The World Languages program at Highlands School consists of three languages: Chinese, French, and Spanish. Students develop a functional use of another language in a variety of contexts and for multiple purposes, as well as an understanding of cultural practices as they relate to communicative competence. Students develop interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational modes of communication. Furthermore, students create connections with other disciplines, acquire information, and develop diverse perspectives in order to function in a variety of academic and social situations. Moreover, students make comparisons to achieve insight into the nature of language and culture in order to think critically, interact with cultural competence, and become global citizens who are able to more easily navigate across cultures. Finally, students understand the benefits of language-learning, therefore becoming lifelong learners who use the language for personal enjoyment and enrichment, as well as in multilingual communities at home and around the world.
The World Languages program at Highlands School engages all levels of language learners at each grade level through various instructional methods. Students participate in both implicit and explicit language-learning tasks. Students participate in individual, pair, small group, and whole group activities, and teachers scaffold language through comprehensible input in order to ensure students understand and are able to participate. Ultimately, the goal is for 90 to 100 percent of instruction to be in the target language as students’ progress through the world languages program. Teachers engage students in authentic target language tasks that develop a functional use of the target language for each student’s personal contexts and purposes. The more students are involved in their own learning, the more intrinsically motivated they will become and the more capable they are of setting goals, which is linked to motivation, achievement, and growth in proficiency.