World Language


Chinese is the most widely spoken first language in the world. With the tremendous economic boom that has taken place there over the past 30 years, China and Chinese language programs have become integral to any discussion of the world’s future. Hawken School’s Chinese language program gives students access to that discussion by providing the cultural and historical background and linguistic pragmatics to incorporate what they have learned into real life situations.

Chinese I
  • Covers the foundational principles including pronunciation patterns, tones and writing systems
  • Teaches students to use chunks, lists and memorized phrases to communicate on various topics such as self, family, school life, leisure activities, and shopping as they learn in an immersive setting

Chinese 2/2 Honors
  • Covers most of the basic grammar structures in Chinese
  • Emphasizes oral proficiency and short, authentic written works
  • Teaches students to use simple sentences to communicate on various topics such as transportation, weather, dining, and asking for directions
Chinese 3/3 Honors
  • Increases exposure to authentic materials in a culturally immersive environment
  • Teaches students to discuss several topics that are not only important in their own lives, but also about the community and world around them
  • Teaches students to use inferences and context clues to uncover the main idea and important details of more complex and authentic texts

Chinese 4/5 Culture and Civilization

  • Examines modern topics, challenges and the historical context of Chinese-speaking societies
  • Develops the interpretive, presentational, and interpersonal modes of communication through reading selections, listening selections, persuasive essays, email responses, dialogues, and oral presentations

Chinese 4 Honors
  • Covers a wide range of topics related to current events and Chinese culture
  • Reinforces fluency through written work and oral presentations
  • Teaches students to handle expected situations and communicate on topics such as arranging a party, seeing a doctor, renting an apartment, and giving dietary suggestions
  • Enables students to comment on current events and compare different cultures
Chinese 5 Honors
  • Enables students to master conventions of communication through the exploration of topics reflecting multiple aspects of Chinese society and culture, the use of various authentic multimedia and literary materials in different linguistic registers, advanced-level Chinese language structures, and expressive styles
  • Develops the interpretive, presentational, and interpersonal modes of communication through reading selections, listening selections, persuasive essays, email responses, dialogues, and oral presentations
  • Analyzes intent, audience, tone, and structure of lengthy, connected texts
  • Teaches students to initiate or sustain conversations with native speakers, elicit further information, narrate an event, resolve a problem, or elicit more information
  • Requires students to use organizational structures to present persuasive speeches and essays to unsympathetic native speakers

AP Chinese Language and Culture
  • Leads students to greater proficiency in Chinese language and culture as they prepare for the AP exam
  • Reinforces student-centered learning and cooperative learnin and the use of information technology and encourages creative learning and thinking
  • Uses authentic materials and student-made texts as learning materials in addition to other texts
  • Covers themes of global challenges; science and technology; contemporary life; self-discovery; family and community; art and aesthetics


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 French program here at Hawken is designed to improve student language capabilities through the refinement of communicative skills and the study of French culture and history. We offer French 1 through AP, with honors courses available at each level above French 1. Our goal is to improve interpersonal communication and self-expression, emphasize the importance of reading and critical thinking, and master the grammatical and structural concepts of the target language. From both a cultural and linguistic perspective, we study the significance of French culture and history on not only past and present world events, but the understanding of French as a viable and necessary language in the competitive global market.

French 1
  • Introduces the language and culture of francophone countries
  • Based on real-life contexts and authentic materials, includes the following themes: self, family, school, leisure activities, meals, weather, art, cuisine, music and literature.
  • Teaches students the fundamentals of French pronunciation and grammar while developing speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills

French 2/2 Honors
  • Develops students' ability to communicate in the four skills while studying and comparing cultural traditions of French-speaking countries in an immersive setting
  • Emphasizes narration in the present and past tenses 
French 3/3 Honors
  • Focuses on perfecting the foundation of the language while introducing more complex grammatical structures
  • Introduces students to French literature: short stories, poems, current event articles, and films from the francophone world

French 4/5
  • Uses medium of film to organize the themes and topics that will be studied and provides knowledge of historical, cultural, and social movements which constitute the background of the films watched
  • Refines conversational skills through independent and group projects, presentations and cultural themes
  • Emphasizes each student’s individual growth in the language rather than specific grammar patterns

French 4 Honors (Pre-AP)
  • Uses current francophone topics as the basis for work in literature, composition and conversation
  • Includes a survey of literary styles (journalism, novels, short stories, film) in addition to art, film and music
  • Provides Ooverview of French history from the 17th century to present-day
  • Prepaes students for French 4
French Language and Culture
  • Engages students in an exploration of culture in both contemporary and historical contexts
  • Develops students’ awareness and appreciation of cultural products, both tangible (e.g., tools, books, music) and intangible (e.g., laws, conventions, institutions); practices (patterns of social interactions within a culture); and perspectives (values, attitudes and assumptions that underlie both practices and products)
  • Promotes both fluency and accuracy in language use over grammatical accuracy at the expense of communication
  • Centers around the AP themes of Global Challenges, Science and Technology, Contemporary Life, Personal and Public Identities, Families and Communities, and Beauty and Aesthetics


The Latin program offers a full range of courses from Latin I to Advanced Placement Latin (Vergil). The overall goal of the Latin curriculum is for students to be able to read authentic Latin while developing an appreciation and understanding of our classical heritage. All Latin courses are year long and build upon one another.

The study of Latin offers students the opportunity to engage with classical civilization and cultures, with an emphasis placed on their influence on and relevance to those who followed them. By the 1st century CE, the Roman Empire had spread from Britain to Syria, with over one million people living in the city of Rome alone. The goal of studying Latin is to fully appreciate what life was like in this society from the most vulnerable to the most powerful. Students will also explore the significant contributions made by the Romans in areas such as engineering, government, law, commerce, literature, and rhetoric. While the focus of the curriculum is on reading authentic works of Latin, students will engage more deeply with the language through listening, speaking, and writing activities. All Latin courses are year long and build upon one another.
Latin 1
  • Introduces students to the basic elements of grammar, vocabulary, and syntax through reading, writing, listening, and speaking activities
  • Includes frequent discussion and exploration of English derivatives when learning new Latin vocabulary
  • Uses the text Cambridge Latin Course, a reading-based approach that will place students in 1st century CE Pompeii and then Roman Britain, with topics of Roman culture, history, archaeology, and literature being an integral part of the course
  • Asks students to explore the various ways in which the Romans and Latin connect to their world today

Latin 2/2H
  • Reviews t he grammar and vocabulary of Latin I while beginning the third book of the Cambridge Latin Course
  • Exposes studnets to more complex syntax as well as new vocabulary
  • Explores topics of Roman culture, literature, and history of the 1st century CE, the time of the Roman emperors
Latin 3/3 Honors
  • Review the vocabulary and grammar of Latin 2, with an emphasis on developing reading competence
  • Introduces students to reading authentic Latin literature by reading The Millionaire's Dinner Party, selections adapted from the Satyricon of Petronius

Latin Literature Honors
  • Exposes students to Latin poetry through the reading of selections from Catullus, Ovid, and Martial
  • Explores the reception of Ovid's Metamorphoses by examining how later cultures and artists have read and used his poetry
  • Emphasizes the ability to read Latin, the ability to identify grammatical constructions and literary and rhetorical figures in texts, and the ability to contextualize a reading within its appropriate cultural and historical framework

AP Latin
  • Ex;plores, through prose readings in Caesar’s De Bello Gallico,  the AP themes of empire, war and peace, and ethnicity.
  • Explores themes of leadership, fate, and pietas In Vergil’s Aeneid, long considered one of the most important and influential work of Latin literature
  • Focuses on fully understanding the political, social, and historical context of these works
  • Follows a strict syllabus so that every student is well-prepared for the exam in mid-May. Emphasis is placed on analysis, literal translations, and figures of speech


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. In addition to the foundation courses (levels 1-3), students also have the opportunity to complete in-depth studies in literature, film, conversation / composition (AP Language), Hispanic culture or travel study in the Spanish speaking world. Hawken Spanish students of all levels also have the opportunity to participate in the National Spanish Exam each spring. All courses are taught completely in Spanish.

Spanish 1
  • Develops a foundation in listening, reading, writing and speaking with emphasis on authentic communication. Course is taught primarily in Spanish
  • Teaches ssential patterns including present tense, word placement, nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns
  • Includes the following themes: greetings, school life, hobbies, health, shopping, celebrations, contemporary life and travel

Spanish 2/2 Honors
  • Builds upon the foundation of Spanish 1 through a variety of meaningful and culturally appropriate activities
  • Focuses on narration in the present and past tenses around the themes of family/home, well-being, medicine, nature, leisure, baseball, and art
  • Connects students to contemporary issues in the Spanish-speaking world
  • Course is taught completely in Spanish

Spanish 3/3 Honors
  • Introduces students to increasingly complex structures (past tenses, imperative and subjunctive)
  • Strengthens oral and written production in multiple modes
  • Explores interpersonal relationships, traditions, literature, Mexican muralists, history, music, immigration, and other cultural elements of the Spanish speaking world
  • Course is taught completely in Spanish

Spanish 4 or 5: Latin American or Hispanic Civilization & Culture (Spanish & Latin American alternate years)
  • Examines the history, literature, religion, politics, arts and social customs of Latin America or Spain through film, videos, music and literary selections.
  • Improves students  oral and written production through individualized support

Spanish 4 Honors: Conversation & Composition
  • Enhances and refines students’ oral and written performance in Spanish through the study of authentic cultural resources, short stories, novel excerpts and current sources
  • Addresses cultural topics including surrealism, human rights in the Spanish-speaking world, Hispanic mythology, and the Argentina/Chile conflicts of the 1970s
  • Explores and develops use of complex linguistic structures (past subjunctive, perfect tenses, prepositions, etc.)

AP Spanish Language and Culture
  • Emphasizes effective use of the language for interpretive, interpersonal and presentational communication in preparation for the AP Spanish Language and Culture Exam
  • Explores the themes of global challenges, science and technology, contemporary life, personal and public identities, families and communities, and beauty and aesthetics
  • Introduces students to the cultures of the Spanish-speaking world through research, current events, literature and current social movements
AP Spanish Literature
  • Presents great works of both Peninsular and American literature from the last 1200 years, including short stories, theater, poetry and novels
  • Includes works by García Lorca, García Márquez, Cervantes, Sor Juana Inés and many other authors from the required reading list
  • Develops skills in thematic and critical analysis across all genres in preparation for taking the AP
  • Requires students to take the Spanish Literature and Culture Exam in May

Spanish Conversation Center Facilitator
  • Open to students who have completed Spanish 3 Honors and are currently enrolled in Spanish 4 honors or above
  • Duties include leading dialogues in Spanish to encourage students in Spanish 1,2, and 3 to practice the grammar and vocabulary that they are learning in class

Arabic Language Through Culture 1 (Global Online Academy)
  • Teaches students commonly used expressions and phrases from the Levant area; develops skills in listening, reading, writing, forming grammatically correct structured sentences, and conversation

Arabic Language Through Culture 2 (Global Online Academy)
  • Continues exploration of topics covered in part 1 of this course

Japanese Language Through Culture 1 (Global Online Academy)
  • Combines a study of Japanese language and culture, weaving cultural comparison with the study of basic Japanese language and grammar

Japanese Language Through Culture 2 (Global Online Academy)
  • Continues exploration of topics covered in part 1 of this course


French Immersion: France (Fall 2019)
  • Helps students improve their linguistic and cultural fluency through engaging in an in-country experience in and around Paris and Lille, France
  • Students live with host families while participating in classes at a local school (Marcq Institution)
  • Through personal experiences, field trips, literature and assignments, students will learn about French history, literature, art, daily life, food and current events
  • Students will receive individualized feedback through daily journaling and oral presentations in order to help them progress in the language
  • Includes visits to  key historical and cultural sites in order to better understand the culture and people of France
An independent, coeducational, college preparatory day school, toddler through grade 12

Lower & Middle Schools, 5000 Clubside Rd, Lyndhurst, OH 44124
Birchwood School of Hawken, 4400 West 140th Street, Cleveland, OH 44135 

Upper School, PO Box 8002 (12465 County Line Rd), Gates Mills, OH 44040
Mastery School of Hawken, 11025 Magnolia Dr, Cleveland, OH 44106

Gries Center, 10823 Magnolia Dr, Cleveland, OH 44106

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