World Languages

In the Department of World Languages, students pursue a rigorous and practical study of one of three major world languages – Chinese, French or Spanish – in addition to the study of Arabic as a Foreign Language. Keeping in mind the objectives of an AP curriculum and following the recommendations of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for foreign language teaching and learning, the department has established a pedagogical structure based on three main levels of communicative competency: basic user, independent user and proficient user.

In accordance with an action-oriented approach that considers languages preeminently as tools for social interaction and communication, instruction and assessment are proficiency-based, centered on the integrated performance of the four traditional language skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. In addition, these courses underscore the role of culture and the tacit aspects of non-verbal aspects of communication within a linguistic system. Advanced coursework includes the study of literary texts and literary analysis in the vernacular.

In order to provide students with as much exposure to the language as possible, classes are taught in the target language from the most basic level onwards. Finally, each year, selected students may participate in a summer study-abroad program, affording them the opportunity to immerse themselves fully in the culture of their chosen language.

Courses in this department for 2017-2018:

Elementary French I-101, Elementary French I-102, Elementary Spanish I-101, Elementary Spanish I-102, Elementary French II, Elementary Spanish II

These courses aim to enable beginners and breakthrough-level students, respectively, to become basic users of these foreign languages. For this purpose, these courses look to develop students’ abilities from the very beginning in three dimensions: as social agents; students progressively acquire the knowledge and skills that allow them to carry out basic tasks relating to immediate needs and to participate in simple social interactions exchanging information on everyday activities and personal issues, as intercultural speakers; students start familiarizing themselves with basic elements of the new cultural system conveyed by the target language and begin to build their intercultural awareness, and as autonomous learners; students are taught how to use strategies and techniques that allow them to plan and control their learning process. Methodologically, both course levels aim to familiarize students from the very first stages with a task-based approach to foreign language teaching and learning.

The main focus of coursework is on bringing authentic communicative contexts into the classroom and using the foreign language as a tool for completing real tasks and for real communicative purposes.

Note: Elementary French and Spanish I-101 are for total beginners who have not taken any French or Spanish previously, while Elementary French and Spanish I-102 are for students who have either taken the languages before but for a short period of time, or students who have been unable to pass the placement test to the level above. Elementary French and Spanish I-102 help such students review and strengthen their knowledge and basis of the languages and    give structure to their fragmentary and dispersed knowledge, while also building on their communicative competency through the integration of the four skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing).

 

Elementary French I-101, Elementary French I-102
Elementary Spanish I-101, Elementary Spanish I-102

Course length: One year for complete and false beginners

 

Elementary French II
Elementary Spanish II

Course length: One year for breakthrough-level students

Intermediate French I, Intermediate Spanish I, Intermediate French II, Intermediate Spanish II

These courses lead to the achievement of the threshold level – the lowest level of general foreign language ability that is academically recognized. Students who reach this level in French or Spanish dispose of the minimal means needed to transact the business of everyday life and to make social contact with those they meet, for example, while traveling in a country where French or Spanish is the native language. These courses aim to broaden students’ linguistic, cultural and strategic knowledge and skills to enable them to carry out less simple tasks relating to needs that go beyond basic survival and that embrace a larger array of communicative settings. Students also learn how to deal with basic intercultural situations and how to identify their language learning needs as well as those resources and strategies that may help them in the process of “learning to learn.”

Task-based learning activities (e.g. establishing classroom rules, relating anecdotes about a trip, inventing a gadget to solve an everyday-life problem, editing a newspaper, participating in a debate on the future of the environment, etc.), which require the actual use of the target language, reflect the communicative expansion that the T-Level represents and strengthen students’ motivation by providing them with an immediate sense of accomplishment and utility. For basic users, these intermediate courses represent two successive stages leading to the completion of the next level of communicative competency.

 

Intermediate French I

Course length: One year 
Prerequisite: Elementary French II

 

Intermediate Spanish I

Course length: One year 
Prerequisite: Elementary Spanish II

 

Intermediate French II

Course length: One year 
Prerequisite: Intermediate French I

 

Intermediate Spanish II

Course length: One year 
Prerequisite: Intermediate Spanish I

AP French

AP French focuses on developing student proficiency in the language and aims at preparing students for the different components of the AP French Exam which they are expected to take in May upon completion of the course. The objectives of the course are:

  • The development of student fluency in oral description of a picture or a scene, and opinion making and giving in a limited timeframe. The aim is to have students gather and utilize all their oral communication skills in a short time, obliging them to use their full potential in speaking.
  • The ability to complete a text with missing words or logical links, which can only be reached through extensive reading in the target language in addition to the observation of the language structures in authentic documents and texts (literary extracts, press articles, etc.).
  • The improvement of student writing skills as this is a major part of the AP Exam. In order to give students a comprehensive understanding of what is expected from them in the AP Exam, the course stresses self-assessment regarding students’ own production and according to precise criteria that help them know where they stand in the grading scale for the exam.

Course length: One year
Prerequisite: Intermediate French II

AP Spanish

The course aims to enable students to become fully independent users of the Spanish language. They have at their disposal an expanded range of grammar and vocabulary as well as greater control of discourse, conversational strategies and wider socio-cultural awareness. This allows them to be more flexible in dealing with the unexpected and with the normal complexities of daily living. Therefore, an important part of coursework focuses on exposing learners to various kinds of oral and written texts (articles, reports, interviews, TV debates, documentaries, movies, literary extracts etc.) on contemporary topics, which involve argumentation and expression of opinion. Accordingly, the syllabus is flexible and open to negotiation to accommodate the specific interests of students. Listening and reading comprehension activities are integrated into task-based projects that stress writing skills (e.g. elaborating the electoral program of a new political party, preparing the presentation of a product). Students gradually realize a more nuanced vision of Hispanic cultural references. This course is a combined level and prepares students for the AP Spanish Language Exam.
Course length: One year
Prerequisite: Intermediate Spanish II

Elementary Chinese I

This course is designed for students who have no prior knowledge of the Chinese language, and is intended to train students in using basic Mandarin Chinese both orally written. Students are initially introduced to pinyin — a more simplified Romanization of the written language — and basic strokes as guides for pronunciation and writing. Pinyin is gradually replaced as students become familiar with Chinese characters and vocabulary. Chinese culture is an integral part of this course.
Course length: One year

Elementary Chinese II

This course aims to expand conversational skills, reading practice and grammatical constructions. The course develops students’ reading and writing skills and emphasizes effective spoken communication. Pinyin is gradually omitted. Chinese culture is continually taught as an integral element of the course program.
Course length: One year
Prerequisite: Elementary Chinese I or an equivalent proficiency

Intermediate Chinese I

This course continues to focus on the expansion of conversational skills, reading and writing practice and grammatical constructions. The use of Chinese characters takes over the use of pinyin. Cultural components represent a significant part of the course content.
Course length: One year
Prerequisite: Elementary Chinese II or an equivalent proficiency

Intermediate Chinese II

This course builds on skills learned in Intermediate Chinese I and works to build confidence in speaking and writing. Students learn how to use complex sentence constructions to describe a variety of situations about the world around them.  Pinyin is used only for learning how to pronounce new vocabulary, otherwise all reading and writing is in simplified characters.  Cultural norms and Chinese history are also investigated.
Course length: One year
Prerequisite: Intermediate Chinese I or an equivalent proficiency

AP Chinese

AP Chinese is a new course at King's Academy, breaking new ground in raising students' proficiency and fluency in the language. The course culminates with the students sitting for the AP Chinese Exam in May. As preparation for this examination, students engage in intensive work targeting all four critical areas of learning a language: speaking, reading, writing and listening. In addition, in keeping with the goals of the AP course, there is a heavy emphasis on understanding and appreciating culture from Chinese-speaking parts of the world. 

Students utilize a variety of textbook materials to continue to develop their understanding of grammar and vocabulary. In addition, they engage with the language in a variety of real-life settings, from conversations, notes, interpreting scenarios to excerpts from movies and television shows. The emphasis is on interpreting and summarizing main points and details, while also being able to infer contextualized information according to each situation. Students also work on expressing themselves in more realistic and comprehensive ways, both orally and in written form. Capitalizing on the presence of native Chinese speakers on campus, students also explore themes and topics that shape contemporary Chinese society, from the lingering influences of Confucianism to the ethnic and regional diversities found in foods and holidays.
Course length: One year
Prerequisite: Completion of/placement out of Intermediate Chinese

Arabic as a Foreign Language (AFL): Elementary I

This program caters for non-native speakers of Arabic as well as to heritage speakers who have difficulties in reading, writing and expressing themselves in Arabic. Three levels of Arabic are offered to attend to the needs of students of different stages. Through written and oral placement tests, student levels are assigned upon admission to the school.

Students are introduced to Arabic language and culture in a course that stresses progressive acquisition of effective communication skills in both the written and spoken language (fus-ha and aamiya). In this level, students learn the alphabet, essential grammar rules and level-appropriate words to build the necessary vocabulary in order to carry out basic conversations. Students then begin learning how to produce short conversations related to everyday situations. Emphasis is placed on learning phonetics and proper pronunciation of words, in addition to rudimentary cultural connotations essential for spoken dialogues.

Arabic as a Foreign Language (AFL): Elementary II

This program caters for non-native speakers of Arabic as well as to heritage speakers who have difficulties in reading, writing and expressing themselves in Arabic. Three levels of Arabic are offered to attend to the needs of students of different stages. Through written and oral placement tests, student levels are assigned upon admission to the school.

Students are exposed to longer conversational texts and are familiarized with more detailed grammar rules. During this stage, students are introduced to short and guided writing, acting and role playing. Students are also expected to write short descriptive paragraphs. They will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the use of the language in its cultural context, as well as to handle simple daily life situations that they may encounter. Students will be able to hold lengthier dialogues on important subjects, especially daily necessities and needs.

Arabic as a Foreign Language (AFL): Elementary III

This program caters for non-native speakers of Arabic as well as to heritage speakers who have difficulties in reading, writing and expressing themselves in Arabic. Three levels of Arabic are offered to attend to the needs of students of different stages. Through written and oral placement tests, student levels are assigned upon admission to the school.

Students are exposed to more complicated sentence structures. The highlight in this level is placed on the functional learning of the language, in which speaking takes place within more detailed life situations. Students will be able to reason and support opinions especially on topics related to culture and tradition. They will also be engaged in conversations, provide and obtain information, and express ideas and feelings effectively. Moreover, students attain the ability to write extended paragraphs while expanding on the base of vocabulary initiated in Elementary I and II.

AY Arabic

The curriculum of Arabic Year at King's Academy (AY) is designed to fulfill AY's mission to provide an intensive one-year program in Arabic language, an immersion into Middle Eastern culture and values and the integration of classroom learning with beyond-the-classroom experiences. In practice, AY students are required to enroll in two sections of Arabic language, which meet for 90 minutes five days a week. Arabic Year offers multiple levels of Arabic as a Second Language according to ability, in addition to courses dedicated to understanding and analyzing Arabic literature. Students learn both formal and spoken Arabic, and reach an advanced level of reading that allows them to deepen their knowledge of the language. Students learn commonly used expressions related to certain occasions and situations, at the same time develop their skills in listening, reading, writing, forming grammatically correct structured sentences, and most importantly, conversation. The intensity of this course attracts students to continue with Arabic studies, either when they return home or by enrolling at King’s in the following year.

Last updated
April 24, 2017