiency in English and at least one other language, modern or classical."
Through consistent practice and through mastery of the cultural contexts in which the language occurs, students at CES become speakers, readers, and writers of the target language.
The CES foreign language program seeks to create an environment in the classroom in which students are given the opportunity to interact spontaneously in the target language. Students think analytically and creatively, such as when describing a scenario in the target language to convey the meaning of an unknown word.
In order to communicate effectively, students are challenged to apply the vocabulary, grammar and usage, and sentence structures they have learned. While total physical response techniques are used to some degree at all grade levels, students function within an immersion environment beginning at the middle school level.
For both middle and upper schools, the six basic areas of preparation/study include language structure/grammar, word study/vocabulary, listening and reading comprehension, speaking/conversation, writing (both creative and non-fiction), and culture (content information).
However, the main goal is to promote the application of the target language through content-based learning so that authentic acquisition occurs.
In this way, CES students leave with the ability to speak the target language, not just comprehend, read, or write it. The end product of participating in a CES foreign language program is that students achieve near fluency or fluency.
Foreign Language Learning Goals
Strong Spiritual and Moral Character that Strives to Imitate Christ...is at the heart of all learning at CES. The manifestation of God in the world is evident in other cultures, and the plurality of cultures and diversity in God's world evidence His goodness.
Intellectual Curiosity and Lifelong Learning...are sparked by questioning the inner workings of a language and by gaining a deeper understanding of that language and culture. The nature of language is more accessible through the comparison of the language studied to one's own language, and the nature of culture is further revealed by foreign language instruction as comparisons are made. Distinctive points of view are particularly available via foreign language study (through the mediums of language structure, reading, writing, speaking, and culture).
Critical Reasoning, Problem Solving, and Independent Thinking...are developed as students analyze language structures and then apply what they have learned both in and beyond the school setting. Conversation is promoted as the main focus of communication, "the heart of the human experience." At CES, the learning environment is conducive to encouraging student risk-taking. If students do not use what they learn, they will never actually acquire the target language. Therefore, mistakes are invited as students embrace the risk-taking with language application. It is only through mistakes that students grow.
Effective Communications and Strong Interpersonal Skills...once again are "the heart of the human experience." Students engage in Spanish conversation to provide and obtain information, to exchange opinions, and to express emotions and feelings (in other words, to express oneself overall). Students are provided opportunities to present information and ideas to an audience of listerners, thereby developing interpersonal and presentational language skills in the target language.
Broad-based Knowledge...is sought in the demonstration of usage competence, which comes from performance in conversations, in listening and reading comprehension, and in writing. The negotiation of meaning and then response in a variety of mediums is important to overall language acquisition. Content-based learning is key to reaching the goal of broad-based knowledge. Culture is one of the main content components, along with art, politics, literature, etc. Through foreign language study and a content-based approach, students reinforce and expand their knowledge in other disciplines.