Beaver’s Chinese, French and Spanish programs are designed to develop proficiency in the four basic language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. At all levels, students develop increasing levels of proficiency through exploration of the cultural, social, and political landscapes in which the languages are spoken. With the exception of Level 1 courses, all courses are 1-term topical language classes centered around a guiding theme.
Honors and Standard Level students work together in the same sections in all language courses. Students who intend to pursue honors credit will discuss that possibility with their teachers and advisors in the first week of the course and will commit to completing honors level work within the context of the course. With the exception of the Level 1 courses, all language courses may be taken at the Honors or Standard Level.
All students must take a language; any student who thinks that he/she may qualify for a language waiver should carefully read the Language Waiver Policy that is included at the end of the Modern Language course descriptions.
Thirty credits in one language are required for graduation, which is the equivalent of 6 terms of the language. Most students continue their foreign language study beyond the basic requirement in order to achieve greater proficiency and to meet the expectations of selective colleges.
In order to advance to the next level of a language, students must demonstrate mastery of the necessary skills and receive Department approval.
Prerequisites: Demonstration of mastery of Intermediate Chinese skills, usually 10 or 15 credits of Intermediate Chinese and Departmental Permission.
ADVANCED CHINESE COURSES:
Cuisine and Culture:
Students will learn vocabulary related to groceries, ingredients, dining out and the kitchen. They will learn different expressions as well as units of measurement used in Chinese-speaking countries. They will also learn about the typical dining etiquette.
Travel and Transportation:
Students will learn practical topical vocabulary around travel, asking for and giving directions while developing their skills of reading authentic Chinese signs, understanding Mandarin of various accents and expanding their vocabulary.
Prerequisites: Demonstration of mastery of Intermediate French skills, usually 10 or 15 credits of Intermediate French. Departmental Permission Required.
ADVANCED FRENCH COURSES:
Advanced French, 20th Century French Theater:
How was 20th century theater different from 18th and 19th century French theater? What brought about these differences in both themes and in style? In this class, students will learn about 20th century theater by delving into works by Marcel Pagnol, Eugène Ionesco and Jean Genet. Students will analyze what themes came up in these plays which represented the reality in France and the world in the 20th century. Through close readings of plays, performances, videos and other sources, students will explore ways 20th century theater evolved from the times of such playwrights as Molière.
Hell is Others: Personal and Political Relationships in the Francophone World:
How and why we treat and interact with one another is an enduring theme as relevant to the oral tales of precolonial West Africa as it is in our own lives. This course will follow the theme of personal relationships through French and Francophone films and plays. Starting with Jean-Paul Sartre’s play Huis clos in which he makes the argument that “l’enfer c’est les autres” (hell is others), students will explore the effects that location, age, culture and power have on relationships. We will analyze classic films such as Le Grand Voyage about a father son road trip to Mecca, and Chocolat a film that examines the complex relationships between French colonialists and the Cameroonian people. Each film and play will connect to our theme, but will also introduce us to different cultures and stories from the Francophone world. Students will refine their French skills while readings plays, engaging in discussions and writing their own analyses of the texts we study.
Revolutions: France, Haiti and Beyond:
This course will look at Revolutions across the Francophone world and their effects on national identity. We will begin with the enlightenment philosophy that fueled the French Revolution and other revolutions since. We will look at significant moments in and the causes and aftermaths of the French Revolution, the Haitian Revolution and other revolts and revolutions across the Francophone world. We will look at these revolutions through different lenses using a variety of primary and secondary sources, from official documents to novels, plays, movies and more. The class will also address current conflicts happening in the Francophone world such as in Mali and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Prerequisites: Demonstration of mastery of Intermediate Spanish skills, usually 10 or 15 credits of Intermediate Spanish. Departmental Permission Required.
ADVANCED SPANISH COURSES:
Environments in Crisis:
This course focuses on current environmental challenges across Latin America. Students will be encouraged to analyze the connections between the social contexts and contemporary environmental crises. Through case studies, students will explore the interrelationships between human activity and environmental change. The topics to be studied will include the destruction of the rainforest, water pollution, exploitation of natural resources, habitat destruction and endangered species. Students will examine how social media, community engagement, and advocacy initiatives have played key roles in the positive outcomes of environmental problems.
Gender & Society in the Spanish Speaking World:
In this course, students will study gender roles and inequality throughout the Spanish-speaking world. Through literature, film, current events, and personal stories, students will have an opportunity to think critically about the impact that gender has on individuals, families, and societies. Students will be expected to demonstrate their understanding and express their opinions in discussions, essays and projects. One of the goals for the course is for students to make connections to their surroundings and and to effectively leverage social to actively express their views.
Social Justice in Latin America:
In this course, students will investigate the key social justice issues facing the Spanish-speaking populations of the Americas. We will examine struggles for equity among various groups, including indigenous populations, political dissidents, and the poor and disenfranchised. Using a variety authentic sources from the media, such as news articles, video clips, music, brief literature and poetry, we will compare and contrast the multiple perspectives of people of Latin American descent. Students will be expected to demonstrate their understanding and express their opinions in discussions, essays and projects. One of the goals of this course is for students to understand the cultural forces that shape the beliefs and attitudes of diverse groups of people.
Modern Day Colombia:
While discovering what Colombia is like today economically, socially and culturally, students will gain a better understanding of the country as a whole from different angles. Students will research and learn about the drastic changes that have taken place in the last twenty years, especially in certain regions, that have revamped and revived Colombia to as it stands today.
Latin American Social Movements:
How do writers, filmmakers, painters and other intellectuals grapple with national histories? What social and political movements have shaped contemporary Latin America? By examining contemporary literature, film and other cultural products students will discuss the interplay of social and political movements, justice and forgiveness, memory and forgetting. Students will polish their reading, writing, speaking and listening comprehension skills as they debate, discuss and reflect on these complex contemporary topics.
Make a Good First Impression: Students will learn to introduce themselves in culturally appropriate ways and learn about formal and informal speech.
Friends from the Start: Students will learn vocabulary related to background information, hobbies, leisure time and celebrations.
Prerequisites: French 1 or MS French C. Most students will want to sign up for two of the following 5-credit courses in order to be prepared for Intermediate French the following year.
FRENCH FOUNDATIONS Courses:
Students will get a chance to compare their lives to those of French and Francophone teens today. They will connect with teens via email and social media. They will get a chance to see what is hip in France through various level appropriate magazines, blogs and videos including music, celebrities and film. Students will also learn about technology in the francophone world and use related vocabulary to learn about coding.
Students will develop their oral and written skills in French as they learn about the buying and selling of goods in the French speaking world. From groceries and clothing to hotels and restaurants, students will learn to barter, compare and contrast. Students will learn vocabulary related to groceries, ingredients and cooking. They will also learn about typical prepared foods that can be found in the marketplaces of francophone countries.
Prerequisites: Spanish 1 or MS Spanish C.
SPANISH FOUNDATIONS Courses:
Social Life: Students will study vocabulary related to family, friends and social life in the Spanish-speaking world. Students will build their communication skills as they tell stories about family and friends.
The Marketplace: Students will develop their oral and written skills in Spanish as they learn about the buying and selling of goods in the Spanish speaking world. From groceries and clothing to hotels and restaurants, students will learn to barter, compare and contrast.
Cuisine & Culture: Students will learn vocabulary related to groceries, ingredients and the kitchen. They will learn different expressions as well as units of measurement used in Spanish-speaking countries. They will also learn about the typical gastronomy of different countries.
Customs and Celebrations: In this course, students will explore assimilation and acculturation, cultural syncretism, and how globalization shapes communities.
Travel & Tourism: In this course students will know about different Spanish-speaking countries, their most important historic places, the urban and rural environment and will also practice the necessary skills and vocabulary to plan a trip and make reservations.
Two terms course.
Prerequisites: Demonstration of mastery of Foundations of Chinese skills, usually 10 or 15 credits of Foundations of Chinese and Departmental Permission. Students will eventually need to take at least two of the Intermediate level courses.
INTERMEDIATE CHINESE COURSES:
Home, School and Work: Students will learn to talk about their life at home, school and their plans for their future education and careers. They will learn the necessary vocabulary to express their likes and dislikes concerning their present life, education and future goals.
Meeting Our Needs: Students will discover vocabulary related to people’s feelings, physical and mental states, courses of actions and routines. They will also learn about people’s lifestyles and customs in China and other Chinese-speaking regions.
Social Life: Students will learn how to get to know people better through more in-depth conversations about their backgrounds and interests. They will practice necessary skills and vocabulary to plan outings, pay visits, or invite friends over for homemade meals.
Prerequisites: Demonstration of mastery of Foundations of French skills, usually 10 or 15 credits of Foundations of French. Most students will want to sign up for two of the following 5-credit courses in order to be prepared for Advanced French the following year.
FRENCH INTERMEDIATE COURSES:
France: A Nation of Regions
As a country, France is known for, among many other things, its cheese and gastronomy; but each dish and each cheese comes from its own distinct region. What makes a country roughly the size of Texas have so many distinct regions with their own distinct cultures? In this class we will look at the regions of France and see what makes them unique and proud including gastronomy, art, poetry, music, literature and history. We will look at the French idea of terroir and why the foods from one area are unique to that area and cannot be reproduced elsewhere. The class will also look at how the French government and the regions themselves attempt to preserve their cultural heritage in the face of a changing world and globalization.
Action and Romance: This course will use abbreviated versions of some of the most important pieces of French literature. Students will be exposed to new tenses and review the past tense, while reading works such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Count of Monte Cristo, and or the Phantom of the Opera. Using these stories as a starting point, students will build mastery in the future and conditional tenses by reworking and re-imagining the tales.
Place & Identity: Students will explore cultural identity and how it is related to place. We will look at themes such as immigration and rural vs urban environments. Students will look at a variety of authentic sources that explore places and the people that inhabit them including Butterfly in the City and Jean de Florette, as well as representations of place and identity in poetry and music. Finally, we will look at how places have influenced and been represented in art.
Prerequisites: Demonstration of mastery of Foundations of Spanish skills, usually 10 or 15 credits of Foundations of Spanish. Most students will want to sign up for two of the following 5-credit courses in order to be prepared for Advanced Spanish the following year.
SPANISH INTERMEDIATE COURSES:
Health & Wellness: In this course, students will explore topics including exercise and eating habits, access to healthcare, and the cultural context and politics of food.
Me, Myself and I: In this course, students will explore their personal histories and origins, relationships with their communities, how their choices shape their future.
Urban Life: In this course, students will explore changing landscapes, displaced communities, and migration in the context of the Spanish speaking world.
Storytelling: In this course, students will explore aspects of storytelling including short stories, journalism, poetry, and oral histories and the art of the interview.
Business & Entrepreneurship: In this course, students will explore how Hispanic and Latino businesses shape communities, creating business plans tailored to the needs of Spanish-speaking communities, and designing, producing, and marketing products.
Two terms course.
Two terms course.
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