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World Languages & Cultures

The World Languages department offers as its foundational languages Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. The language sequence of study in modern and classical languages follow the guidelines of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages’ (ACTFL). Each class in the sequence responds to students’ identified levels of proficiency. Every Geffen Academy student initiates the program by filling out a language survey and by taking the ACTFL placement exam in the language of study. The department will analyze the data to place students in a class that responds to their range of development. Each course will also respond to students language background by incorporating strategies for teaching heritage and non-heritage language learners. In addition, the department will accommodate accelerated language learners with classes that use the target language to teach literature (An example: Mesoamerican Mythology: poets, gods, and serpents), cross-disciplinary topics (An example: Chilean art: The vanguard scene) and topics driven by student’s interests (An example: L.A.’s Murals: A representation of Latina/o history). When appropriate, students may be recommended for college-credit coursework in partnership with the university. Students may also elect to take an additional language of study.

The department teaches languages through a communication-centered and sociocultural approach. Each sequence in the department is organized through the ACTFL ranges of language proficiency. We begin with the novice range which includes novice low, novice mid and novice high levels (Novice IA-C). This is followed by intermediate low, intermediate mid and intermediate high (Intermediate IIA-C) levels of proficiency. Through the sequence students will be developing speaking, writing, listening, and reading by using authentic sources within the context of real-world situations. In addition, students will be exposed to language through connections with language communities in Los Angeles and abroad.