Darlington’s world languages department will introduce two new intermediate Spanish language courses in 2008-09, according to chairman Jim Linos. Both courses are open to students who have completed at least three years of Spanish.
“With these two courses, we will be able to allow students to continue their study of different cultures and their respective viewpoints and experiences without the demanding rigor of an AP test at the end of the course,” Linos said. “Many students want to continue Spanish, but do not wish to take AP or Honors courses. They simply want a way to maintain and increase their speaking and listening skills with the main focus not on grammar (although it will be taught), but rather on the content of communication.”
Contemporary Conversational Spanish will focus on day-to-day conversation. Eighty percent of the student’s grade will be based on oral and aural assessments. Students will strive to become conversationally competent in Spanish in a variety of real-life situations, ranging from Home Depot dilemmas to mission trip interactions.
“I’m very excited about the direction foreign language study is taking at Darlington,” said Kay Lowe, who will teach the class next year. “As an independent school, Darlington is afforded the opportunity to develop a course that not only follows national standards, but responds to the needs of today’s students. The course content will complement other disciplines as well by dealing with economics, persuasive and informative speaking, and vocabulary building.”
Turning Points in Latin American History is another new course with a cross-curricular focus. Students will be immersed in Latin America’s cultural background, while learning more about the historical events that have shaped this part of the world. The goal of this course is to enable student to competently speak and understand the language and values of Latin-American societies. Discussion topics will include colonization, revolutionary movements, ancient civilizations, and heroes and villains. Forty percent of the grade will be based on auditory and oral activities, while 60 percent is based on traditional assessment and project work.
“We are excited about the possible directions that these courses will take our students,” said Linos. “Further, we look forward to expanding the French program at the Middle School. We are already seeing a rapid growth in the study of French at Darlington with 19 students in French 1 this year. We are also looking to add a third language to our curriculum in the next two to three years as we continue to seek new ways to make our students better global citizens.”