Through World Language classes we deepen our appreciation and understanding of the world around us.
From Mandarin to Spanish to French, passionate faculty guide students through the five aspects of language learning: reading, writing, speaking, listening, and cultural context. This is done through a mix of in-class work, film festivals, the peer-led World Language Help Center, and travel abroad opportunities.
True to our Mission, World Language provides all students with the skills needed to communicate and excel in a changing world.
World Languages Departmental Requirements
Minimum of 2 credits of the same world language. Additionally, students must successfully complete level 3 (e.g. Spanish 3) of a language, if they enroll at Gould prior to twelfth grade.
World Language Courses Include:
Mandarin is the most spoken language in the world. In this introductory course, the focus will be on the five aspects of language learning: reading, writing, speaking, listening, and cultural context. Students will study Chinese pronunciation (pinyin), simplified Chinese characters, and simple sentence structures. Topics covered will include talking about oneself, family, and daily obligations. This class is not open to native speakers of Chinese.
A continuation of Mandarin 1, this course will continue to expand on language skills gained in the first level of Mandarin. Topics covered will include school life, schedules and calendars, and hobbies. There will be further emphasis on communicative skills and pronunciation through presentation and discussion. Topics about China and Chinese culture and history will also be covered. (Prerequisite: Mandarin 1)
A continuation of Mandarin 2, this course will continue to expand on language skills gained in the earlier levels of Mandarin. Topics covered will include transportation, travel, and daily life. There will be further emphasis on productive presentational and interpersonal skills. Topics about China and Chinese culture and history will also be covered. (Prerequisite: Mandarin 2)
This course will focus on reviewing material from Mandarin 3 and then completing the Huanying text book. If time permits, there will be a short unit on Classical Chinese. In the winter, we will study modernist Chinese poetry and read several short stories, comparing them to movie versions of the story. In the spring, we will read a play, work on a translation of part or all of the play and perform a staged reading of the play. (Prerequisite: Mandarin 3)
Mandarin 5 continues the study of Chinese literature, including modernist Chinese poetry and short stories. The fall will be an introduction to Classical Chinese. The winter will focus on modern literature and literary analysis. In the spring, we will read a play, work on a translation of part or all of the play, and perform in Chinese using the translation as subtitles. (Prerequisite: Mandarin 4)
In this introductory course, we stress listening, speaking, reading, and writing about everyday topics, which promote a basic understanding of the French language and culture. The topics cover greetings, the French school system, hobbies, and family life, ordering meals and shopping for food. The textbook Breaking the French Barrier Level 1 is used as a basis accompanied by the Allons-Y magazine, internet and video exercises.
In French 2 we discuss topics such as shopping for clothing, fashion, transportation, sports, weather and French family life. The students present oral and written projects related to the topics mentioned. The listening, speaking, reading and writing skills continue to be reinforced by the text Breaking the French Barrier Level 1, is used as a basis accompanied by the Bonjour magazine, as well as a variety of video and internet exercises. (Prerequisite: French 1)
Previous material is reinforced while new vocabulary and structural topics are added. We cover topics about cultural activities, Francophone artists, the French health system, technological communication, travel (with emphasis on Paris), banking and French cuisine. The texts used are Breaking the French Barrier Level II, Ça Va magazine, as well as the novel Le Petit Prince. Students are also introduced to French cinema and will watch several full length feature films in class; all accompanied by a variety of video and internet activities. (Prerequisite: French 2)
This course which includes an intensive grammar review is designed to enable students to achieve a high level of proficiency in the language and to give solid preparation for the SAT II French examination as well as preparing students for upper-level French courses in a university setting. Students will study the literatures and cultures of those countries where French is/was the official administrative language. Using readings in history, culture, and (primarily) literature as well as videos, internet resources, and periodicals, students will gain a sense of the diversity of the French-speaking world as well as the colonial history and modern day concerns that link francophone peoples throughout the world. (Prerequisite: French 3)
In conjunction with the French 4 class, this course includes an intensive grammar review is designed to enable students to achieve a high level of proficiency in the language and to give solid preparation for the SAT II French examination as well as preparing students for upper level French courses in a university setting. Students will study the literatures and cultures of those countries where French is/was the official administrative language. Using readings in history, culture, and (primarily) literature as well as videos, internet resources, and periodicals, students will gain a sense of the diversity of the French-speaking world as well as the colonial history and modern day concerns that link francophone peoples throughout the world. (Prerequisite: French 4)
This course builds a solid foundation of the language. Listening, writing, reading, and speaking drills are introduced to facilitate the understanding of the Spanish language and culture. There will be an emphasis on the building of the speaking skill working towards self-expression. Breaking the Spanish Barrier Level 1, a vocabulary notebook, and weekly journals (starting second trimester) will be required.
A continuation of Spanish 1, further advancing oral and written communication. Selections of short stories and poems by Hispanic and Spanish novelists are incorporated in the class to aid the student in reading comprehension skills. Other requirements include weekly journals, vocabulary lists, and oral presentations over a wide range of cultural topics. Breaking the Spanish Barrier Level 2 is used in addition to a variety of video and internet exercises. (Prerequisite: Spanish 1)
The goal of Spanish 3 is to refine basic grammar and gain confidence in oral expression. Reading comprehension is emphasized through use of short stories. Weekly journal entries and vocabulary building are stressed, as well as oral presentations. Breaking the Spanish Barrier advanced text is used in addition to a variety of video and internet exercises. (Prerequisite: Spanish 2)
Spanish 4 surveys a range of topics relevant to Spanish and Hispanic life and culture, allowing members of the class to focus on honing their written and spoken Spanish through discussion and composition. Students will complete a thorough grammatical review of material covered in previous courses. Topics covered in this course include, but are not limited to, Spanish and Latin American Art, History, and Geography. (Prerequisite: Spanish 3)
Students in Honors Spanish 4 engage in a study of peninsular Spanish narrative, essay, poetry, and drama, in conjunction with the Spanish 5 class. Readings are studied chronologically and held up against a historical background beginning in the twelfth century and continuing through the early twentieth century. In addition, students focus on speaking and writing skills through class discussion, presentation, and written exposition.
Students in Spanish 5 engage in a study of peninsular Spanish narrative, essay, poetry, and drama, in conjunction with the Honors Spanish 4 class. Readings are studied chronologically, and held up against a historical background beginning in the twelfth century and continuing through the early twentieth century. In addition, students focus on speaking and writing skills through class discussion, presentation, and written exposition.
World Language Faculty
Mr. Leff is the Chair of the World Languages Department and teaches French language and culture, senior history electives, and is the Assistant Coach of the cross country and cycling teams. He graduated with a B.A. from Middlebury College, earned his M.A. in French Literature from the University of Pennsylvania, and his Ph.D./abD in French Civilization at Pennsylvania State University. Formerly a nationally ranked triathlete and semi-professional cyclist, Mr. Leff enjoys running, cycling, and outdoor activities in the mountains of Western Maine. He met his wife, fellow Gould French teacher, Lolo, while teaching and racing in France. They currently reside in Davidson Dormitory and have two children; Alexandra ‘15, Schuyler ‘17; and two dogs, Giuseppe and Wexy.
Mr. Alford has been at Gould for more than 20 years, teaching Spanish, directing the ski patrol program, and musical theater. During the school year of 2009-10, he spent a year teaching in Zaragoza, Spain for School Year Abroad. When not teaching at Gould, Mr. Alford spends his time rafting (he’s a registered Maine whitewater guide) and playing music (he’s also an accomplished professional singer and guitarist). Most recently Mr. Alford checked another item off of his bucket list and hiked the Camino de Santiago in Spain with his family. Mr. Alford lives on campus with his wife, Andee, and their children, Ben ’18 and Chaia.
Born and raised in Montereau, France, Madame Leff is a teacher in the World Languages Department. She has been at Gould for 11 years sharing her passion and love for French language and culture in teaching beginner and intermediate levels of French. For the past 10 years, she has been Head of Davidson Dormitory where she lives with her husband, Adam, and their dog, Wexy. Outside of the classroom, most of Madame’s time is spent in the dormitory where she acts as a great resource for support and encouragement for the students living in her dorm. Madame Leff has two children, Alexandra ’15 and Schuyler ’17 who share in her family’s passion for all things French.
Ms. Wilkerson has taught at Gould since 2002. Prior to Gould, she led wilderness expeditions for adolescents and adults with Outward Bound in Maine, Canada, and Minnesota. She also traveled extensively throughout the Spanish speaking world, teaching Spanish to high school and middle school students. In addition to teaching Spanish at Gould, Ms. Wilkerson can often be found at school barn where she directs Gould’s Farm and Forest Program and directs the school’s Veterinary Science Summer Camp. A lifelong animal lover and a committed equestrian, she has a passion for teaching traditional skills and including the use of draft horses and forestry management. Ms. Wilkerson serves as Gould’s Environmental Sustainability Coordinator and mentors the student club, Gould Goes Green. Ms. Wilkerson and her husband, Mr. Pete Hedden, Dean of Community Life, and their two children live in the home they built just off campus.