World Languages

Baylor’s World Languages department offers the broadest language choices of any area school. The curriculum includes:

  • Beginning through Advanced Placement language classes in five languages: Chinese, French, German, Latin, and Spanish
  • Seminars in language, culture and history
  • The curriculum in modern languages follows a proficiency-based model with emphasis on the four skill areas of speaking, writing, reading and listening.
  • The study of Latin is based upon a reading program that includes authentic texts from Latin literature, both in prose and poetry.
  • In addition to the cultural information presented in the classroom, the World Languages Department sponsors language clubs, weekly lunch meetings, immersion days, movie nights, and a yearly celebration of International Day.
  • Seeking to make the study of language relevant to students’ lives, Baylor language faculty members have, in recent years, led trips abroad to destinations including France and French-speaking Canada, Spain, Perú, Costa Rica, Panamá, China and Germany.

World Languages Requirements: Two consecutive years/credits of study in the same language in the Upper School. Students can fulfill this requirement by continuing the language(s) studied prior to enrolling in the Upper School or by beginning a new language.

CLASSES

Chinese 300

Students continue to study Chinese language and culture. They work with more complex sentence structures and continue to work on vocabulary acquisition. Students work on the five skill areas: speaking, listening, reading, writing, and typing. Students also continue to study Chinese history.

Chinese 400

Chinese 400 continues to build on the grammatical structures and vocabulary which the students have acquired in Chinese 300. Classes are conducted primarily in Chinese. The class stresses the four skill areas: listening, speaking, reading and writing with an emphasis on improving reading and writing skills. Students are expected to write on various topics using the grammar rules, sentence patterns and vocabulary presented in class. A study of Chinese culture is integrated with language learning.

AP Chinese Language

This class is designed to prepare students for the A.P. Chinese Language exam. The class emphasizes proficiency in the four skill areas: reading, writing, speaking and listening, which will be tested in May. The class involves a year of intensive study in these areas with the incorporation of Chinese cultural information. Departmental approval is required for enrollment.

Post AP Chinese

The class is designed to strengthen communicative skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing and further advance the knowledge of culture, history and society. The class emphasizes on improving student language skills in practical context and authentic cultural settings. Students use newspaper, movies, television programs and other media sources for class discussions, presentations, and papers. This class is suitable for students who have developed strong interest in Chinese language and want to take that to a level where it could be useful for their future education and careers. Departmental approval is required for enrollment.

French 100

The goal of this course is to help the students develop basic listening and speaking skills, build vocabulary, and learn the basic grammar. Students are also introduced to French culture as an integral part of the exercises on which the text is built.

French 200

This is a total immersion course in which students are speaking spontaneously, asking and answering questions, and honing their listening comprehension skills each day in class. Students are consistently writing at the paragraph level in French II, in both interpersonal (ex: email, letter) and presentational (more formal) settings. We are working to narrate and describe in both the present and the past tense, both orally and in writing. Students are exposed to a variety of francophone music and authentic resources (ex: signs, announcements, commercials, etc) and work to deal with ambiguity and try to get the gist of a given text or audio source, even when they encounter unknown words. Throughout the year, students build cultural competency by researching different aspects of francophone culture and comparing what they observe to their own culture (this takes place outside of class time is the only part of the course which is conducted in English).

French 300

In French 300, we continue to build on the sources and skills listed above in French 200. Students are expected to speak more frequently and completely in both interpersonal, spontaneous speech as well as more formal presentations. They continue to hone their ability to narrate and describe across a variety of tenses, both orally and in writing. Our listening and reading sources are more complex, and students expand their interpretive skills by dealing with ambiguity, using context clues to guess unknown words, etc. Students also work on the skill of circumlocution so that they may explain an unknown word or idea solely in the target language. We access a greater variety of francophone music across many genres, and continue to build their cultural competence by exploring aspects of francophone behavior and values and comparing them to those of their own culture.

French 400

In the fourth year, students access more sophisticated reading passages, both formal (newspaper articles, blog posts, short stories) and informal (text messages, emails from friends, etc). To further develop high-level listening comprehension skills, we use a variety of authentic, native-speed listening and video sources (ex: podcasts, news reports, songs, etc). Students continue to refine their mastery of language skills across tenses and can express themselves on increasingly complex ideas, both orally and in writing. Students continue to practice circumlocution (to explain themselves solely in the target language), as well as dealing with ambiguity (not knowing a word; making a guess based on context and linguistic clues). They are deepening their cultural competency by deciphering information about the products, practices, and perspectives present in francophone communities.

AP French Language

The most ambitious students may, with departmental approval, take the Advanced Placement course in French. The course features six different themes such as global challenges, science and technology, and families and communities. For each theme, students access a variety of authentic sources including current news articles, podcasts, videos, and thematically-rich songs. Students hone their ability to discuss complex global questions both orally and in writing (and both spontaneously and with time for reflection) by reviewing sophisticated grammatical and syntactical elements to express themselves more precisely. This course culminates with the AP exam in the spring, which assesses students’ proficiency in interpretive (reading and listening), as well as interpersonal (writing an email and participating in a conversation) and presentational (writing a persuasive essay and making a formal presentation).

German 300

This course is conducted exclusively in German. It involves continued work on more complex grammar structures, but it also involves a greater focus on listening and speaking. Reading and composition are also stressed with a strong emphasis on vocabulary building.

German 400

In this course, students explore the thematic units of the Mosaik 3 text to increase their vocabulary, to study advanced grammatical topics, and to understand contemporary German culture. Students develop their reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills through varied and authentic assignments (textbook activities, presentations, writing projects, poetry recitations, newspaper articles and videos from German media) that are specifically designed to strengthen skills in the four skill areas. Classroom discussions are conducted in German.

AP German Language

The most ambitious students may, with departmental approval, take the Advanced Placement course in German. This course culminates in the taking of the AP test, and the syllabus is designed to prepare the students for that test. Departmental approval is required for enrollment.

Latin 100 and 200

During their first two years of Latin, students acquire basic Latin grammar, build a working vocabulary, and are exposed to such cultural topics as history, mythology, arts, literature, and everyday life in the Ancient Roman world. By the end of the second year, students will be able to read abridged Latin prose passages and apply their knowledge and skills to identify and work with the grammar and syntax in these passages.

Latin 300

This course continues to build upon the grammar of the first two years and introduces the students to more complex grammatical constructions. Students will be reading lengthier abridged prose with an eye towards progressing to genuine Latin readings.

Latin 400

This course continues to build upon the grammar, vocabulary, and rhetoric introduced in Latin 300, and it also introduces students to poetics and meters. Readings include selections from Ovid, Vergil, and Martial.

AP Latin

This course is designed to prepare the students to take the AP Exam based upon Vergil’s Aeneid and Caesar’s De Bello Gallico. The course follows the AP Syllabus based on selections from the Aeneid and De Bello Gallico. Students must read the Aeneid in English during the summer to prepare for the course.

Post AP Latin: Putting the grammar to use

In this class, students read several different authors in the original Latin such as Livy, Ovid, and Horace, and analyze the style of each author. Then students try their hands at creating in the Latin language, composing their own original work in Latin in the style of the authors that they have studied. Additionally, students study in depth the daily life of ancient Romans and explore their worldview and lived experience via videos, virtual reality programs, and movies. The goal of the class is to help students understand how it would feel to spend a day in old Rome and how to both interpret written Latin and to compose meaningful writing in the language. AP Latin is a prerequisite for this course.

Spanish 100

This introductory course is designed for students with little or no previous study of the Spanish language. In the course, students develop their skill in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The focus of this course is to develop basic communication skills and strategies that allow students to ask and answer questions, interpret everyday spoken and written content, describe situations, and serve as a springboard to continued linguistic and cultural study.

Spanish 200

The goal of the second-year course in Spanish Language and Culture is designed to help students advance their skills from basic to independent users of the idiom. In the course, students continue to grow in their use of four skill areas of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The focus of this course is to give students opportunities to begin to use language creatively to express events, feelings, and wishes as well as interpret text and audio of familiar matters regularly encountered in their daily lives both in the present and in the past.

Spanish 300

This course is conducted exclusively in Spanish, and students are expected to maintain the target language throughout the class. This program focuses on strengthening students’ proficiency in the four areas of reading, writing, speaking, and listening through group work, weekly presentations, pair work, and exposure to authentic samples of language for reading and listening. The focus of this course is to give students opportunities to deepen their knowledge and skills in the language by conveying utterances of higher levels of abstraction and broader lexical and grammatical information.

Spanish 350

This course is designed for motivated Spanish language students who have demonstrated extraordinary language proficiency in their second year of language study. This course is conducted exclusively in Spanish, and students are expected to maintain the target language throughout the class. The course is designed to allow students to learn at an accelerated rate. The Spanish 350 curriculum centers around reading authentic texts on various themes with the objective of exposing students to comprehensible input from native speakers and offering a pluralistic and modern view of the Spanish-speaking world. Space is limited, and departmental approval is required for enrollment.

Spanish 400

The Spanish 400 class continues to build on proficiency-based skills: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Students use literature, newspaper and magazine articles, and movies as points of departure for class discussions, presentations, and papers. The focus of this course is to give students opportunities to deepen their knowledge and skills in the language and culture by expressing higher-order skills such as explaining a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.

AP Spanish Language

This class is designed to prepare students for the A.P. Spanish Language exam. The class emphasizes proficiency in the four skill areas: speaking, writing, reading and aural comprehension, which will be tested in May. The class involves a year of intensive grammar study and review with a workload corresponding to an equivalent university class. Departmental approval is required for enrollment.

AP Spanish Literature

This class is designed to prepare students to take the A.P. Spanish Literature exam in May. Students learn to read, analyze, and discuss critically literary texts pertaining to all genres of Spanish literature. The list of required authors and works is determined by the A.P. Examining Board. It includes works from the medieval period through the 20th Century and encompasses both Peninsular and South American literature. The class is designed for those students who have successfully completed the A.P. Spanish Language class or its equivalent. Departmental approval is required for enrollment.