World Languages

Two girls pointing to a map of France on an interactive whiteboard

The world languages curriculum at the middle school and high school offers courses in both modern world languages (Spanish and French) and a classical world language (Latin). According to the Academic Standards for World Languages as proposed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, there are three areas that students should understand: communication, culture and community. While the basic areas are the same, the goals and purpose of learning a modern world language are different from learning a classical world language.

Modern World Languages

The study of modern world languages allows students to:

  • 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 economy
  • 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 from modern world languages focuses on developing communicative competence. Students should be able to speak, listen, read and write in the target language, and should develop presentational, interpersonal and interpretational proficiencies as they progress through the curriculum.

Classical World Languages

The study of classical world languages:

  • gives access to two of the world's great literature 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.