ASP offers a comprehensive French language program from K3–Grade 12, designed to support students of all proficiency levels. Students receive at least 45 minutes of dedicated French instruction each day. In the Upper School, students have the opportunity to learn Spanish in addition to French.
The Language Learning programs at ASP allow students to make connections between different curricular areas, acquire new competencies, and strengthen their language skills in their mother tongues.
THE PILLARS OF LANGUAGE LEARNING
Grounded in our Language Policy, our program is designed to achieve the following goals in six key areas:
Students learn to understand, appreciate, and respect studied cultures (French and Spanish), and apply this same approach to other cultures and civilizations around the world.
From beginners to native speakers, all students in the French and Spanish programs are supported and challenged to reach their full potential in their additional languages.
Language learning has considerable academic and social-emotional benefits for students at any level of proficiency. From making connections to their mother tongue and additional languages, to deepening their ability to express their thoughts, ideas, and emotions, students at ASP are enriched by language learning.
As part of their coursework, students learn to use language to connect with life in Paris, from visiting markets, museums, and cultural sites, to learning about the daily flow of French society and the key skills for successful interactions.
ASP students bring a wealth of diverse experiences to the community. By learning and sharing together, students learn to compare and contrast their mother tongue and culture to the target language and culture. ASP affirms each students' identity as a language learner with a unique perspective and background.
ASP students are supported in developing their communicative confidence, in taking risks to push their competency and engage with native speakers, and rewarded with new challenges and delights as they develop into lifelong learners and confident global citizens.
LANGUAGE LEARNING FOR A LIFETIME OF ENRICHING EXPERIENCES
FRENCH LANGUAGE LEARNING
ASP has developed a Two Track Approach to language learning featuring clearly defined proficiencies for each course level, based on the American Council on The Teaching of Foreign Languages.
This unified Grade K3–12 approach provides language-learning alignment across all three school divisions.
Students whose first language is French begin on the Heritage track. Students who have learned French as an additional language (FAL) begin on the FAL track according to their proficiency level (Novice, Intermediate, Advanced) but may move to the Heritage track depending on their reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills.
The table below clearly illustrates the two-track approach for students across all divisions.
ENTERING THE PROGRAM
Each year, students in both the Heritage track and the French as an Additional Language (FAL) track complete interactive proficiency placement tests to identify their current level of French. Our French department continuously assesses students throughout the year and ensure that they are in the appropriate course for their skills and abilities; flexible grouping based on proficiency allows our educators to quickly respond to student needs.
If a student is assessed as proficient at their current level, they are moved to the next class where they will be challenged further. Lower and Middle School students on the FAL track may cross over to the Heritage track if their proficiency develops beyond Advanced Level 2.
Each division uses age-appropriate techniques to support language learning and you can read more about the division-specific approaches below.
Students in Grades K3 and K4 learn French as a group. Dedicated Early Childhood specialists tailor the lessons to different proficiency levels within the group.
In Grades K5–5, students are separated into different rooms during the same French period based on their proficiency level.
The French teachers communicate continuously throughout the year to ensure that students are in the right room for their skills; flexible grouping based on proficiency allows our educators to respond to student needs. If a student is assessed as proficient at their current level, they are moved to the next class where they will be challenged further.
Students on the FAL track may cross over to the Heritage track if their proficiency develops beyond Advanced Level 2.
In Middle School, students of all proficiency levels are challenged to focus on French literature, poetry, history, and culture.
With increasing independence in the middle years, our French program focuses more on introducing students to Paris and the history of the city, and to nearby regions of historical significance like Verdun.
At this level, students practice the core four language skills by engaging with the city and learning to navigate life in France.
Upper School students are assessed for proficiency at the beginning of the year, and are only able to change French levels at the end of the semester.
IB French is available to students with sufficient proficiency.
INSTILLING A LOVE OF LANGUAGE AND CULTURE
Successful language learning starts with enjoying the process, limiting stress, and focusing on the journey through the language.
- Jean Pierre Heussaff, French Teacher and French Department Coordinator