In our World Language department, the curriculum goes beyond Arizona State Standards. Students have six levels of Spanish, French, German and Mandarin Chinese this year available for study. This allows them to move past an acquaintance of the target language to proficiency and fluency. IB, AP, and CLEP tests, as well and dual enrollment through Chandler-Gilbert Community College are a focus of the curriculum beginning with the third level.
At all levels, students must speak and interact in that language. Students role play and converse in the language while simulating real-life situations. Teachers and students use activities in the computer lab that incorporate technology into the lessons.
We also have three additional levels of Spanish geared towards native speakers of the language. The classes culminate with AP Spanish Literature. Our efforts in developing this curriculum and encouraging these students to take the AP exam has given many at-risk students an extra push to see they could be successful in college.
World Language teachers regularly work with other teachers in the district to revise curriculum, materials, and assessments to ensure articulation between grade levels. Perhaps no other subject matter offers the cross-curricular opportunities that World Language does. While the cultural studies that integrate with social studies curriculum seem obvious, the department integrates subject matter that extends into virtually every area of study. Students learn in their language of study ways to keep themselves healthy and how to protect the environment. Science issues such as patterns of weather are covered as well. Grammar of both the language of study and English is reinforced at all levels of instruction. English vocabulary is enhanced through a study of foreign roots, especially in Romance languages. Native speakers of Spanish and students in levels four and five are introduced to literary terms and analysis in the target language. Small group, out-of seat and oral activities are stressed as being essential to the department’s goal of the full language experience.
Each of the language clubs offers more in-depth cultural and language study as well as community service opportunities. CHS now has a chapter of both the French National Honor Society and the Spanish National Honor Society. Admittance to these is based on overall grade point average, grades in language classes, and upper-level study of the language. Because of the extensive college level testing available, students may graduate from CHS with more than sixteen college credits, sufficient college credit to have nearly completed a minor in their language of study.