Upper School Spanish students build on the foundation of Spanish I, expanding knowledge of fundamental grammar and verb structures. In Spanish II, the cultural emphasis is on Mexico, although other Spanish-speaking countries are discussed in a variety of contexts.
As students advance through Spanish, they begin to put their knowledge into practice. The emphasis is on using Spanish to define, describe, and discuss new material. Students are required to speak frequently in class. Students also read from a variety of sources, from the earliest Spanish literature to current Latin American news articles. Spanish poetry is also used for vocabulary enhancement and to improve speaking skills. Courses are provided through Advanced Placement levels.
The goal of the Latin sequence at Wakefield is to enable students to read and appreciate Latin literature in the original language. We begin from the ground up by learning the elementary grammar and basic vocabulary, delivered via an enjoyable medium: comic plays which have been adapted to suit beginning students’ skill levels. This allows students to absorb the language through immersive reading in a meaningful, culturally representative, context. An emphasis is placed on analysis of forms and grammar, in order to develop critical thinking skills. As proficiency increases, the scaffolding is gradually removed. By the time students have reached Latin IV, they are reading excerpts from the historian Sallust’s account of the Catilinarian conspiracy, one of the key events of the Late Roman Republic. Roman poets (Catullus, Vergil, Ovid) are also introduced.
The AP Latin course consists of reading significant portions of Vergil’s epic Aeneid and Julius Caesar’s De Bello Gallico. The course emphasizes comprehension, analysis, and literal translation.
Throughout all levels of the sequence, students are taught about Roman history, mythology, and culture in order to lay a firm base for understanding of the Latin language in its historical and cultural contexts.
The progression of French courses in the Upper School moves students from an initial strong foundation built by constant review, to immersion, comprehension, communication, and finally to analytical reading and writing in French.
Classes begin with the rules of pronunciation, spelling, sentence structure, conjugations, and word agreements. Next, emphasis moves to expansion of vocabulary, and learning regular and irregular verb conjugations in present, future, imperative and past. Students will learn about France and Francophone countries through readings and video presentations. Original texts are introduced in the higher levels, and literary works as well as traditional stories and current news sources will be used to develop greater understanding of French culture and history while improving language skills. AP French has students focus on analyzing text of literary works and refining their own style of written and oral communication.