Language and communication are the heart of human experience. Language enables us to connect with other people by sharing experiences, ideas, expressing concerns and opinions, and obtaining information and knowledge. The ability to communicate in more than one language increases opportunities to understand other cultures and to interact with other people within our borders and beyond. The study of language and culture also helps us reach back in time in order to understand more fully the thoughts and ideas of other civilizations that have helped shape our own. The members of our department design their lessons and courses at all levels in accordance with the curriculum framework established by The Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Languages Other Than English.
- Jennifer Christianson, German
- Suzanna Kincaid-Ochoa, Spanish
- Belen Johnson, Spanish
Our Program Goals are the five C's of language education:
- Communication - Students develop communicative ability in three modes: interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational, integrating the skills of listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing, and showing.
- Cultures - Students learn about and experience other cultures.
- Connections - Students use language to acquire new information and knowledge in other subject areas.Comparisons - Students learn about the nature of language and culture by comparing other languages and cultures with their own.
- Communities - Students use language to participate in communities both at home and around the world.
There are three proficiency levels for the students of languages other than English: novice, intermediate, and advanced. The following expectations provide a brief description of the types of things that students should know and be able to do at the end of each proficiency level.
Students at the novice level: • Understand short, spoken utterances on basic, everyday topics • Produce learned words, phrases, and sentences on basic, everyday topics • Detect main ideas in familiar material on basic, everyday topics • Make lists, copy accurately, and write from dictation • Recognize the importance of accuracy and of knowing about the culture in communication
Students at the intermediate level: • Participate in simple face-to-face communication about personal history or leisure activities • Create and understand simple statements and questions • Understand main ideas and some details of material on familiar topics • Cope successfully in straightforward social and survival situations • Use knowledge of culture in developing communication skills and of grammar to increase accuracy
Students at the advanced level: • Participate fully in casual conversations in culturally appropriate ways • Explain, narrate, describe in paragraph-length discourse in past, present, and future time • Understand main ideas and most details of material on a variety of topics • Cope successfully in problematic social and survival situations • Apply knowledge of culture and an acceptable level of accuracy of expression when communicating
At the novice level (levels I, II & III) and intermediate level (levels III PreAP, IV AP & V) students are expected to develop the following skills in each of the 5 C's. Communication • Engage in oral and written exchanges of learned material to socialize and to provide and obtain information; • Demonstrate understanding of simple, clearly spoken and written language such as simple stories, high-frequency commands, brief instructions when dealing with familiar topics; and • Present information using familiar words, phrases, and sentences to listeners and readers. Cultures • Demonstrate an understanding of what people do and how they are related to how people perceive things of the cultures studied; and • Demonstrate an understanding of what people create and how they are related to how people perceive things of the cultures studied. Connections • Use resources and technology in the language and cultures being studied to gain access to information; and • Use language to obtain, reinforce, or expand knowledge in other subject areas. Comparisons • Demonstrate an understanding of the nature of language through comparisons of the student's own language and the language studied; • Demonstrate an understanding of the concept of culture through comparisons of the student's own culture and the cultures studied; and • Demonstrate an understanding of the influence of one language and culture on another. Communities • Use language both within and beyond the school setting through activities such as participating in cultural events and using technology to communicate; and • Show evidence of becoming a lifelong learner by using the language for personal enrichment and career development.