Upper School Languages

Nueva requires three years of language learning to graduate. However, many students choose to take more. Each of our language courses is also offered as an elective, allowing students who want to take multiple languages at once to do so.

Spanish

Spanish 1

This Spanish 1 course is designed to build students’ foundation in Spanish language, with a dual emphasis on comprehension and communication. Students begin by identifying cognates and patterns in written and spoken language as they build their vocabulary and learn to communicate. They learn to construct questions, ask for what they need, and respond to the basic questions and needs of others. As they explore cultural traditions around homes and families from the Spanish-speaking world, students will learn to describe their own families, roles, activities, traditions and locations in their communities.

Spanish 2

This Spanish 2 course is designed to further strengthen students’ foundation in the Spanish language, with a dual emphasis on comprehension and communication. Students will review and strengthen their understanding of essential Spanish grammar concepts, expand their vocabulary, and increase fluency through frequent conversational practice and presentations. Additionally, students will explore a variety of cultural topics (including daily routines, pastimes, technology, health, and recent trends) through a variety of authentic resources.

As they explore, students will learn about family and community traditions, comparing and contrasting with their own.

Spanish 3

Building on the knowledge and skills developed in Spanish 1 and 2, students will refine their listening and reading skills and develop proficiency in both spoken and written Spanish through the use of authentic Spanish materials such as poems, short stories, novels, music, websites, movies, etc. These activities will be reinforced with specific grammar lessons, reviewing past and present tenses and focusing on the formation of the subjunctive mood, including present, imperfect, present perfect and pluperfect. Students will expand their knowledge of the progressive, future, and conditional tenses as well as the use of compound tenses and command forms. In addition to these skills, students will explore the many facets of Hispanic cultures and heritage.

Spanish 4

The Spanish 4 curriculum refines and enhances students' language skills, developing the ability to communicate effectively in Spanish both orally and in writing within a thematic context, using less structure and more cumulative knowledge and self-initiated responses. Students will broaden their understanding of the cultures of the Spanish-speaking world, exploring the similarities and differences of their own culture and that of Spanish-speaking communities around the world. The course will focus on six essential themes: Global Challenges, Beauty and Aesthetics, Families and Communities, Personal and Public Identities, Contemporary Life, and Science and Technology. Students will explore each theme through written and audio resources, acquire new vocabulary, and practice writing and speaking formally and informally. The course emphasizes the use of language for active communication and is conducted entirely in Spanish.

Advanced Spanish: Communication

In this course we will develop and explore various aspects of written and spoken colloquial Spanish communication. In doing so we will examine the grammatical elements that make up different forms of expression and discourse, as well as vocabulary and vernacular specific to situations, audiences, and contexts. Students will read and analyze text and conversations between native Spanish speakers, as well as interpret their own in-class dialogues and situations in an effort to reach the expressiveness and fluidity of a native speaker.

Advanced Spanish: Drug Trafficking and Human Rights in the Americas

This course examines the history of drug production and trafficking and analyzes the effects on human rights, migration, poverty, political power, militarization and the environment. Through readings, discussions, films, music, and art, the course will focus on the experiences of Peru, Colombia, and Mexico and their relations with the US. The course will emphasize active oral communication, the usage of advanced-level vocabulary, and increased grammatical precision.

Advanced Spanish: Literature

Spanish Literature is an advanced course designed for students wishing to delve deeper into literary analysis. It focuses on close readings of selected Peninsular Spanish texts from different historical and literary periods (the Middle Ages, the Golden Age, Romanticism, and Realism). Through reading and in-depth analysis of these texts (fragmentary and whole), the student is encouraged to understand the sociocultural reality in which they were written. This course has a heavy historical and cultural component that will help the student comprehend the main zeitgeists of the periods they represent. The selected texts will cover the three literary genres: lyric, narrative, and dramatic. Students will be evaluated through written assignments, presentations, active participation, and the overall accuracy of analysis and interpretation.

Advanced Spanish: Our Americas

In 1882, French theorist Ernst Renan famously asked, “What is a Nation?” From the nineteenth century to today, writers in the Iberian Peninsula and Latin America have struggled to answer that question. Nevertheless, despite their multiple attempts to define the nation, historical and personal experiences have shown the difficulty of pinning down a single national identity in any one geographical region, or in the life of any one subject. This course will explore the troubled relationship between the idea of nation and the daily ways in which the conceptual and real boundaries of nationhood are crossed and confounded.

Advanced Spanish: Society and Culture of Spain

This course provide students with an overview of the key events in recent Spanish history that have shaped present-day society. The course introduces students to the Second Republic and the military coup that resulted in civil war and a 40-year dictatorship. It also considers how the conflict has been remembered through the dictatorship and Spain’s transition to democracy. Using a variety of resources, including literary and nonliterary texts, documentaries and film, students will further their understanding of Spanish society while building vocabulary, idiomatic expressions, and grammatical control.

Japanese

Japanese 1

Japanese 1 is a yearlong introductory course that challenges students to use use the language in real life settings. Students employ the 5 C’s (communication, cultures, connections, comparisons, and communities) to practice their speaking skills, focus their active listening skills, ground their comprehension of Japanese culture, and solidify their reading and writing abilities. Students uncover the patterns in the language by analyzing its grammatical structures using authentic materials such as novels and popular mangas. Students are encouraged to seek learning opportunities outside the classroom by using both online and real-world resources. Assessments include quizzes, presentations, performances, and essays. Students are expected to master all hiragana and katakana characters and about 100 new kanji characters. At the end of the course, students are expected to achieve a Novice-Low to Novice-Mid level proficiency defined by ACTFL (American Council on The Teaching of Foreign Languages).

Japanese 2

Japanese 2 builds on skills learned in Japanese 1, using the same methodology of the 5 C’s and focusing on real-world usage. Students continue their study of the language’s grammatical structures, and practice using the language in culturally and linguistically appropriate ways. Students practice asking permissions in preparation for homestaying — applying a newly learned temo iidesuka expression. Students continue their studies of Japanese culture by utilizing a variety of online learning tools that the instructor has selected, and by attending cultural events. There will be formative assessments, summary assessments, performance-based assessments, multimedia presentations, collaborative assignments, quizzes, essays, reading assignments, and homework. Rubrics and expectations are shared with students before any performance/project. At the end of the course, students are expected to master 100 new kanji characters and achieve Novice-Mid to Novice-High level proficiency defined by ACTFL (American Council on The Teaching of Foreign Languages).

Japanese 3

Building on Japanese 2 or the equivalent, Japanese 3 is a yearlong course that develops students’ reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills in Japanese through a systematic introduction and integration of grammar, vocabulary, kanji, and culture. Using a communicative approach informed by the five C’s of foreign language education, this course enables students to achieve Novice High to Intermediate Low proficiency in Japanese. In assignments and assessments, equal emphasis is given to the three basic modes of communication: the interpersonal, the interpretive, and the presentational. For example, students are required to speak Japanese through activities and role-plays, to read and analyze authentic materials in Japanese such as folktales and films, and to produce short oral presentations and written essays in Japanese. The course roughly follows the second half of Genki I and utilizes other resources, such as Adventures in Japanese (Volumes 1 and 2) and authentic materials taken from Japanese literature, film, and popular culture. Students learn to read and write approximately 100 new kanji.

Japanese 4

Building on Japanese 3 or the equivalent, Japanese 4 is a yearlong course that develops students’ reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills in Japanese through a systematic introduction and integration of grammar, vocabulary, kanji, and culture. Using a communicative approach informed by the five C’s of foreign language education, this course enables students to achieve Intermediate Low to Intermediate Mid proficiency in Japanese. Students are required to speak Japanese through skits and oral exams, to read and analyze authentic materials in Japanese, such as song lyrics and travel guides, and to write diaries and personal essays in Japanese. In addition, students study important topics in Japanese culture through various language-based projects. The course roughly follows the first half of Genki II, but it also uses a number of other textbooks and resources, such as Adventures in Japanese (Volumes 2 and 3), Nakama 1, and authentic materials taken from Japanese literature, film, and popular culture. Students learn to read and write approximately 100 new kanji.

Advanced Topics in Japanese

Building on Japanese 4 or the equivalent, Advanced Topics in Japanese is a yearlong course that further develops students' reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills in Japanese through the study of topics and texts from Japanese literature, history, society, politics, pop culture, etc. Using a communicative approach that emphasizes interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational modes of expression, this course enables students to achieve Intermediate High to Advanced Low proficiency in Japanese, according to ACTFL standards, and prepares students for standardized tests in Japanese. The course roughly covers Further Adventures in Japanese, but it also uses many other textbooks and resources, such as Tobira, and authentic materials in Japanese such as short stories, essays, and print media. Student projects include podcasts, newspaper articles, and literary translations. Students learn to read and write approximately 100 new kanji (from Basic Kanji Book). There is also an optional trip to Japan in February.

Chinese

Chinese 1

The primary focus of this program is to immerse students in oral communication settings that bring forth essential understanding of the Chinese culture and people. Culturally appropriate manners and expressions are woven into each unit for students to understand and connect to Chinese tradition. The program focuses on all four language skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. It will help the students build a solid foundation with communication-oriented exercises to prepare them in the real world. This course provides students with opportunities to incorporate communication, collaboration, and technology skills in learning the Chinese language and its rich culture. It also prepares students to achieve a proficiency level of Novice-mid to Novice-high across interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational communications (based on the ACTFL standards) at the end of the first year of study.

Chinese 2

The primary focus of Chinese 2 is to further enhance students’ Chinese language skills in more complex scenarios and language contexts that require critical thinking and innovation. Students are on course to solidify the habits of independent study and collaborative learning in order to become lifelong learners of the Chinese language. This course provides students with opportunities to incorporate communication, collaboration, and technology skills in learning the Chinese language and its rich culture. It also prepares students to achieve a proficiency level of Novice-high to Intermediate-low across interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational communications (based on the ACTFL standards) at the end of the school year.

Chinese 3

The primary focus of Chinese 3 is to equip the students with expressions, styles and language structures of higher complexity in both oral and written communication forms for various purposes. Students will learn to further differentiate between speaking and writing the appropriate words and phrases essential for higher-level social functions. This course provides students with opportunities to incorporate communication, collaboration, and technology skills in learning  China's language and rich culture. It also prepares students to achieve a proficiency level of Intermediate-low to Intermediate-mid across interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational communications (based on the ACTFL standards) at the end of the school year.

Chinese 4

The primary focus of Chinese 4 is to guide the students in creative writing as well as formal speaking through a full immersion forum. Students will learn to lead discussions in Mandarin to brainstorm solutions for selected issues. This course provides students with opportunities to incorporate communication, collaboration, and technology skills in learning the Chinese language and its rich culture. It also prepares students to achieve a proficiency level of Intermediate-mid to Intermediate-high across interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational communications (based on the ACTFL standards) at the end of the school year.

Advanced Topics in Chinese: Contemporary Chinese Cinema

This seminar focuses on contemporary Chinese-language films. The curriculum includes film viewing, reading of film scripts and critiques, analytical discussion, and writing on related topics such as characterization, plot, themes and societal background. Possible films include To Live (1994), Eat Drink Man Woman (1994), Shower (1999) and Beijing Bicycle (2001). Prerequisite: Chinese 4 or equivalent.

Advanced Topics in Chinese: Current Events in the Chinese-Speaking World

This course explores contemporary issues concerning Chinese-speaking groups around the world. Materials may include published essays, TV programs, films, newspapers, and magazine articles. Students will discuss and write a paper for each topic. Topics include social, economic, political and environmental issues affecting Chinese communities inside China and in the Chinese diaspora.

American Sign Language

American Sign Language 1A

This introductory course of ASL will incorporate Deaf history along with linguistics to provide students with a foundation of fingerspelling, recurrent vocabulary, understanding of sign location, familiarity with facial adverbs, and classifiers. Texts and videos will be assigned for deeper comprehension of Deaf history and culture, as well as signed responses. Because ASL is not a written language, class participation will be factored into the final evaluation. Students will gain fluidity in signing and expression, as well as a sense of agency.

American Sign Language 1B

This continuation of the introductory course of ASL will incorporate Deaf history along with linguistics to provide students with a foundation of fingerspelling, recurrent vocabulary, understanding of sign location, familiarity with facial adverbs, and classifiers. Texts and videos will be assigned for deeper comprehension of Deaf history and culture, as well as signed responses. Because ASL is not a written language, class participation will be factored into the final evaluation. Students will gain fluidity in signing and expression, as well as a sense of agency.

Global Online Academy

The mission of Global Online Academy (GOA) is to replicate in online classrooms the intellectually rigorous programs and excellent teaching that are hallmarks of its member schools; to foster new and effective ways, through best practices in online education, for students to learn; and to promote students' global awareness and understanding by creating truly diverse, worldwide, online schoolroom communities. Visit http://www.globalonlineacademy.org/student-program/courses/ for a full course catalog.

Students may enroll in one GOA course each semester. A GOA course will be counted as an elective, not as an additional course.

Language Trips & Exchanges

Though not required, language immersion trips are available to Upper School students. During February break and spring break, teachers often lead students abroad to give them opportunities to further their learning while exploring a different part of the world.

The Upper School Japanese program has an exchange program with the Doshisha high school, offering Nueva students and their Japanese counterparts opportunities for homestays, classroom experiences, and cultural activities.

 Other optional language trips have included Taiwan, Cuba, and Colombia.