An overarching aim of teaching and learning languages is to enable students to become critical and competent communicators. These aims suggest how the student may be changed by the learning experience.
The aims of the teaching and learning of MYP Language Acquisition are to:
- gain proficiency in an additional language while supporting maintenance of their mother tongue and cultural heritage
- develop a respect for, and understanding of, diverse linguistic and cultural heritages
- develop the student’s communication skills necessary for further language learning, and for study, work and leisure in a range of authentic contexts and for a variety of audiences and purposes
- enable the student to develop multi-literacy skills through the use of a range of learning tools, such as multimedia, in the various modes of communication
- enable the student to develop an appreciation of a variety of literary and non-literary texts and to develop critical and creative techniques for comprehension and construction of meaning
- enable the student to recognize and use language as a vehicle of thought, reflection, self-expression and learning in other subjects, and as a tool for enhancing literacy
- enable the student to understand the nature of language and the process of language learning, which involves the integration of linguistic, cultural and social components
- offer insight into the cultural characteristics of the communities where the language is spoken
- encourage an awareness and understanding of the perspectives of people from one’s own and other cultures, leading to involvement and action in one’s own and other communities
- foster curiosity, inquiry and a lifelong interest in, and enjoyment of, language learning.
Students may elect to study French, German, Latin, Mandarin, or Spanish. It is important to understand that these two-year Language Acquisition courses at Shaker Middle School are equivalent to the first level of high school study. Students who complete the second semester of eighth grade with a ‘C’ average and pass the eighth grade final exam will receive one (1) unit of high school credit and will be equipped to continue with the next level of study in ninth grade. Due to the nature of the Novice Spanish curriculum, students enrolled in these courses will not receive high school credit, but may continue their studies at the high school. Students who are identified as significantly below grade level in reading will be enrolled in a Reading intervention class instead of a Language Acquisition course.
Language Acquisition learning is sequential. Foundation skills, which build toward mastery of vocabulary and grammar, are the basis for learning.