Oral language courses in Weston follow the proficiency model of language instruction reflected in the Massachusetts State Curriculum Frameworks and the National Standards for Education. That is, students are presented with both grammar and vocabulary in context and are encouraged to express themselves in the target language independent of a text as soon as possible. Awareness of cultural differences and similarities is also essential to a complete language education. Interdisciplinary themes allow students to use the language they acquire to learn about their world in general. They also demonstrate a more authentic use for the language as a means of communicating important information.
Teachers use multi-sensory methods such as computers, video, music, drama, food and games to make the material both meaningful and interesting for the students. Each level of instruction focuses attention on listening, speaking, reading and writing.
While Latin does not require the same instructional shift from a more traditional methodology to the proficiency model as do French, Mandarin, and Spanish, curricular objectives for Latin have been modified to make study of the language more relevant to students. Projects, games and historical lessons complement working with grammar and vocabulary, which is presented in context and in an age-appropriate manner. In addition, students learn to recognize parts of speech and vocabulary derivatives which enhance their understanding of their native language. Study skills are an essential part of the curriculum as well. Advanced levels continue to address the classics written in Latin.
Students who have attained a reasonable level of mastery in a second language are encouraged to include a third language in their choice of courses in addition to maintaining their second language.
A minimum three-year high school foreign language course sequence is recommended for students seeking admission to competitive colleges. Many juniors and seniors use foreign language as one of the two College Board SAT Subject Tests frequently requested for college admissions. Our curriculum does not focus directly on standardized tests other than the Advanced Placement Exams. However, students who have completed the Spanish Intermediate Honors, French Intermediate Honors or Latin IV have been introduced to the full continuum of grammatical concepts and ample vocabulary. In most cases, this prepares students with the skills necessary for success on the SAT Subject Tests. Colleges express no preference among languages.