World Language

Overview

Language, communication, and culture are the essence of all human interaction.  They connect us locally, nationally, and globally, helping us to understand the world. We are no longer a program that teaches “foreign” languages; rather we are committed to the concept of “world” languages.  The languages of our community are not foreign, as they represent the diverse backgrounds of our students. World Language teachers in Elmhurst CUSD #205 believe in placing these students at the center of our World Language classrooms, and are working to inspire and equip their students to be exemplary citizens of the global community.  Elmhurst CUSD #205 is proud to offer a comprehensive, sequential, and uninterrupted world language program that provides opportunities for longevity in language learning to over 6,000 students in grades 3 through 12. 

National Standards


In order to address the national standards, world languages seek to develop students in five different areas: Communication, Culture, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities. Curriculum content, methods and assessments reflect the learning in these five areas:

Communication
World language students will converse in the target language and understand thoughts and ideas spoken by people of other cultures. They will provide information about themselves and others as well as interpret what others are saying or writing.

Culture
World language students will compare and contrast their own culture with another culture. They will demonstrate awareness and sensitivity to another way of life, other traditions, and other ideas that characterize this culture.

Connections
World language students will apply information and skills acquired in world language class to their studies in other classes. World language class reinforces, complements, and enhances other disciplines.

Comparisons
World language students will develop a more profound understanding of their own language by studying a world language. They will examine grammatical structures more closely and their relationship to meaning.

 Communities
World language students will explore uses of world language outside of the class. Students will use language for personal enjoyment and enrichment, to promote greater understanding between diverse members of our community, to promote greater understanding and respect on an international level, and to eventually function on a global scale.

PROGRAM

At the elementary level the World Language program follows the Foreign Language in the Elementary School (FLES) model. FLES is an approach to language learning that allows students to develop basic communicative skills in a language while reinforcing and enriching content in other disciplines. The goal of a FLES program is to acquire functional proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing the second language. FLES programs come in many different varieties ranging from programs where approximately 5% of the school day, as in District 205, is devoted to the second language, to programs where 50% of the day is devoted to the second language.

As a complement to literacy learning at the elementary level, the Elementary Spanish program provides an enriched learning experience for all students. In light of the literacy adoption of Reading Street, our FLES program is evolving to include content-based support of the concepts taught in the areas of Science, Math, Social Studies, Language Arts, Music, Art, and Physical Education. It both complements and reinforces the skills and knowledge base of the second through fifth grade elementary curriculum.

At the end of fifth grade, students may continue their Spanish studies or choose to study French. Eighty-five percent of students are enrolled in a world language class in the middle schools. Students with an IEP who are enrolled in a guided study class (including ELL guided study) and students enrolled in PLUS are the only students who are not enrolled in a World Language class.

The content of the sixth through eighth grade curriculum is equivalent to the first-year high school class. It is a core academic subject designed to prepare students to advance directly into a second-year World Language class as freshmen. Discovering French Bleu Nouveau and Exprèsate are the instructional materials that serve to support the curricula at the middle and high school levels.

The World Language program at York high school addresses the needs of those students interested in studying Chinese, French, Italian, and Spanish. As four year courses of study, Italian, French, and Spanish provide opportunities for students to develop a high level of proficiency in the target language. Teachers incorporate a variety of print and non-print materials including authentic target language sources. 

Chinese, in its third year of implementation, is moving toward the four-year program of study already established in the other languages. The addition of Chinese provides students with a choice of studying a language deemed critical by the US government. Native Spanish speakers may choose to follow a sequence of study created to serve their specific needs by enrolling in Heritage Spanish. It is a course for those who already fluent in spoken Spanish. Through the study of Hispanic literature, history and geography, students refine their skills in reading, writing, and grammar.

During the course of World Language study, students go beyond learning to communicate in languages other than English. They gain understanding of other cultures and languages while formulating insights into their own language and culture. By participating in multicultural communities at home and around the world, students learn to value and respond to each others’ needs. Far from detracting from the rest of the curriculum, World Language study enhances and reinforces it, by providing opportunities for students to connect to all scholastic areas. With the exploration of the themes and issues that cross disciplinary lines, students compare and contrast languages and cultures allowing them to make connections to their own community and the outside world.

The College Board World Language Curriculum Framework (Gunterman, 2006) states: “The world language classroom is designed to facilitate genuine interaction with others, whether they are on another continent, across town, or within the neighborhood.” Illinois State Goal 28 restates this and mandates that students will use the target language to interact with confidence and fluency in oral and written contexts with native speakers and in authentic settings. The additional state goals call for students to use the target language to develop an understanding of the customs, arts, literature, history, and geography associated with the target language (Illinois StateGoal 29), and also, to make connections and reinforce knowledge and skills across multiple disciplines (Illinois State Goal 30). It is these principles that serve as the goals for the Elmhurst CUSD 205 World Language Program. 

Elementary Spanish

At the elementary level we focus on the ability to communicate in Spanish.  Lessons enforce these skills through the three modes of communication (interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational) and will allow the students to demonstrate their understanding of the language by using Spanish in real-life situations.  The interpersonal mode of communication focuses on having natural, unrehearsed, real-life conversations covering a variety of every day topics in our units.  During interpretive activities children will read authentic text and listen to/watch authentic audio/video clips.  Students then discuss and respond to comprehension questions. This form of communication reinforces literacy skills and reading strategies.  Presentational communication allows the students to demonstrate everything they have learned by writing, performing a skit, etc.  All activities are performance based and allow the students to track their progress by giving them a clear understanding of what they are able to do and what they can do to further improve their learning experience. 

Grade 3

By the end of third grade, students will be able to…

  • converse in Spanish with peers about current topic of study.
  • negotiate meaning by asking and answering questions in Spanish.
  • demonstrate comprehension of current Spanish themes by interpreting authentic text and audio/video clips.
  • communicate orally and in writing.
  • participate readily and voluntarily in everyday activities.
  • identify the customs and cultural celebrations of Spanish speaking countries.

Topics Covered Include: Who Am I? (greeting others, introducing oneself, describing your feelings, asking about others, talking about your age and birthday – months, numbers 1-39, where you live, describe ones personality and give physical descriptions of people.)  Relationships (describing who is in your family, describing characteristics of family members and pets, identifying family members’ careers, comparing family members, friends, and pets)

Grade 4

By the end of fourth grade, students will be able to…

  • converse in Spanish with peers about current topic of study.
  • negotiate meaning by asking and answering questions in Spanish.
  • demonstrate comprehension of current Spanish themes by interpreting authentic text and audio/video clips.
  • communicate orally and in writing.
  • participate readily and voluntarily in everyday activities.
  • identify the customs and cultural celebrations of Spanish speaking countries.

Topics Covered IncludeMy Favorite Things (activities you like/dislike - verbs, discuss what you want to do after school/on weekends, school subjects you like/dislike, explaining why you like/dislike something, discuss your favorite sports, talk about the instruments you play)

Grade 5

By the end of fifth grade, students will be able to…

  • converse in Spanish with peers about current topic of study.
  • negotiate meaning by asking and answering questions in Spanish.
  • demonstrate comprehension of current Spanish themes by interpreting authentic text and audio/video clips.
  • communicate orally and in writing.
  • participate readily and voluntarily in everyday activities.
  • identify the customs and cultural celebrations of Spanish speaking countries.

Topics Covered Include: Vacation Time (talk about vacation plans – Where are you going?- places, What do you want to do there?- activities, discuss what you need to pack for vacation – clothing items, describe the weather where you are going – seasons, months, temperature, 1-100)

Middle School World Language

Students will move up the Proficiency pyramid throughout their years of World Language instruction in District 205.  Beginning at the Novice Level, our goal, through thematic instruction, is to help students reach the Intermediate High or Advanced Low Level in all 3 modes of communication:  Interpersonal, Interpretive, and Presentational.

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York World Language

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head.

If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.

‒Nelson Mandela


Believing that language and communication are at the heart of the human experience, the York World Language department provides the tools that students need to maximize their communicative and cultural capacity. By responding to the learning needs of all students, we ensure that students can reach their highest level of linguistic potential.

All world language courses at York focus on developing proficiency within the three modes of communication. The three modes are described by The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages as follows:

Presentational Mode- The Presentational Mode refers to the creation of oral and written messages in a manner that facilitates interpretation by members of the other culture where no direct opportunity for the active negotiation of meaning between members of the two cultures exists. Students present information, concepts, and ideas to an audience of listeners or readers on a variety of topics.

Interpretive Mode- The Interpretive Mode focuses on the appropriate cultural interpretation of meanings that occur in written and spoken form where there is no recourse to the active negotiation of meaning with the writer or the speaker. Students are assessed both in on their reading and listening skills. Students interact with texts of various types. A text can be any kind of spoken, written or visual material, as well as films and music.

Interpersonal Mode- The Interpersonal Mode is characterized by the active negotiation of meaning among individuals. Participants observe and monitor one another to see how their meanings and intentions are being communicated. Students engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions.