Embracing Language and Culture: A Journey through LuHi’s World Language Department

LuHi Class of 2023

At LuHi, the World Language Department stands as a vibrant and united community, dedicated to teaching Spanish and French and fostering an appreciation for the cultures that accompany these languages.The department aims to equip students with valuable skills, knowledge, and perspectives that extend beyond the classroom walls. Let’s explore the strengths, student experiences, and unique classes that make the LuHi Language Department both enriching and engaging.

Strengths of the Department: One of the department’s greatest strengths lies in its unity and passion for teaching languages and cultures. The dedicated team of teachers, comprising native, heritage, and highly proficient speakers of Spanish and French, brings both linguistic and cultural expertise to the classroom. With a shared commitment to imparting language skills, the department fosters a supportive and engaging learning environment that allows students to thrive.

Student Outcomes: The ultimate goal of the World Language Department is to instill confidence in our students, enabling them to embrace the journey of learning multiple languages. We believe that every LuHi graduate should walk away from our department with the knowledge that they are capable of acquiring and mastering a second or third language. Department chair Ms. Paula Oyarce shared, “We want to help them develop their intrinsic motivation so they can go out in the world and continue growing their language skills in order to interact with speakers of other languages around the world.”

Beyond language proficiency, LuHi’s World Language teachers aim to nurture global citizens who possess a well-rounded perspective of people and cultures beyond the United States. By emphasizing respect, compassion, and understanding, we equip our students with the tools necessary to navigate cultural differences with grace and appreciation. Ms. Oyarce reflected, “It is our hope that every LuHi graduate emerges from our department with a genuine respect for diverse practices and perspectives.”

Middle School Experience: The middle school experience within our department is characterized by dynamic, high-energy classes that immerse students in real-world scenarios and conversations. By introducing them to new units based on urban life, we teach them essential vocabulary related to going places, prepositions, and leisure activities in the city. Students take survey courses of both French and Spanish in 6th grade, and then select a language to student further. Students take Spanish or French 1A in 7th grade, and Spanish or French 1B in 8th grade, preparing to enter high school as Level 2 students.

High School Experience: In the high school years, our passionate teachers expand on the foundation established in middle school by incorporating cultural lessons into the curriculum. By exploring the interconnectedness of language and culture, students gain a deeper appreciation for the languages they study through activities, projects, and engaging discussions. Students take their language through Level 3, and have the opportunity to progress to both Level 4 and AP (Advanced Placement) classes, where they can earn college credit after successful completion of the AP exam.

Highlighted Classes: One of the special offerings within our department is the 6th grade Spanish and French program led by Ms. Calimopulos. In these classes, students embark on an exciting exploration of both Spanish and French, taking a 1 semester survey course in each language. By utilizing a combination of cultural and didactic approaches, students develop language skills while simultaneously discovering the vibrant cultures associated with these languages. This program serves as a strong foundation for their future language learning experiences.

In the LuHi World Language Department, our dedicated teachers create a nurturing environment where students can acquire both language skills and cultural understanding. Through a focus on language proficiency, cultural appreciation, and global citizenship, our department prepares students for a multicultural world. Ms. Oyarce put it best: “ We truly love our students and we work hard to ensure they are exposed to as much of the language as is possible.”