The foreign language program at St. Paul of the Cross was established to introduce students to a foreign language and to help students develop an awareness of other cultures. The program is to prepare students not only to interact with other people, but to increase sensitivity to and understanding of values, customs, and traditions of others. All students are strongly encouraged to participate in class to help them acquire a basic understanding of common vocabulary and study the language outside of class.
Foreign language programs are an addition to the curriculum of a Catholic school and at St. Paul of the Cross. They are offered as part of the Practical Fine Arts program. The rigor of the required core classes make it possible to schedule these classes to only meet once a week. For that reason Spanish, as well as the other Practical Fine Arts Programs, are not graded as they are not a core, required class. Foreign language at the K-8 level is not a mandated subject.
The Spanish program at St. Paul of the Cross School is designed to develop basic communication skills and it is aligned with requirements of both the National and State Foreign Language Learning standards. Thematic units integrate both culture and vocabulary.
The same curriculum is used with all students, but adjusted to meet the needs of students in a particular grade. These thematic units are designed to build on knowledge obtained from the previous school year. Using Total Physical Response (TPR) as a method for long term retention of vocabulary, students acquire vocabulary in a manner similar to how a child learns their first language. In TPR, the teacher models actions and students mimic as they hear, in the target language. When the students reach fifth grade, TPRS is introduced.
What Is TPRS and Why Is It Successful? TPRS is a teaching method based on storytelling, and the main idea behind it is that students acquire languages by listening to them. IWhen we grow up, we learn our own language by hearing people around us talking and talking. We have exposure to this language for months and years, in a wide range of situations.
The basis of TPRS is very similar: students need to be exposed to the language orally during long periods of time to start learning it in a successful way.This method provides opportunities for utilizing and expanding vocabulary. High interest stories enable students to hear and draw pictures of a story, and then act out, retell, revise, and rewrite the story. This approach aids students in their listening, reading and writing skills.
In sixth, grade, students use the series: Discovering Languages. In seventh and eighth grade, students use the series: Spanish is Fun. The main focus for the students is to use the textbook as a tool to help reinforce grammar rules, transfer oral spanish into the writing process. The students are also learning the spanish spelling rules.
In order for students to become a successful learner in Spanish, they should make sure they study the materials given and practice speaking at writing at home. This will help reinforce what they are learning in their weekly class.