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World Languages

The World Languages Program at College Prep is immersion-based, interactive, and collaborative. 
Our lively classes infuse students with a passion for languages and cultures as they learn to communicate with confidence; many are inspired to pursue language beyond the classroom.  

Students talk, sing, discuss, and sometimes dance their way to a greater understanding of one of four languages: Latin, French, Spanish, or Chinese. Four-year programs are available in Chinese and Latin; five-year programs are available in Spanish and French. Every student is expected to read, write, and demonstrate comprehension in a language, and, in the case of Chinese, French, and Spanish, to speak that language with reasonable fluency. Advanced level courses prepare students for AP exams. Although studying through level III of one language satisfies the requirement for graduation, studying through the AP level is strongly recommended and is undertaken by most students. Placement tests are used to determine the appropriate level language class for each student.

List of 4 items.

  • Chinese

    In business, economics, politics, culture, and literature, China has taken an increasingly important role on the world stage. More people speak Chinese than any other language, and our Chinese (Mandarin) program encourages students to participate in this global conversation by providing a strong foundation in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students begin by learning the simplified characters that are used primarily in Mainland China. Students who study Chinese leave College Prep prepared for advanced language study in college and are well equipped to interact, both in writing and in conversation, with native speakers of Chinese throughout the world. 

    Chinese I 
    This beginning Chinese course focuses on developing basic listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in modern standard Chinese, using pinyin and simplified characters. Chinese I is for students who were not raised in Mandarin-speaking environments and who have had little or no exposure to the language. Special emphasis is placed on establishing a solid foundation in speaking and pronunciation.  
    Chinese II 
    Chinese II deepens the understanding of Chinese language and culture. The course makes use of multimedia teaching materials, along with appropriately challenging language materials, in order to develop intermediate listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. Simplified Chinese characters are used in class and Mandarin is the primary language of instruction.

    Chinese III
    Third year Chinese refines listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. Mandarin is the sole language of instruction, and simplified Chinese characters are used in class. Students get acquainted with a broad array of original language materials and acquire the ability to thrive in a real-world Chinese-speaking environment. 

    AP Chinese 
    The fourth year of Chinese prepares students to demonstrate their level of Chinese proficiency across three communicative modes (interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational) and five goal areas (communication, cultures, connections, comparisons, and communities). The course focuses on language proficiency while interweaving a significant amount of cultural content. All students in this class are prepared for and practice the material found on the AP Chinese Language and Culture Exam.
  • French

    The College Prep French program teaches students to listen, speak, read, and then write, in ways similar to how they learned their native language—total immersion. During the first two years, students acquire the fundamentals of grammar, essential vocabulary for basic conversation, and familiarity with French culture. After students complete the second year, literature is introduced, and France and the francophone world are studied in greater depth. After completing three years of French, students are eligible to select from several French seminars. Literary analysis, sociological interpretations of French society, essay writing, idiomatic usage, conversation, and fine points of grammar and style are integral parts of seminars, and end-of-year independent projects are often required. To supplement class work, teachers occasionally schedule trips to French plays, films, and restaurants. 

    French I
    In this introductory course, new material is presented orally and then studied in written form. Students practice their skills writing original compositions at the end of each lesson. Activities such as skits, fashion shows, and cooking allow students to use their knowledge in fun and exciting ways. Multimedia projects incorporating film, music, and computers enhance the learning process. Students master the basic syntax of the language and build the confidence and skills needed to hold an interesting conversation.

    French II 
    French II students master vocabulary pertaining to everyday situations as well as the precise uses of most verb tenses and all pronouns. In addition to oral and written exercises, skits, and activities, students write more elaborate and creative essays, applying new vocabulary and structures. During the second semester, students read their first novel, Maryse Condé’s Rêves Amers. As in French I, multimedia projects strengthen vocabulary and listening skills. 
    French III 
    French III students transition from acquiring language skills to applying these skills to the study of the literature and civilizations of francophone countries. Cultures are explored through Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt’s novel Monsieur Ibrahim et les Fleurs du Coran and the movies Indochine and Un Secret. Communicative skills continue to improve in all areas involved in language learning: oral comprehension and expression, grammar, idiomatic vocabulary, reading, writing, and creative use of the language. By the end of this course, students are prepared to take the French SAT Subject Test. 

    AP Seminar
    France: Unity in Diversity? 
    This course explores various aspects of French identity and society, including the relationship between the people and their government; immigration; underrepresented groups; the school system and whether it addresses the needs of French youth; and the country’s approach to universal health care. Course sources include a collection of articles, films, a grammar review text, novels, daily news broadcasts from French television, the internet, French radio, articles from the press, and popular songs. Activities include discussions, presentations, essays, quizzes, and tests. Each student completes an independent project on current French society and prepares for the AP French Language Exam.
  • Latin

    The Latin program gives students facility in reading Latin and an understanding and appreciation of Roman civilization. Throughout the four years of Latin offered at College Prep, emphasis is placed on the language, literature, history, and culture of the ancient Romans. All Latin classes help students learn to recognize Latin idioms in poetry and prose, capture the brilliance of literary allusion, and express their opinions within the context of current academic research. College Prep has a chapter of the California Junior Classical League, and students attend the Bay Area Ludi Octobres in the fall and the state convention in the spring. All Latin students take the National Latin Exam in March.

    Latin l
    Latin is a beautiful language. In order to access its glory, students spend their first year delving into the basics, including grammar, vocabulary, culture, and history. This course includes etymologies, legal and medical expressions, and introductory research techniques for the field of Classics. In addition to using Wheelock’s Latin as the primary textbook, supplemental stories and fables from Thirty-Eight Latin Stories and The Clay-Footed Superheroes are primary materials. 

    Latin II 
    The second year of Latin is often considered the most challenging. Students have a foundation in grammar and vocabulary, but the speed of learning begins to plateau when faced with more complex Latin structures. This requires students to focus, continue to study the basics, and remain open to the nuances of higher-level Latin. In addition to using Wheelock’s Latin as the textbook, supplemental stories and fables from Thirty-Eight Latin Stories, the Duces Romanorum reader, and other ancillary materials enhance enjoyment of, and fluency in, the language. 

    Latin III 
    The third year of Latin marks the first foray into sustained Roman literature. There is an emphasis on translation, interpretation, and historical context. Students delve into advanced Latin and learn to recognize idiomatic expressions within specific periods of history. Both prose and poetry are read in preparation for AP Latin. The year begins with transitioning into authentic prose using the Duces Romanorum reader. The main texts are Cicero’s Pro Archia Poeta Oratio, selections from Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Amores, excerpts from Apuleius’s Metamorphoses, and the gorgeous lyric Carmina of Catullus. Students explore the period from the Fall of the Republic to the Julio-Claudian Dynasty; this span incorporates the traditional periods of Classical, Golden, and Silver Latin. 

    AP Latin 
    The fourth year of Latin prepares students for university-level Classics courses as assessed by the AP Latin Exam. Readings focus on the late Republic and early Imperial periods of Roman history, delving into politics, warfare, love, and leadership. Julius Caesar’s accounts of his war in Gaul (de Bello Gallico) comprise the prose readings. Our Latin poetry comes from Vergil’s Aeneid, an epic extolling Augustus’s accession to the Principate. Students study advanced grammar, literary techniques, and interpretation skills.
  • Spanish

    With their conversational skills at the ready, Spanish students have a linguistic passport to explore almost two dozen countries and territories that conduct life in Spanish. All Spanish classes incorporate activities that draw on this wealth of cultural and linguistic variety. Spanish is learned via immersion through conversing, problem solving, debating, giving speeches, acting, and composing. After completing the third year of Spanish, students are ready to take AP seminars.

    Spanish I and II                            
    In Spanish I and II, students are encouraged to communicate orally, and, from the beginning of the course, are required to use the language in class. The primary textbooks, Bitácora I and II offer an innovative student-centered approach that develops language skills and emphasizes cultural competency. This is a highly interactive and multicultural program in which communicating and learning grammar and vocabulary are integrated into a variety of activities that include small group projects, skits, presentations, videos, songs and conversations. The text is supplemented with materials including music, film, and internet clips. In Spanish I students read a short chapter book and in Spanish II they read three short books. Both courses introduce students to the varied Spanish-speaking world and acquaint them with different accents, customs, foods, and other cultural practices.  

    Spanish III 
    The theme of Spanish III is “Creativity and Imagination.” Students continue using the Bitácora program already familiar from levels I and II. Assignments include writing poems and prose pieces of varying lengths; planning, writing, and presenting a short play; developing and delivering presentations modeled on TED Talks; and partner presentations in which students research an aspect of the Spanish-speaking world and present their findings. The class dedicates considerable time to grammar and lexical components (compound tenses, idiomatic expressions, relevant vocabulary) and to topics such as professions, food, the environment, and human rights. Media resources include articles, music, videos, and films, all of which complement the main text. Required reading includes several short stories and poems and two books about young people in contemporary Spain and Mexico. Students are prepared for the SAT Subject Test in Spanish by the end of this course.  

    AP Seminar
    Advanced Conversation, Literature, and Creative Writing        
    Students in this AP seminar acquire, refine, and practice conversational skills at an advanced level. They deepen their knowledge of, and appreciation for, the diversity of the Spanish-speaking world through a variety of readings that range from pre-Colombian creation myths to more contemporary movements such as surrealism and magic realism, to current writings from Latin American and Spanish authors. Writing assignments are primarily creative. Students are encouraged to experiment with specific literary devices and their own imaginations to more fully understand the way literature conveys ideas. Classes include discussion and debate on current issues, oral presentations, role-playing, literary readings, creative writing exercises, grammar review, and films. The class occasionally works at a local public school with Spanish-speaking children. An independent project is required at the end of each semester. 
    AP Seminar 
    Culture and Current Events in the Spanish-Speaking World    
    This AP seminar emphasizes the improvement of listening, speaking, writing, and reading comprehension skills in Spanish. Students explore, analyze, and discuss topics related to the Spanish-speaking world, its history, culture, and current events. Class discussions, papers, and oral presentations are based on films, Spanish and Latin American television and radio programs, YouTube clips, daily news, literary extracts, and music. An independent project is required at the end of each semester. Attendance at cultural events outside of class time is encouraged. 

World Languages

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The College Preparatory School

mens conscia recti

a mind aware of what is right
Photo Credit: Dan Battle, Mark Compton, Bosky Frederick, Polly Lockman, Richard Wheeler, and Jonathan Zucker.