World Languages

ESOL Environmental Science is a language course that prepares students for mainstream science courses at Darrow while covering the subject of Environmental Science. Topics include: diversity of ecosystems, taxonomy of living organisms, species' survival and interaction, our New England environment, energy in the atmosphere, climate change, solutions to global warming, and sustainable living. Students practice research skills, ask questions, record observations, analyze and present data, and learn strategies for reading and responding to informational texts.

ESOL Introduction to American Literature is a humanities course for English Language Learners that explores the history, geography, and literature of the U.S. In this course, students practice reading, writing, listening, and speaking in order to get better acclimated to the American classroom. Discussion on topics touched upon in fiction and non-fiction texts and films is a focal point of the class, as is writing about what students have been studying. This class helps prepare these students for the work of Writing and Literature I.

ESOL Introduction to the Study of History prepares students for classes in History and the Humanities at Darrow by covering research skills, map reading, geography, note-taking and organization of information, as well as improving students’ reading strategies, acquisition of vocabulary, and writing skills in English. Students learn to make important connections between ancient and current events, and between ancient and modern cultures and civilizations.

ESOL Language Arts develops international students’ vocabulary and language skills in English through intensive reading and speaking practice, and explicit instruction in reading strategies, pronunciation, and writing, in order to effectively prepare students for English and Humanities courses at Darrow and beyond.

Students of this literature class will study literary periods, the lives of authors, explore poetry, short stories, and essays, critically analyze literary devices used by authors, compare and contrast different works, and compose their own works based on different themes in the readings. The first course of the literature sequence will focus on themes of early Hispanic literature before the introduction of contemporary 20th century literature. Assessment in this course will be composed mainly of essays in which the students use critical analysis to explain literary devices found in a reading, research the life of an artist in relation to a piece of work, or to compare and contrast reading within a similar theme. Students will also be asked to write original works utilizing a similar theme or literary device present in past readings.

Students of this literature class will study literary periods, the lives of authors, explore poetry, short stories, and essays, critically analyze literary devices used by authors, compare and contrast different works, and compose their own works based on different themes in the readings. The second course of the literature sequence will focus on themes of contemporary Hispanic-American literature of the 20th century. Assessment in this course will be composed mainly of essays in which the students use critical analysis to explain literary devices found in a reading, research the life of an artist in relation to a piece of work, or to compare and contrast reading within a similar theme. Students will also be asked to write original works utilizing a similar theme or literary device present in past readings.

This semester-long course will introduce students the science of language. Students will explore how languages are learned, used and changed. We will also explore the tie between language and identity. Topics include the benefits of bilingualism, making meaning, differences between human and animal communication, and the study of regional and social dialects, genderlects, and idiolects. We will use the Darrow community as a laboratory! 

Students may be able to receive language credit for intensive language study abroad outside of the school year. Please see the World Languages Department Chair for requirements.

These semester-long courses are designed for self-motivated students who want to develop foreign language proficiency in the company of like-minded students and under the guidance of a seasoned language professional. Students may select to study French, German, Chinese, Russian, Arabic, etc. They must, however, obtain the approval of both the World Languages, Cultures and Linguistics chairperson and the Director of Studies prior to registration. Approval will be contingent upon acceptance of the proposed study plan that the student will submit as part of the application for acceptance into this course. The World Language Semi-Independent Study course is open to all foreign language proficiency levels and may be repeated to further proficiency in any given language. Of course a World Language Semi-Independent Study classroom will bring together students of different proficiency levels, but it will also gather students studying completely different languages. This will generate a dynamic linguistic environment that is both interesting and authentic. Furthermore, students will use all the modern language learning tools at their disposal in order to attain proficiency in the language of their choice. The teacher’s role in this environment will be that of a coach, guiding students in their study while at the same time helping them to take ownership of the process. 

This course is also open to English Learners as a Language Lab experience for improving pronunciation and reading fluency. The EL Language Lab runs for two of the four blocks each week with specific blocks to be set in conjunction with the instructor. Some students may be required to take this course. ELs moving out of ESOL should be encouraged.

CLIL, or Content Language Integrated Learning, is a modern approach to foreign language acquisition which focuses not on the target language as a subject of study in and of itself, but on its acquisition through its utilization in a specified content area. CLIL differs greatly from a more traditional, target language focused approach to language acquisition. In a traditional language classroom the focus is on syntax and lexicon, which can be very effective with students who have a high linguistic intelligence, however it makes it difficult to reach students with different varied intelligences. Furthermore, teaching with a sole focus on syntax and lexicon creates difficulties for students who are not familiar with grammatical structures in their own language. 

The aim of CLIL pedagogy is to teach students that the target language can be used practically, in a more comprehensive manner, to learn about new subjects. Utilizing CLIL, students are able to cultivate a stronger relationship with the target language because they make connections to many different subject matters, instead of limiting learning to the study of the use of the target language. For me, the most important aspect of CLIL pedagogy is that it teaches students to move away from only thinking about the target language itself, but instead to utilize the target language to think critically about and analyze new material. 

CLIL has, over the past twenty years, been effective in European curriculum development. Many countries utilize CLIL in order to teach students the practicality of the English language, with the aim that in university students will be able to critically think in their target language, and not be limited to thinking only about the language itself. In the modern globalized world we live in, it would be detrimental to our youth to teach them only how to process foreign language, what is more pertinent is to teach them how to use new languages so that they may become competent enough to critically analyze new and familiar subject matter.

This course introduces the students to the Spanish language and culture. During this level the student will learn how to have a daily conversation in Spanish, use of the present and past tense, pronouns, adjectives and vocabulary. Students will develop communicative abilities in three modes: interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational, integrating the skills of listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing, and showing. Students explore cultural themes by learning about cultural practices, products and perspectives. Students also learn the nature of language and culture by comparing other languages and cultures with their own. Finally, students go beyond classroom and school to explore how to use Spanish for personal enjoyment and career possibilities.

Spanish II further develops proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing by reviewing the present tense and teaching the past tenses. Students will gain knowledge and appreciation of not only the Spanish language but diverse cultures in Spanish-speaking countries through a variety of resources, but principally the Descubre 2 textbook. Emphasis is placed on writing more sophisticated, detailed sentences through frequent writing assignments, while students continue to develop their speaking, listening and summarizing ability through skits, oral presentations, songs, and other engaging activities from a variety of sources.

Spanish III builds on the grammar and vocabulary study of Spanish II. While the most commonly used tenses are reviewed, the subjunctive and imperative moods are introduced. Thematic vocabulary lists are combined with vocabulary taken from literary works that are read in class. The majority of the second semester is devoted to reading short stories in Spanish, as well as the novel, El Principito. The class is conducted mainly in Spanish, and the students are expected to speak in the target language as much as possible. Daily participation, homework, tests and quizzes, projects, and journal entries make up the grade.

Spanish IV/V begins with a short review of all verb tenses and moods learned in previous Spanish classes. The class then moves into a study of the literature, culture, history, music, and food of the Spanish-speaking world. In the second semester, students read a novel in Spanish, which in the past has included La Casa de Bernarda Alba and La Vida de Lazarillo de Tormes. The class is conducted mainly in Spanish, and the students are expected to speak in the target language as much as possible. Daily participation, homework, tests and quizzes, projects, and journal entries make up the grade.

These year-long courses provide students with an opportunity to develop their Spanish language skills in classes that group students of similar proficiency levels. These levels are: Spanish I, Spanish II, Spanish III and Spanish IV/V. To the extent possible, all instruction in these courses will be conducted in Spanish. Students will be expected to contribute, to the best of their ability, to the maintenance of the classroom immersion environment. Proficiency in all major areas (speaking, listening, writing, and reading) will be developed through a variety of activity types. Both individual and group work will be included. The teacher will provide classroom instruction, assign homework and administer assessments.

In this History course students will explore the dictatorship of Francisco Franco and the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, in Spanish, through individual and group research, various readings, videos, and lectures. Students would be asked to write analytical papers, and to create research projects focused on their interest in each section studied. In this course students would have a variety of assessments ranging from reenactments, research based projects and presentations, and essays. Most assessment would be done in groups, however various projects and essays would be done individually.

In this History course students will explore the Spanish Civil War and rise of Francisco Franco, in Spanish, through individual and group research, various readings, videos, and lectures. Students would be asked to write analytical papers, and to create research projects focused on their interest in each section studied. In this course students would have a variety of assessments ranging from reenactments, research based projects and presentations, and essays. Most assessment would be done in groups, however various projects and essays would be done individually.

These semester-long courses will vary in content from semester to semester. However, they will all involve an in-depth examination of some aspect of world cultures that will likely challenge many of the preconceived notions that our students may have of the world. Topics in World Culture courses will be challenging both in their subject matter, but also in the work associated with them. Students will be required to participate in thoughtful in-class discussion, to do extensive research, to write well-structured papers and to make effective presentations about their work.

Prerequisites: Writing & Literature II or permission from the WLCL Chair and the Director of Studies.

These semester-long courses will vary in content from semester to semester. However, they will all involve an in-depth examination of some aspect of world cultures that will likely challenge many of the preconceived notions that our students may have of the world. Topics in World Culture courses will be challenging both in their subject matter, but also in the work associated with them. Students will be required to participate in thoughtful in-class discussion, to do extensive research, to write well-structured papers and to make effective presentations about their work. 

See History Department offerings for course descriptions for Arab-Israeli Neighborhood and Modern Latin America. These courses are cross-listed. Students must choose which department to receive credit in.