We live in an ever increasing global society that demands its citizens to know at least two languages. In the United States alone, there are over 40 million Spanish speakers which makes the U.S. the second largest Spanish speaking country in the world. Saint Hilary School believes that teaching a foreign language helps to improve cognitive development, cultivate multicultural appreciation, and prepare students to be global citizens in the 21st century.
Our K-5 Spanish curriculum focuses on developing listening and comprehension skills, and integrating basic speaking skills. We learn through reading stories, games, singing, and drawing. TPRS or Total Physical Response Storytelling is a way of teaching a new language that uses activities and edtech tools to enhance an engaging curriculum. In TPRS, students are asked to respond physically to what the teacher is saying, and all vocabulary is taught in the context of interesting and compelling stories. Students focus on listening, reading, and speaking in stories, rather than consciously trying to learn or memorize vocabulary, rigid grammar rules, and methodology. This approach meets the needs of various learning styles while laying a foundation for more advanced study in the junior high years. Instructional time is conducted mostly in Spanish and it is complemented by making connections with Latin American countries, such as Skyping with Professor Alzamora in Peru!
The junior high, (grades 6-8), offers a Spanish elective for those students who seek deeper fluency and potentially, advanced placement in the high school of their choice. The junior high elective is designed around a high school level curriculum which develops a student’s ability to read, write, hear, and speak Spanish. This structure allows many of our students to test into Spanish II, Spanish II Honors, and beyond. Students are taught by a native-speaking teacher from Peru to cultivate a real “ear for language,” through learning to listen and respond to what “sounds” right. They also Skype with Professor Alzamora, providing students with a strong confidence in their ability to converse. In addition, our students are exposed to proficiency exercises that teach them the nuances of various Latin American cultures. For example, students compose a variety of essays, produce oral presentations, and participate in dramatic role playing to demonstrate their knowledge. In this way, our program integrates the four language skills: listening, reading, writing, and speaking.
For a detailed look at Saint Hilary's Spanish curriculum, click here.