World Languages

World Languages offerings at Brooks are divided into two programs: classical languages and world languages.

The Classics Department applies intellectual curiosity and reason to such questions as What defines heroism? What are the limits of power?

Students consider these issues in their own lives as they read and interpret at a deep level. Ultimately, the students actively participate in their own education, think and write analytically, and consider carefully the large issues of ancient and current culture.

The World Languages department develops linguistic and cross-cultural skills in Chinese, French and Spanish in order to prepare students for a global society. Courses are taught in the target language to best develop the four basic linguistic skills – aural comprehension, speaking, reading and writing. Advanced courses develop analytical skills for understanding literature, investigating current events and researching important issues in world culture. Many courses use the Brooks School Language Laboratory and incorporate technology into daily lessons. Above all, teachers and students work together to examine beliefs and practices and to develop an appreciation for cultures that differ from their own.

Brooks School has a three-year minimum language requirement for graduation. Students are encouraged to continue their language study beyond the third year. In some cases, students may take more than one language at a time with the approval of the academic dean and the department.

Students are encouraged to study abroad to further increase their linguistic and cultural knowledge. In particular, Brooks students may apply for School Year Abroad programs. Students interested in these exciting opportunities should discuss the programs with their current language teacher.

Classical Languages

Latin First Level

Students begin the study of Latin by using Jenney, Baade and Burgess's "First Year Latin," a text which emphasizes the rapid acquisition of reading skills in Latin.

Latin Second Level

Students continue the study of Latin grammar and vocabulary using "Fabulae Graecae" and "Fabulae Romanae," while improving their reading and analytical skills.

Latin Reading: Decadence and Greed

Students define and discuss the Roman view of decadence in a variety of genres: oratory, picaresque novel and didactic poetry. The class reads Latin selections from Cicero's "Pro Caelio," Petronius and Vergil's "Aeneid." These texts are also read entirely in English. Students consider historical and cultural influences, compare ancient and modern views and actively participate in discussions. Students translate both prose and poetry, learn stylistic analysis and write cumulative analytical essays. (Will be offered in 2019-2020)

Latin Reading: Transformation and Change

This course considers transformation in several ways: myth into history, Republic into Empire, and physical transformation. The class reads Latin selections from Caesar’s "Bellum Gallicum," Cicero’s "In Catalina" and Ovid’s "Metamorphoses," as well as selections from "Roma" in English. Students consider cultural and historical influences, transformation in ancient and modern applications, and regularly participate in discussions. Students translate both prose and poetry, learn stylistic analysis, and write cumulative analytical essays. (WILL BE OFFERED in 2020-2021)

Latin Reading: Love and Friendship

Students define and discuss Roman views on love and friendship in a variety of genres: philosophy, myth and lyric poetry. The class reads Latin selections from authors such as Cicero, Apuleius, Catullus, Ovid and Vergil. Some of these texts may be read entirely in English. Students consider cultural and historical influences, success and failure, and actively participate in discussions. Students translate both prose and poetry, learn stylistic analysis, and write cumulative analytical essays. (WILL BE OFFERED IN 2021-2022)

Honors Latin

Students read unadapted texts such as Catullus, Cicero, Caesar, Vergil and Ovid at an advanced level and pace. They consider genre conventions and thematic connections between the texts. They also write analytical essays of varying scope and increasing depth, consider the historical and cultural influences, and read ancillary texts in English. This course can be taken before or after AP Latin. (NOT OFFERED IN 2019-2020)

Independent Study

This semester-long course allows students to study a project of their own design under supervision of a member of the department.

Mandarin Chinese

Mandarin Chinese First Level

In this introductory course, students learn the Pinyin Romanization system and use acquired language skills in a variety of classroom activities. While the focus is primarily on oral proficiency and aural comprehension including the mastery of tones, students are introduced to important grammar structures and learn to read and write simplified Chinese characters and to recognize them in context. At the end of this level, students have acquired the following language skills: asking and answering questions; narrating events; describing likes and dislikes; making short oral presentations in Chinese; engaging in short reading and writing activities that show a mastery of approximately 300 characters. These skills are employed within the framework of familiar contexts such as family, leisure activities, and school life and are enriched through the introduction of Chinese culture.

Mandarin Chinese Second Level

This intermediate course continues to build the language skills of Mandarin Chinese First Level: oral proficiency, aural comprehension, reading, and character formation. Consistent practice develops students' ability to express themselves using more advanced vocabulary, expressions, and grammar structures. Primary emphasis on conversational fluency is complemented by an increasing focus on reading and writing skills. Students master approximately 400 additional characters and are able to recognize significantly more in context. Language study is enriched with China's history and culture through guest speakers and audio, visual, and online sources. An honors section of this course may be offered.

Mandarin Chinese Third Level

This course continues to build the language skills of Mandarin Chinese Second Level: oral proficiency, listening comprehension, reading, writing, and character formation. Consistent practice develops students' ability to express themselves using more advanced vocabulary, expressions and grammatical structures. The primary emphasis on conversational fluency is complemented by an increasing focus on reading and writing skills. Students master approximately 400 additional characters and are able to recognize significantly more in context. Some modern literature is introduced. Language study is enriched with China's history and culture through guest speakers and audio, visual, and online sources. An honors section of this course may be offered.

Mandarin Chinese Fourth Level

This course continues to build the language skills of Mandarin Chinese Third Level: oral proficiency, aural comprehension, reading, and writing. Consistent practice develops students' ability to express themselves using more advanced vocabulary, expressions and grammar structures. Students explore more sophisticated aspects of the language and culture as increased use of authentic materials are employed. The primary emphasis shifts from conversational fluency to formal language usage such as language used in newspapers, modern literature and poetry. Longer texts covering social issues are introduced. Audio, visual and online sources as well as films are used to enhance students' understanding of the modern Chinese language and culture. An honors section of this course may be offered.

Advanced Mandarin Chinese

This course is devoted to reading and discussing literature and cultural topics in Chinese. Students increase their knowledge of Chinese culture, history and modern society through classroom reading and outside assignments. They enlarge their vocabulary, improve their reading comprehension and speed, maintain their conversation skills and enhance their writing ability. By the end of the course, students read Chinese short stories with the aid of a dictionary.

Independent Study

This semester-long course allows students to study a project in Chinese language, literature or culture under the supervision of a member of the department.

French

French First Level

This course introduces the French language through reading, writing, speaking and listening exercises. Fundamentals of sentence structure and other grammatical concepts are introduced. Students explore French and Francophone cultures in Europe, Africa, America, and Asia. French First Level offers an immersion-based curriculum using D’accord! texts and video. Class is augmented with authentic materials and conducted in French. French First Level is for students with no previous study of French or whose placement test indicates that they are not prepared to take French Second Level.

French Second Level

This course builds upon the foundations of grammar and vocabulary acquired in French First Level to improve reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. Students review past grammar and learn new material through a gradual exposure to more abstract concepts. Varied literary genres are explored to increase understanding of the French and Francophone cultures. French Second Level offers an immersion-based curriculum using D’accord! texts and video. Class is augmented with authentic materials and conducted in French. An honors section of this course may be offered.

French Third Level

This course increases proficiency in listening, reading, and writing while building vocabulary. Students learn more complex grammatical structures and embark on an introduction to literary analysis. Students also continue to develop oral skills through discussions on more advanced works by French and Francophone authors. French Third Level offers an immersion-based curriculum using D’accord! texts and video. Class is augmented with authentic materials and conducted in French. An honors section of this course may be offered.

French Fourth Level

Francophone Cultures. Students continue to grow their speaking, writing, and conversation skills in order to deepen their understanding of the French language. Through study of the francophone world, and special attention paid to critique and questioning of cultural differences, students will grow their comfort and abilities with both written and spoken French. Grammar is treated as needed, though focus is on improving fluency and fluidity of communication.

Advanced French: From Hexagon to Globe - Cultural Expansion Through Literature

This course offers an overview of the French history from prehistory through the Crusades, the Renaissance, the French Revolution and ending in modern France. Students will read an assortment of literary styles, both ancient and modern, as well as augment this study with authentic visual and audio materials. Students read and discuss selected articles on social, economic and political topics in the Francophone world. This course examines important themes in Francophone literature such as negritude in Aime Cesaire and the philosophy of the absurd in Camus, as well as other authors such as Fanon, Damas, Ben Jelloun, and Dao. They will continue to grow their understanding of historical and global issues and learn to express and compare their opinions thoughtfully and persuasively in an immersive French environment. There is an emphasis on improving written expression and reading comprehension as well as deepening grammatical understanding. (Not offered in 2018-2019)

Advanced French: The Changing Face of "French" Through Film

This course offers an overview of the French speaking world and current events and issues in an immersive French environment. The emphasis of this course is on francophone cultures and comparison with the students’ personal experiences. This course uses Francophone filmography and authentic materials to deepen the exploration of many topics. There is an emphasis on listening comprehension and oral production. Students should expect to challenge their opinions of what “French” is and to increase their cultural awareness.

Independent Study

This semester-long course allows students to study a project in French language, literature or culture under the supervision of a member of the department.

Spanish

Spanish First Level

This course introduces the Spanish language through reading, writing, speaking and listening exercises. Fundamentals of sentence structure and other grammatical concepts are introduced. Students explore diverse topics in the Spanish-speaking world such as art, history, and traditions. Spanish First Level is for students with no previous study of Spanish or whose placement test indicates that they are not prepared to take Spanish Second Level.

Spanish Second Level

This course builds upon the foundations of grammar and vocabulary acquired in Spanish First Level to improve reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. Students review previous grammar and learn new material through a gradual exposure to more abstract concepts. This class explores the customs and traditions, history, geography, music and selected pieces of literature from a variety of cultures. An honors section of this course may be offered.

Spanish Third Level

This course increases proficiency in listening and speaking in Spanish while building vocabulary. Students learn complex grammatical structures and writing skills in addition to the history, literature and culture of the Spanish-speaking world. Selected short stories are used as an introduction to literary analysis. An honors section of this course may be offered.

Spanish Fourth Level: Culture and Community

What does “chicano” mean? Why is Miami considered “Little Cuba?” Is Puerto Rico part of the U.S.? These questions and more are answered through a big-picture approach to understanding the actions and policies of the United States in their historic and current interactions with the Mexican-American, Cuban-American and Puerto Rican communities in this country. Students will reflect on their own cultural values and traditions as they examine these communities through the lenses of film, music, intermediate literature, poetry and history. The capstone of the course is a four-week project examining the Latino immigrant history and experience of Lawrence, Mass. Right next door, students are able to take weekly trips to examine archives, listen to oral histories, eat Dominican food, tour the city and mills, and understand first-hand the past and future possibilities of a city whose identity has always been closely tied to immigration.

AP Spanish Language and Culture

This course prepares students for the College Board’s Advanced Placement Spanish Language and Culture Exam. Students develop and master proficiency in the four basic linguistic skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students expand their vocabulary through weekly assignments and reading selections from Hispanic and Spanish literature. In addition, students prepare presentations on relevant topics. An intensive review of grammar, guided compositions, class discussions and oral exposés reinforces skills in preparation for the AP examination.

AP Spanish Literature and Culture

This course prepares students for the College Board’s Advanced Placement Spanish Literature and Culture Exam. Students participate in literary discussions, read literary texts in all genres, and prepare critical analysis using appropriate terminology.

Advanced Spanish

During first semester, students read, analyze and discuss short stories and selections from novels of contemporary Latin American authors, especially Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez. During second semester, the students focus on the art and science of poetry from various authors of the Spanish-speaking world such as Neruda, Guillén, Mistral and Storni. In addition, students explore the influence of poetry in contemporary music of different genres.

Independent Study

This semester-long course allows students to study a project in Hispanic language, literature or civilization under the supervision of a member of the department.

Languages Faculty

Chelsea Clater

Spanish Teacher

Deborah Davies

Latin Teacher

Stefan Dinescu

Spanish Teacher

Katherine McCampbell

French and Latin Teacher

Andrea Medved

French Teacher

Lillian Miller

Spanish Teacher, School Year Abroad Coordinator

Peter Neissa

Spanish Teacher

Tess O'Brien

Spanish Teacher

Reid Wyatt

Mandarin Chinese Teacher