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World Languages

The World Languages program at College Prep is immersion-based, interactive, and collaborative. 
Lively classes infuse students with a passion for languages and cultures as they learn to communicate with confidence. The Department’s primary goal is to inspire students to pursue language beyond the classroom.  

Students talk, sing, discuss, and sometimes dance their way to a greater understanding of one of four languages: Chinese, French, Latin, or Spanish. 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. College Prep’s Mandarin Chinese 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, tones, and general pronunciation.
     
    Chinese II 
    This course deepens the understanding of Chinese language and culture. Intermediate listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills are developed using multimedia teaching materials, along with appropriately challenging language materials. 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 
    Who was Confucius, and how has his philosophy influenced how Chinese people think and live? What are the major traditional Chinese holidays, and how do people celebrate? What is a typical day for a high school student in China? These questions and more are answered through readings, films, discussions, and presentations. Students compare various norms and practices that distinguish and connect the Chinese and American cultures, all while continuing to build their vocabulary and understanding of grammar. This course is conducted in Chinese. 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 conversation, and familiarity with French culture. After students complete the second year, authentic literature is introduced, and France and the francophone world are studied in greater depth. After the third year, students are eligible to enroll in the French seminar. Literary analysis, sociological interpretations of French society, essay writing, idiomatic usage, conversation, and fine points of style are integral to each seminar. 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 language acquisition skills to the study of the literature and civilizations of francophone countries. Culture is explored through materials such as Anne-Laure Bondoux’s novel Le Temps des Miracles, Maryse Condé’s Le Coeur à Rire et à Pleurer, and the film Indochine. 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 French Seminar
    From Nouvelle Vague to Zombies: What Movies Tell Us About Us 
    This course explores various aspects of French identity and society through French cinema. Does cinema reflect the socio-political context of its time? Does art mimic or amplify reality? How does it compare to the American experience? Students explore the changing political and cultural landscape of France through its “7ème art” from pre-World War II to today. Course sources include a collection of articles, films, a grammar review text, novels, French radio, articles from the press, and popular songs. Activities include discussions, presentations, and essays. 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 as well as an understanding and appreciation of Roman civilization. All Latin classes emphasize the language, literature, history, and culture of the ancient Romans. From the beginning of the program, students learn to recognize Latin idioms in poetry and prose, capture the brilliance of literary allusion, and express their opinions within the context of academic research. College Prep’s Latin Club supports students in their deep dive into the material. All Latin students take the National Latin Exam in March, and those who choose to take AP Latin are prepared thoroughly for the examination in May. 

    Latin l
    Latin is a beautiful language. To access its glory, students spend the first year delving into the basics, including grammar, vocabulary, culture, and history. This course also includes etymologies, legal and medical expressions, and introductory research techniques for the field of Classics. Wheelock’s Latin is the primary textbook, with supplemental stories and fables from Thirty-Eight Latin Stories. 

    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, Duces Romanorum, 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. Translation, interpretation, and context are emphasized. 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 a transition 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, as well as Catullus’s gorgeous lyric Carmina. 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, and is a thrilling survey of the glory days of Rome.

    AP Latin
    This course uses two main texts, Julius Caesar’s De Bello Gallico and Vergil’s Aeneid, and prepares students for university-level Classics courses as assessed by the AP Latin Exam. The fall of the Res Publica, in all its drama, is contrasted with the rise of Augustus’s glorious Principate. Concepts such as pietas, leadership, the role of the gods, and love flow throughout these works, and class discussions center on the narrative and its themes. The study of grammar, syntax, vocabulary, and analysis are expanded, with more in-depth literary interpretation. 
  • 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, speech making, 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 each 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. 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 music, film, and internet clips. 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.” Activities include writing poems and stories as well as reading, writing, and presenting a short play about La Casa de Mango Street. Students develop and deliver presentations modeled on TED talks. Course topics include professions, relationships, food, science, technology, the environment, and human rights. The main course textbook is Imagina and other course sources include films, articles, music, and podcasts. Students are required to attend a Hispanic cultural event in the Bay Area and write a review of their experience. By the end of this course, students are prepared for the SAT Subject Test in Spanish.

    AP Spanish Seminar: Literature and Human Rights
    In the face of rampant human rights violations, how can literature engage with social justice? Through selected readings from Spain and Latin America, ranging from pre-Columbian myths to current fiction and poetry (including excerpts from Don Quijote de La Mancha and the genre of magical realism), this course explores how literature is a powerful and enlightening force in calling attention to and denouncing human rights violations. Students in this seminar acquire, refine, and practice conversational skills at an advanced level. Class activities include discussion and debate on current issues, oral presentations, role-playing, creative writing exercises, and films. The class also works at a local public school with Spanish-speaking children.

    AP Spanish Seminar: A Study of Place: Culture, History, and Life in the Hispanic World
    How does the interplay between geography and human relationships shape a place’s culture and language? This seminar focuses on the history, society, and traditions of places in the Hispanic world, such as Machu Picchu, México-Tenochtitlán, and Havana’s seafront. 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 and attendance at cultural events outside of class time is encouraged. 

World Languages

List of 6 members.

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.