The World Languages Program at The Frederick Gunn School is committed to promoting linguistic and cultural understanding while cultivating a lifelong appreciation and enthusiasm for languages and the cultures they represent. We believe that all students can learn a new language and that a global mindset is a necessity and an asset in today’s society.
In order to fulfill their academic diploma requirements, our students are required to complete through at least Level III in a language – Spanish, French or Mandarin – and may progress to Pre-AP and AP-level courses. FGS also supports the study of languages not offered by our faculty (for example: Italian) through an Independent Study Project.
Over the course of three to four years, our goal is for students to build a solid foundation in the four essential skills of language learning: listening, speaking, reading, and writing as well as to help them develop an understanding of various cultures. First-year students are placed into classes based on a placement test and prior performance. Returning students progress to the next level course based on past performance, teacher recommendation and department head approval.
Classroom learning may be augmented through trips abroad. For example, in 2020, Department Chair Jessica Lyon led a group of students on a 10-day community service trip to Peru in partnership with WorldStrides. They visited Machu Picchu, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, journeyed along the Inca Trail, and volunteered within the local community to immerse themselves within the culture of Peruvians. It is the goal of the department to offer a different immersion study tour each year, to represent each of the languages offered at FGS. These trips provide our students with opportunities for language learning, service learning, travel and study abroad while earning college credit and community service hours. All immersion trips are open to all students, regardless of their language skills or experience.