Languages

Chinese (Mandarin) instruction begins in 3rd grade for all students (30 minutes daily). In Secondary School, students choose between Chinese and Latin. Most students elect to continue Chinese (3 periods per week). The School’s aim is to enable students to communicate and share with Chinese friends, to open a window on Asian civilizations and to be in a position to study, live and work in China if they wish. As is the case with English, our program is based on immersion and the acquisition of vocabulary and expressions used by Chinese students of the same age.

Teaching Chinese in Primary School yields important side benefits: Chinese sounds often differ markedly from western sounds and enhance auditory discrimination; learning to recognize Chinese characters develops visual memory and writing them exercises small motor coordination.

Student progress in Chinese is monitored using Hanban (Confucius Institute) official certifications: YCT and HSK. Our goal is to have 12th grade students obtain the HSK4.

In 7th grade, students may take a new European language: German, Italian or Spanish. (They must do so if they do not pursue Chinese or another language at home.) As is the case with all languages at Ecole Jeannine Manuel, languages are studied for the culture they convey, the window they provide, as much as for the communication skills added to a student’s linguistic toolkit. Beginning in 9th grade, classes are structured by proficiency levels and external certifications reward student growth. In each case, the certifying institutions are those of the country where the language is spoken: Goethe Institute, Dante Institute and the Cervantes Institute, respectively. The proficiency scales of these institutes have been harmonized under the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

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