The study of modern languages at Ship prepares students in interpersonal communication, interpretive listening, interpretive reading, oral and written presentations in French, German or Spanish. Students also study the culture and literature of foreign countries including their products, practices and perspectives. Our world languages curriculum strengthens critical thinking skills and global and intercultural awareness.
Modern languages majors or minors complete courses in conversation, writing, grammar, phonetics, culture, and literature in the chosen language. All courses are designed following the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) National Standards and they are conducted in the target language.
The Department of Modern Languages has a 35-position computerized multimedia audio-video language learning center for both classroom sessions and individual work. Some of the computers are equipped with Webcams and Skype to facilitate live interactions with native speakers. Practicing in a multimedia center accelerates students' learning process and transforms the most tedious aspects of language learning into an enjoyable experience. Both the department and Ezra Lehman Library maintain an excellent collection of books, magazines, maps, and DVDs on the language, literature, and culture of foreign countries.
Students have had internships in social service agencies, museums, businesses, community organizations, and government. Graduates have entered a variety of careers such as teaching, business, government, social service, public health, international relations, translation and interpretation for private and public entities, travel agencies, advertising, and others.
Students who wish to study abroad will find that there are many opportunities available. French and Spanish majors are especially encouraged to study at least one semester in a country of their language. Our majors and minors have studied in a number of foreign countries, chosen according to their own particular interests. Study abroad is highly encouraged but not required for the minor.
Outside the classroom, students can become involved with the French/francophone, German, and Spanish Clubs, which plan activities such as foreign language films and field trips. All three clubs offer academic support as well as cultural events. The French and Spanish Honorary Societies are organizations that recognize and honor students who have attained outstanding academic achievement. The department also provides a multilingual web page that features student production.
Department Goals and Learning Outcomes
In an effort to assist the University in achieving its educational mission, the Department of Modern Languages has set out the following general goals:
- Cultivate the students' learning of foreign languages (French, German, and Spanish) and their culture by implementing integrative strategies that enable the students to use the foreign language as a communicative tool to gain knowledge of the world.
- Promote intellectual development by encouraging the students to interpret, analyze and synthesize master pieces and contemporary works of literature in foreign languages.
- Strengthen the students' professional opportunities upon completion of their studies by fostering the notion of the bilingual intellectual as a mechanism of success in the global market of the 21st century.
The Modern Languages Department adheres to the philosophy of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). The Foreign Language Education programs in K-12 French and Spanish are accredited and Nationally Recognized by ACTFL/NCATE.
Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)
- Communicate thoughts, ideas, and opinions orally in the target language at the Novice-High level minimum (students in foreign language as a graduation requirement), Intermediate-Low level minimum (students in the minor), and Advanced-Low level minimum (students in the major or in the teacher certification program) as described by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Proficiency Guidelines.
- Communicate thoughts, ideas, and opinions in writing in the target language at the Novice-Low level minimum (students taking a foreign language as a requirement), Intermediate-Low level minimum (students in the minor), and Advanced-Low level minimum (students in the major or in the teacher certification program) as described by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).
- Recognize distinctive products and practices of the target culture and establish relationships between these and the perspectives (attitudes, values and beliefs) of the target culture.
- Identify, synthesize, analyze and present bibliographical information in the form of an original research paper in the target language.
Student Learning Outcomes Pertaining to Foreign Language Education
- Discuss the teaching/learning process in world language education (PA-SUCOE-CF 5; ACTFL/NCATE 1.a; 3.a).
- Recognize the main components and teaching principles of seminal language teaching approaches (PA-SUCOE-CF 2.5; ACTFL/NCATE 3.a).
- Use the National Standards for world language learning, the ACTFL K-12 Standards and the state standards as a framework for foreign language teaching planning and the assessment of learning (PA-SUCOE-CF 2.3; ACTFL/NCATE 4).
- Design and implement standards-based and communicative-oriented lessons that include the three communicative modes: Interpretive, Interpersonal, and Presentational (PA-SUCOE-CF 2.3; ACTFL/NCATE 4).
- Develop and implement effective assessment instruments/protocols (including Dynamic Assessment) to evaluate the three communicative modes (PA-SUCOE-CF 4; ACTFL 5).
- Create and/or modify instructional materials to suit the needs of specific learning populations (PA-SUCOE-CF 1; ACTFL/NCATE 3.b)
- Report assessment results to the class (PA-SUCOE-CF 2.7; ACTFL/NCATE 5.c).
- Create and/or modify instructional material to connect other areas of the school curriculum with second language learning (PA-SUCOE-CF 1; ACTFL/NCATE 2.c).
- Use technology as a tool to enhance the students' learning experience (PA-SUCOE-CF 3; ACTFL/NCATE 1 and 3).
The department has a placement plan designed for students who already have some knowledge of Spanish, French or German and want to take upper-level courses or to receive credit by examination for certain courses. Please contact the department chair for placement in these courses.
Students with three or more years of high school language study are advised NOT to take a 101, 102, or 103 courses in that same language. These students should take a 200-level course. Contact the department chair to discuss the appropriate placement.