Choosing a language

Middle School -- French or Spanish?

The middle school offers instruction in two world languages, French and Spanish, with an emphasis on the ability to communicate. Students entering middle school in Grade 6 select the language they will study for their three years in middle school. The curriculum focuses on language functions - what you know and are able to do - and is based on the state frameworks and national foreign language proficiency guidelines. The students are also learning about the culture and history of countries where those languages are spoken, and making connections to the world around them. At each grade level students develop their four basic language skills - speaking, listening, reading, and writing - and use audio, video, and Internet resources to build their skills. Students who wish to study Mandarin in the high school have the opportunity to begin Mandarin in 8th grade.

Why study Spanish?

Why study French?

High School -- French, Spanish, Latin or Mandarin?

The World Languages Department at Needham High School offers courses designed to meet the academic expectations of a persified student body. Students may continue studying a language they studied in middle school or begin learning a new language.

If a student began studying French or Spanish in middle school and wants to continue studying that language at Needham High School, then the student should select Spanish II or French II. Students who took Mandarin in 8th grade should select Mandarin II. The level of the course (the last digit of the course number: 1, 2, or 3) depends on the student's learning style, ease of acquisition of language and desire for academic rigor. In general, level 1 students acquire language quickly, incorporate new vocabulary and language structures into existing knowledge with ease, are strong in all four language skills (reading, listening, speaking and writing), recognize and correct errors easily, and look for outside opportunities to use and learn the language. Level 1 courses are excellent preparation for the Advanced Placement course. Level 2 students benefit from more repetition to learn new vocabulary and language structures, need more practice to recognize and correct errors, and have one or two language skills in which they are stronger. Level 3 students benefit from a lot of practice and repetition of language, both new concepts and existing vocabulary, and are stronger in listening and speaking than in reading and writing.

If a student wants to begin studying a language which is new to him or her, the student should elect one of the first year courses. The student should choose the level based on his or her ability in their first language (see above description of levels). Students must meet the high school graduation requirement by taking two years of study in the same world language. Students who want to become proficient in the language by graduation should study the same world language for four years in high school.

All courses focus on communicative proficiency, cultural understanding and making linguistic connections. All courses make use of the language lab. All courses above the introductory level are taught in the target language.

Why Study Latin?

Why Study Chinese?

Needham High School world language students and teachers have created a video to tell you more about the high school program. Check it out!

Choose Your Own World Language Adventure Video:

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