Academics
Curriculum Guide

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Foreign Language

The Foreign Language Department seeks not only to develop in students the ability to communicate in other languages, but to convey a fuller understanding and appreciation of other cultures as well. Demonstrating a broader knowledge of language and culture will prove invaluable for those who look to take positions of leadership in the current social, political, and economic climate.
Woodberry Forest offers instruction in Mandarin Chinese, French, Latin, and Spanish. Courses in modern foreign languages stress oral and written communication while exploring the cultural heritage of the countries where those languages are spoken, while courses in Latin acquaint students with Greek and Roman customs, laws, morals, and religion as they help build vocabulary and translation skills. In addition to classroom offerings, summer study and language immersion programs in Spain, Nicaragua, China and France are offered.
Students must successfully complete the third level of one language to fulfill the school’s graduation requirement. Initial placement is determined by means of a summer placement exam, which students complete at home prior to arrival on campus. Promotion to the next level of study is earned through a final grade of C-or higher.
 
 
  • Foreign Language_Spanish 1

    This course is an introduction to the study of the target language and its culture. Students perform the most basic functions of the language and become familiar with some elements of its culture. The emphasis is placed on the development of all four skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing within an authentic context, extending outside of the classroom setting when possible. The content focuses on the students' lives and experiences and includes an exposure to everyday customs and lifestyles. Grammar is integrated throughout the course and is selected according to the language conventions (functions).

    A general introduction to the culture, products (e.g., literature, laws, foods, games), perspectives (e.g., attitudes, values, beliefs), and practices (patterns of social interaction) is integrated throughout the course. Students acquire some insight into how languages and cultures work by comparing the target language and culture(s) to their own. Integration of other disciplines is ongoing throughout the course.
  • Foreign Language_Spanish 2

    Students enrolled in this course have either successfully completed a Spanish 1 course at Woodberry or have placed out of Spanish 1 due to previous language study and/or established proficiency. This course provides students with opportunities to continue to develop their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. Students participate in short authentic situations by combining and recombining learned elements of the language orally and in writing. They are able to satisfy basic survival needs and interact on issues of everyday life in the present, past, and simple future, inside and outside of the classroom setting. They compose related sentences which narrate, describe, compare, and summarize familiar topics from the target culture. Focus is placed on understanding main ideas in simple texts and spoken Spanish. Students develop a better understanding of the similarities and differences between cultures and languages and they examine the influence of the beliefs and values of the target culture(s). Integration of other disciplines, such as history, art, music, and gastronomy are incorporated throughout the course.
  • Foreign Language_Spanish 3-3H

    Students enrolled in this course have either successfully completed Spanish 2 at Woodberry or have placed out of Spanish 2 due to previous language study and/or established proficiency. This course provides students with opportunities to continue the development of their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. Students participate in authentic situations by creating, combining, and recombining learned elements of the language orally and in writing. 

    The emphasis in Spanish 3 is on exploring language functions rather than simple memorized structures. They are able to argue and express opinions with supporting details. Focus is placed on exploring subtexts and symbolism in texts and spoken Spanish.
  • Foreign Language_Spanish 4 -4H

    Students enrolled in this course have successfully completed Spanish 3 at Woodberry or have placed out of Spanish 1-3II due to previous language study and/or established proficiency. A major focus of this course is to enable students to communicate in writing and in extended conversations on a variety of familiar and some unfamiliar topics. Students begin to narrate, discuss, and support fairly complex ideas and concepts using concrete facts and topics with details in a variety of times. They satisfy routine social demands and meet most social requirements. The emphasis of this course can vary. Many different types of text (short stories, poetry, excerpts from various periods of literature, current events, technical manuals, and other authentic materials) are included, depending on the emphasis and providing for independent reading. Finer points of grammar and vocabulary are studied to aid oral and written communication.

    There is more in-depth study of the target culture(s) and their influence throughout the world. Students are able to connect the target language to other disciplines and can compare it to their own. Finally, they are able to use the language inside and outside of the classroom setting.

    Note: The objectives and proficiency expectations for Spanish 4 are written at the honors level; therefore, this course is always assigned to category H. The course code may also include AP designation, based on the AP Central compatibility scale with ACTFL.
  • Foreign Language_Spanish 5 Honors

    This course is designed for advanced students who have successfully completed Spanish 4H, and students in Spanish 4 that attended the summer program in Spain, and are interested in continuing their study of the Spanish language and Spanish-speaking cultures. This course will be taught entirely in Spanish and will help students become successful at listening to, describing, narrating, analyzing, and presenting complex information. Students will be exposed to a variety of Spanish and Latin American works in narrative fiction, poetry, drama, and essay. Students will also engage with a variety of topics and debates common to contemporary issues in the Spanish-speaking world such as race and ethnicity, gender, interpersonal relationships, and globalization.
  • Foreign Language_French 1

     
    Students enrolled in this course are either beginning their study of French having had no previous instruction, or cannot function consistently at a novice, mid-level of proficiency. This course is an introduction to the study of the target language and its culture. Students perform the most basic functions of the language and become familiar with some elements of its culture. The emphasis is placed on the development of all four skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing within an authentic context, extending outside of the classroom setting when possible. The content focuses on the students' lives and experiences, and includes an exposure to everyday customs and lifestyles. Grammar is integrated throughout the course and is selected according to the language conventions (functions), but the emphasis of the course is not on learning grammar but in learning to begin to interpret what they read and hear, use writing and speaking to communicate their thoughts, and to actively interact with others to share or discover information through language, gesture, and expression. 

    A general introduction to the culture, its products (e.g., literature, laws, foods, games), perspectives (e.g., attitudes, values, beliefs), and practices (patterns of social interaction) is integrated throughout the course. Students acquire some insight into how languages and cultures work by comparing the target language and culture(s) to their own. Integration of other disciplines is ongoing throughout the course.
  • Foreign Language_French 2

    Students enrolled in this course have either successfully completed a French 1 course at Woodberry or have placed out of French 1 due to previous language study and/or established proficiency. This course provides students with opportunities to continue the development of their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. Students participate in short authentic situations by combining and recombining learned elements of the language orally and in writing. They are able to satisfy basic survival needs and interact on issues of everyday life in the present, past, and simple future, inside and outside of the classroom setting. They compose related sentences which narrate, describe, compare, and summarize familiar topics from the target culture. Focus is placed on understanding main ideas in simple texts and spoken French. Students develop a better understanding of the similarities and differences between cultures and languages and they examine the influence of the beliefs and values of the target culture(s). There is an integration of other disciplines such as history, art, music, literature, and gastronomy throughout the course.
  • Foreign Language_French 3

    Students enrolled in this course have either successfully completed a French 2 course at Woodberry or have placed out of French 2 due to previous language study and/or established proficiency. The emphasis in French 3 is on exploring language functions rather than simple memorized structures. This course provides students with opportunities to continue the development of their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. Students participate in authentic situations by creating, combining, and recombining learned elements of the language orally and in writing as well as arguing meaning and expressing opinions using supporting details through the study of written texts. Focus is placed on exploring subtexts and symbolism in both texts and spoken French.

    Students develop a deeper understanding of the similarities and differences between cultures and languages and they examine the influence of the beliefs and values of the target culture(s). Disciplines such as history, art, music, literature and gastronomy are integrated throughout the course.
  • Foreign Language_French 4 Honors

    Students enrolled in this course have successfully completed French 3 at Woodberry or have placed out of French 1-3 due to previous language study and/or established proficiency.

    A major focus of this course is to enable students to communicate in writing and in extended conversations on a variety of familiar and some unfamiliar topics. Students begin to narrate, discuss, and support fairly complex ideas and concepts using concrete facts and topics with details in a variety of times.

    They satisfy routine social demands and meet most social requirements. The emphasis of this course can vary. Many different types of text (short stories, poetry, songs, movies and tv shows, excerpts from various periods of literature, current events, technical manuals, and other authentic materials) are included, depending on the emphasis and providing for independent reading. Finer points of grammar and vocabulary are studied to aid oral and written communication.
    There is more in-depth study of the target culture(s) and their influence throughout the world. Students are able to connect the target language to other disciplines and can compare it to their own. Finally, they are able to use the language inside and outside of the classroom setting.
     
  • Foreign Language_French 5 Honors

    This course is designed for advanced students who have successfully completed French 4 Honors. The course is taught in French and will help students become successful at listening to, describing, narrating, analyzing, and presenting complex information. Students are exposed to a variety of works in narrative fiction, poetry, and drama, as well as ideas presented in essays or editorials. They engage and debate common contemporary world issues concerning race and ethnicity, gender, interpersonal relationships, government and politics, the effect of technology and globalization.
  • Foreign Language_Chinese 1

    Chinese 1 introduces modern Chinese, stressing oral-aural proficiency and the recognition of both original Chinese characters and simplified characters. Students also study Chinese writing and Chinese culture. The goal is to bring the students to a novice mid/to novice high level in speaking, listening, reading and writing. The ACTFL guidelines are given in an appendix here to better explain what is expected at each level.
  • Foreign Language_Chinese 2

    Chinese 2 builds upon the foundation given in the first year of the language and prepares students for the diversity of spoken language in order to prepare the students in a way that they would be able to live and study in China in a native environment. Woodberry uses the ACTFL guidelines for proficiency. The goal is for the boys to minimally reach the levels of Intermediate-Low with aspirations of attaining Intermediately-Mid for the higher-achieving boys. The ACTFL guidelines are given in an appendix to this document.
  • Foreign Language_Chinese 3 - Chinese 3 Honors

    Chinese 3 builds upon the foundation given in the first two years of the language and prepares the students for the diversity of spoken language that they will encounter in normal day-to-day interactions with native Chinese speakers. Woodberry uses the ACTFL guidelines for proficiency. The goal is for the boys to minimally reach the levels of Intermediate-Mid with aspirations of attaining Intermediately-High for the higher-achieving boys. The ACTFL guidelines are given in an appendix to this document as overall guidelines.
  • Foreign Language_Chinese 4/5 & Chinese Honors 4/5

    The goal in this upper-level Chinese class is to have the boys continue to use Chinese to learn about the difference between Chinese culture and American culture as well as beginning to understand how China itself is in many ways a melting pot. The course will also look at the forces that drive the changes in modern China.

    Woodberry use the ACTFL guidelines for proficiency. The goal is for the boys to minimally reach the levels of Intermediate-High with aspirations of attaining Advanced-Low for the higher achieving boys in Chinese 4 and 4 Honors. For the level 5 and 5 Honors students the hope is that the level 5 students will be solidly in Intermediate-High and 5 Honors students will attain Advanced-Low with the occasional student being able to reach Advanced-Mid. The ACTFL guidelines are given in an appendix to this document as overall guidelines.
  • Foreign Language_Latin 1

    Latin 1 introduces the students to Latin grammar and vocabulary while exposing them to Roman history, culture, and mythology. Grammar is learned mainly through translation from Latin to English, although the students also practice translating from English to Latin, particularly in the fall term. Stories chronicling the time from the Trojan War to the founding of Rome by Romulus are read in Latin. The course covers the first thirty lessons in Jenney's First Year Latin. The students learn all five noun declensions and all four verb conjugations in both active and passive voices. A daily quizzing method ensures that no student falls behind. Through their study of Latin, students improve their understanding of English grammar and increase their English vocabulary as they make connections between Latin vocabulary and English cognates.
  • Foreign Language_Latin 2

    Latin 2 expands students’ study of Latin morphology, enriches their vocabulary, and further develops their knowledge of syntax. The balance of Jenney’s First Year Latin as well as Second Year Latin are completed. Readings cover the story of Rome from its founding by Romulus through the birth of the Republic and the early heroes of Roman history. With each unit a new chapter of Greco-Roman mythology is introduced, and common Latin idioms found in current English usage are covered. In the spring book one of Caesar’s commentaries on the Gallic War is read, initiating the process of familiarizing students with primary source Latin that will be the main focus of Latin 3.
  • Foreign Language_Latin 3 & Latin 3 Honors

    Latin 3 students begin the year with a thorough review of Latin grammar and syntax by reading book four of Caesar’s commentaries on the Gallic War. In the winter term students in both Latin 3 and Latin 3 Honors sections are exposed to more complex Latin prose through Cicero’s speeches against Catiline and Pliny’s letters to Tacitus. In the spring Latin 3 and Latin 3 Honors students read the poetry of Catullus, Ovid, and Martial. Meters, forms and techniques of Roman poetry are introduced. Each author’s poetry is discussed within its historical and cultural context. Throughout the year students in honors Latin 3 translate and analyze additional literature from the same authors and their contemporaries.
  • Foreign Language_Latin Literature_Advanced: Vergil

    Offered every other year, both honors and regular sections
    This course is designed to resemble a college-level Latin literature course. It does not follow the AP curriculum but rather parallels it. Any student, but especially one in the honors section, has the opportunity to prepare for the AP exam. Students read a broad selection from Vergil’s Aeneid in the original Latin and gain insight into the historical context that serves as a background to the Aeneid, the collapse of the Roman Republic, and the establishment of the Augustan Principate. At the conclusion of the winter trimester, students indicating a desire to take the AP exam are given additional assignments to fill any gaps between the course syllabus and the AP syllabus.
  • Foreign Language_Latin Literature_Advanced: Ovid

    Offered every other year, both honors and regular sections
    The Ovid class is offered every other year, alternating with the Advanced Latin Literature: Vergil course. It is a college level reading class. Students read a large and varied selection of poems by Ovid. Students read the Vulgate Bible, as well as works by Catullus and Vergil and analyze plots lines, themes, and style for their influence on Ovid’s poetry. Students engage in comparative mythology, examining parallels between the myths of various cultures and time periods and Ovid’s poems. Students also research the history and culture of Rome in the time of Ovid and the influence the author has had on modern literature. Students in the regular section and the honors section will meet at the same time, but the honors students will be expected to translate and deeply analyze more literature.

Our Faculty

  • Photo of Jairo Rivera

    Jairo Rivera

    Chair
    (540) 672-6181 Ext 8629
    National University, Managua - BEd
    Indiana University - MA
    2006
    Bio
  • Photo of Donald Brewster

    Donald Brewster

    (540) 672-6181 Ext 8622
    Hamilton College - BA
    University of Georgia - MA
    1987
    Bio
  • Photo of Andrew Collier

    Andrew Collier

    (540) 672-6181 Ext 8625
    Wofford College - BA
    University of Virginia - MA
    2008
    2003
    Bio
  • Photo of Indira Cope

    Indira Cope

    540-672-3900 ext 8608
    Oberlin College - BA
    Framingham State College - MEd
    Middlebury College - MA
    2000
    Bio
  • Photo of Andrew Handelsman

    Andrew Handelsman

    Spanish, Director of Woodberry In Spain
    (540) 672-3900
    Dartmouth College - BA
    University of Southern Mississippi - MA
    2003
    Bio
  • Photo of Will Hastie

    Will Hastie

    UMass-Amherst - BA
    UMass-Amherst - MAT
    2019
    Bio
  • Photo of Paul Huber

    Paul Huber

    Academic Dean
    (540) 672-6181 Ext 8627
    Yale University - AB
    Middlebury College - MA
    1972
    1968
    Bio
  • Photo of Scott Navitsky

    Scott Navitsky

    (540) 672-6181 Ext. 8628
    Harvard College - AB
    2001
    Bio
  • Photo of Raphael Sydnor

    Raphael Sydnor

    (540) 672-6181 Ext 8630
    Hampden Sydney College - BA
    Brown University - MAT
    Middlebury College - MA
    2006
    1997
    Bio
Woodberry Forest admits students of any race, color, sexual orientation, disability, religious belief, and national or ethnic origin to all of the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sexual orientation, disability, religious belief, or national or ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic or other school-administered programs. The school is authorized under federal law to enroll nonimmigrant students.