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World Languages

At Lincoln, we believe that learning another language creates a pathway to many opportunities—careers, travel, friendships, empathy, and more. Not only can students learn communicative, interpretive, creative, and analytical life skills, but they can practice being out of their comfort zone in a space where risk-taking, keen observation of surroundings, and self-reflection play a central role.

Lincoln students’ journey begins in Little School where experiencing both French and Spanish is first-hand. The program continues in the Lower School with the language of choice (French or Spanish) and advances to the Middle School with French, Spanish, and the addition of a Latin requirement. The journey culminates in the Upper School with the added option of Arabic and a graduation requirement of three consecutive years in one language, although students may continue to study a second language, or add an additional one at any point during Upper School.

Across divisions, the teacher plays the role of a facilitator, evaluating each student’s progress and providing guidance and feedback as students complete linguistic, communicative, and real-world tasks while also building skills and confidence in themselves. Each of the four divisions are critical steps towards proficiency, as students work at an age- and content-appropriate level to develop the four language skills (listening, reading, writing, and speaking) and to deepen their insight into cultural aspects through literature, film, music, art, cuisine, movement, games and more.

Grades Served:

2 years - Grade 12

Our philosophy aligns with 4 Cs (Critical Thinking/Problem Solving, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity and Innovation).

Learning to express yourself in a foreign language is not only a great way to understand yourself better, but also to gain different perspectives and be better equipped to compete, communicate, and contribute in today's global society.

Holly Kindl, Lincoln School World Languages Department Head

World Languages: Little School

Inspired by how easily young children acquire language, the objectives of the Emergent Language Program revolve around children’s innate confidence to recognize and mimic sounds and language patterns. The children enrolled in Lincoln School’s Early Childhood and Little School have instruction twice a week by a French teacher and twice a week by a Spanish teacher. The world language language teachers speak the target language as they sing, do art projects, read books, play games, and participate in the daily life and activities of the class with the children. The teachers take the role of a member of the “family” who doesn’t necessarily speak English but interacts with the children in a warm and playful way. They create a bond with the students which encourages the young learners to take risks when speaking French and Spanish.

World Languages: Lower School

In Lower School, our main goals are to build confidence in the learner while developing the skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing in engaging and integrative ways. To do so, from Grades 1–5, the curriculum is mapped out to continuously build, expand, and review vocabulary, communicative functions, and embedded structures in a series of units so that students can reinforce their understanding of the target language while being presented with a variety of topics. In addition, students work to refine pronunciation through repetition and exposure to the specific sounds of the language, gain cultural awareness about the people and places where the target language is spoken, and reinforce the students’ knowledge of other subject areas, such as math and social studies, through integrated activities and tasks. A variety of strategies are used to check for understanding and skill development, such as playing games, role-playing and other performances, projects, TPR (movement), drawing, or completing language- and content-based tasks.

World Languages: Middle School & Upper School 

Spanish or French: Our World Language program is guided by ACTFL World Readiness Standards, which include the three modes of learning: Interpersonal and Presentational (speaking and writing), and Interpretive (reading and listening). Vocabulary and grammar are organized by topic or situation and are linked to a communicative goal, which helps the students to focus on a purposeful use to put their knowledge into action. Practice begins with memorization and simple activities and escalates to more open-ended ones that challenge the students to personalize and apply the theme in real-world situations.

All the while, language instruction is infused with rich aspects of culture, history, and people of the geographic areas where the target language is spoken. Performance-based tasks and assessments encourage students to think and demonstrate understanding and proficiency in those three modes while touching on the 5 Cs,—Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities. Upon successfully completing Grade 8,  students are ready for Level 3 or 3 Honors French/Spanish in the Upper School.

Latin: In Grades 7 and 8,  students complete the North American Latin I curriculum. Learning Latin provides a multitude of advantages and reinforces learning in all subject areas and prepares students for a high level of achievement in many professions including medicine and law. Latin teaches logic, order, discipline, structure, detail, accuracy, organization, time management, patience, and precision. Students must be alert, pay attention to details, make inferences, memorize, decode, and problem solve as they work to translate and analyze texts. The development of these skills are transferable to all subject areas. This curriculum introduces students to the core elements of the Latin language: the six tenses of the verb, the five noun declensions, all six cases, adjective agreement and hundreds of Latin vocabulary items as well as the structure of an inflected language. Students study Roman culture and civilization and the role she has played and continues to play in shaping the modern world. Additionally, they learn how Latin is the quintessential interdisciplinary subject by making content connections with their other studies from science and math to theater, art, English, and their modern language. In the spring, Grade 8 students compete in the National Latin Exam, which measures performance and achievement.

As the progression of language levels continues, in the Upper School the tasks increase in difficulty by requiring next level critical thinking skills and more integration of the four language skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing to refine communication.