Philosophy and Policies:
The Hawken Language Department believes that in order to be an effective global citizen, students should develop fluency in more than one language. The study of world languages enables our students to acquire the ability to communicate with people across cultures as well as read, analyze and discuss the great works of different cultures. Students gain a broader sense of an international community, a respect for cultural diversity, as well as the appreciation of the historical and linguistic roots of our world. Furthermore, the study of world languages develops skill sets such as problem solving, pattern recognition, and discipline that are vital and transferable to other academic studies. Hawken Middle School currently offers courses in Chinese, French, and Spanish. Chinese and Spanish classes are divided into grade-level and accelerated sections, and students are placed in those sections based on recommendations from faculty and department chairs.
Chinese is the most widely spoken first language in the world. With the tremendous economic boom that has taken place in China over the past 30 years, Chinese language programs have become integral to any discussion of the world’s future.
After English, French is spoken in more countries than any other worldwide. As a cultural, artistic, politically and historically important hub in Europe and beyond, the French language is still at the forefront of world affairs.
The goal of the Spanish department is to empower students to communicate with the more than 400 million native Spanish speakers in authentic situations including community, business, travel, pleasure and cultural contexts.
FOUNDATIONAL I: 3 trimesters/1 year commitment for 6th grade only.
The focus of FOUNDATIONAL I is to expose students to vocabulary in the target language. They will learn very basic grammar concepts enabling students to introduce themselves and others, answer questions with words and simple phrases about topics such as family, school, and friends. They will learn about the countries and cultures where the target language is spoken.
Students who successfully complete FOUNDATIONAL I may continue on with FOUNDATIONAL II.
Students who choose not to continue their language study after FOUNDATIONAL Iwill be required to take LEVEL 1 of a language in 9th grade.
FOUNDATIONAL II: 3 trimesters *Prerequisite, Foundational I in the same language: FOUNDATIONAL II students will continue to focus on vocabulary acquisition and simple grammar. Students will learn to ask questions in order to have brief conversations about familiar topics. They will be able to convey information in the present tense and simple future tenses.
FOUNDATIONAL III: 3 trimesters - Prerequisite, Foundational I and II in the same language in 6th and 7th grades. FOUNDATIONAL III study will enable a student to exchange information about such topics as work, school, interests, and recreation using more complex sentence structures, additional tenses and some idiomatic expressions in the target language.
*Individual consideration will be given to new students entering 7th and 8th grades. They may be required to take language classes in the summer. 8th grade students who have not had sufficient prior language experience will not be permitted to start language in 8th grade.