It’s fun and exciting to acquire a new language! A student learns new grammar and vocabulary, interacts with new cultures, finds ways to express themselves in a second language, and makes friends in class. While this is exciting, learning a new language can also be challenging. Language acquisition demands consistent study and significant time spent listening to and speaking in the target language.
To help make that time commitment easier and help younger students start languages earlier, we have two beginner course options for many of our languages. We currently offer split first-level languages for many of our modern languages: French, Spanish, and German. In the coming years, we’ll be adding Latin as well!
What Are the 1a & 1b Levels of Language Courses?
Our logic-level classes (what would traditionally be thought of as middle school) are labeled 1a and 1b. These classes meet twice a week. In one year, they go through just half the material covered in our rhetoric level I language courses (traditionally thought of as high school). When a student takes 1a and 1b together, they earn 1 high school World Language credit.
Why Begin Learning a New Language in Middle School
By taking a slower pace at the middle school level, we can build the grammatical knowledge that younger students need and spend more time playfully engaging with the language. An additional benefit to offering middle school language is that students are able to participate in all of the language offerings at the Academy by the time they finish high school — through year 5, which prepares students for college placement exams and university-level intermediate and advanced language study. Students can also work towards recognition of their language abilities through the Global Seal of Biliteracy.
Choosing Your Beginning-Level Course
The easiest way to choose which level you should place your student in is to consider their age. 6th grade students should start a language in 1a. 1a is also a good starting point for 7th grade students. However, a 7th grade student with some background in their target language may be better served starting with 1b, or even the high school level I of a course. In this case, we suggest emailing [email protected] and asking which level will be the best. Students in 8th grade should start with level I; students who are reluctant language learners, however, may consider taking level 1a in the 8th grade.
No matter which track you choose, joining a middle school language class or a high school language class means that your student can continue studying another language for several years, all while earning high school world language credits!