At Seattle Academy, world language study fosters global awareness, intellectual curiosity, and awareness of learning processes and first language. Courses in the World Language Department emphasize communication and global perspective. All teachers in the World Language Department strive to create a positive, dynamic learning environment where students continually improve their abilities to produce and comprehend the target language. Our program is divided into two components: a two-year Latin program in grades 6-7, and a modern language program that starts in the 8th grade.
Our Latin program combines content knowledge with metacognitive practice and prepares students for advanced studies in both English language arts and modern language. Our program begins with one trimester of Creative Writing (Writing 6) to practice playing with words and figurative language. We start Latin in the second trimester, and we continue Latin through the end of 7th grade.
The Latin program has three goals: to build the word skills that help with learning a modern language, to learn the tools for strong English comprehension and communication, and to foster a love of words and their meanings. We learn vocabulary, Latin roots, and grammatical concepts against a vivid backdrop of Roman culture. By the end of the two-year Latin program, students have a toolbox of word skills they can take into both their modern language study and their English courses.
The modern language program provides students a choice of multi-year study of French, Mandarin Chinese, or Spanish. In each modern language track, students learn and practice a target language and explore cultural components associated with the chosen language. Modern language classes are proficiency-based; students enroll in the socially and developmentally appropriate level which also best fits their particular experience and interests.
Course offerings for each of French, Mandarin and Spanish classes include levels 1-6. Students generally progress through the program sequentially, for example from Mandarin 2 to Mandarin 3. Some level four classes and all level five and six classes are designated honors classes. Upon entering the program, students are assessed for placement and re-assessed throughout the year to determine placements for the subsequent year.
- What languages are offered?
- Are classes grade-level based or proficiency-based?
- How are students placed in a modern language classes?
- What levels of modern languages are offered?
- How many World Language credits are required for graduation?
- Can students meet graduation requirements by studying languages that are not offered by SAAS?
- Are there trips associated with language classes?
- Are these trips for Upper School students only, or are there opportunities for Middle School students as well?
- Is Latin required?
- How is Latin used after 7th Grade?
The Latin program is valuable for many reasons. It helps students understand how languages are constructed, it expands vocabulary, and it helps students learn how to study. Latin is a valuable starting point for Romance languages (languages based on Latin), and is also the origin for many words in English. Understanding the origins of words helps all students become more effective writers and communicators.