"Competence in Spanish will enhance communication and career opportunities in the 21st century"
Spanish at BCS
Experts agree that competence in Spanish will enhance communication and career opportunities in the 21st century. Spanish is taught to all students at BCS with the possibility of students earning one foreign language credit toward high school graduation if they complete successfully the entire program at BCS. Typically students have their Spanish class twice per week in grades 3-6, and four days per week in grades 7 and 8. In grades 3 and 4, students begin their study of the language as part of their regular studies. In grades 5 and 6, the situational use of the language through conversation and cultural awareness is the focus. In grades 7 and 8, focused class time emphasizes conversational and written use of the language and prepares students for advanced high school study of Spanish.At all levels, students develop an understanding of the cultural and geographic context of the Spanish language and its significance to our hemisphere. The Spanish teachers at BCS are committed to providing excellent instruction and learning opportunities that challenge students to develop to the maximum their language proficiency in Spanish as well as to know and understand the literature and cultures of the Spanish-speaking peoples of the world. The teachers expect students to develop their proficiency in a foreign language by focusing on the four skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking. We encourage our students to think critically, to question their cultural assumptions about the Hispanic world, and to seek to immerse themselves, as much as possible, in a Spanish-speaking community.
In the near future in the United States, it is clear that Spanish is and will continue to be the most useful second language for Americans to acquire. In the article “The Top Ten Reasons for Learning Spanish" the author contends that “with well over 35 million Spanish speakers in the United States, and with over 40% of the population growth being among the Hispanic people, the stage is set for an enormous increase in Spanish usage in the United States." (http://www.studyspanish.com). As BCS students join the workforce, they will be entering a very different world from that of their parents and grandparents. A majority of people living in America will speak Spanish or be bilingual in Spanish and English. At BCS, we feel it is our responsibility to prepare our students for this inevitable change and to provide them with a skill that will be vital to them no matter what industry or career path they choose.
All levels of Spanish at BCS focus on proficiency, or what many educators refer to as “standards-based” teaching and learning. In other words, the curriculum focuses on what students are able to do with the language, and they have many varied opportunities to demonstrate their skills. In terms of outcomes, the curricula in grades 3-5 are designed to encourage a passion and love for the Spanish language and Hispanic culture. While reading and writing are both part of how students are evaluated, the main focus is on oral communication. In grades 6-8, the focus continues to be on oral communication, but reading and writing are much more prominent. Students begin to analyze the structure of the language in preparation for high school.
Real world applications of the language and opportunities for authentic experiences are central to the middle school Spanish program. In support of these goals, the department offers an annual field trip to Mexicantown in Detroit and a two-day trip to Chicago, a city with a much larger Hispanic population than Detroit. In addition, students in all grades are provided with opportunities to engage with the Hispanic world in their classrooms, as teachers utilize technology to video chat with people in other countries, explore other cultures through interactive presentations and videos, celebrate cultural holidays and festivals, and much more.