Lower School Japanese

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The Lower School Philosophy of Modern Language Instruction

We believe that:

*Acquiring a second language emerges slowly and naturally, and at  different rates for different children.  

*Words and expressions must be taught in context, not in isolation. Children strive to MAKE SENSE out of new language instruction.

*Children go through several predictable stages as they acquire a second  language.

*Children acquire a second language through active engagement.

*The teacher's role is to encourage and guide the student to produce  language but should never force performance.

*Language is culture.

*The second language experience can contribute directly to the mastery of first language concepts in the curriculum.

*Elementary students who study another language gain insight and appreciate for other peoples and cultures and a better understanding of their own language and culture.

*Vocabulary should be taught in context, never in lists. Many repetitions  of vocabulary are necessary, in the same lesson and in subsequent  lessons. We believe this repetition should involve different modalities of learning to assist youngsters with different learning  styles.

*Using a "deductive" approach is more natural and holistic than teaching  grammar for grammar's sake.

*Using a variety of approaches, methods, materials, and strategies helps students acquire a second language and helps keep interest high.  

*Students who study another language show greater cognitive development in such areas as mental flexibility, creativity, divergent thinking, and higher order thinking skills.

*Our students will have a better chance at any job in the future if they  have knowledge of another language.

 

By Vicki Swartz Roscoe

Assistant Head of School and Head of Lower School, Catlin Gabel