Inspiring Fluent Communicators
The World Languages Department at Notre Dame offers an extended and uninterrupted sequence of study in French, Latin, Mandarin, or Spanish.
Fostering global citizenship is an essential component of a 21st century education and a vital part of our mission. In order to achieve this goal, Notre Dame has made a commitment to the study of world languages, requiring our students to study at least three consecutive years of one language in the upper school. However, most of our students opt to continue their study of language beyond this requirement. The opportunity to study a second world language is available in grade 10 as an elective. French and Spanish are currently available in Levels 1-5 and AP. Latin and Mandarin are offered in Levels 1-4 and AP.
In the middle school, students are exposed to each of the four languages (French, Latin, Mandarin, and Spanish) for one quarter in grade 6. At the end of grade 6, students select the language they will study for grades 7 and 8. By the end of grade 8, most students will have completed the first level of the language and be placed in the second level in the upper school.
- Develop and strengthen the four language skills (listening, reading, writing and speaking).
- Encourage the use of the languages for communication beyond the classroom walls.
- Think critically about grammar usage, using both inductive and deductive reasoning.
- Develop an appreciation for the cultures of the people who use the target language.
- Encourage our students in their role as global citizens to be endowed with a deeper and more compassionate understanding of all human kind.
- As part of our one-to-one laptop initiative, each student can practice her oral and listening skills using the DiLL language lab software available on her MacBook.
- Throughout the school year, students take field trips to museums, participate in community events, and attend visits by native speakers.
- The Notre Dame language clubs (French, Chinese, Spanish, and Classics) cultivate student interest in language study. In this informal setting, students will be able to practice their language skills and to participate in dynamic activities that foster a fuller understanding of the cultures involved.
- International travel and enrichment programs are coordinated through the Center for Global Leadership.
Points of Pride
- Notre Dame’s World Languages Department continues to be recognized by the Pennsylvania State Modern Language Association (PSMLA) with its highest award as a PSMLA Exemplary Program (PEP) in recognition for its exemplary, well-articulated program led by highly qualified teachers. We are the only school in the state of Pennsylvania to receive this award eight consecutive times.
- Our students receive numerous awards annually for their performance in the National French Contest, the National Latin Exam, the National Spanish Exam, and other oral and written competitions in the region.