World Languages at Friends are taught by immersion, and by the end of the first interim (quarter) of sixth grade, students converse with each other,not using memorized text but within open-ended scenarios based on broad vocabulary study.
Spanish study at Friends begins in pre-kindergarten; Chinese and French are offered beginning in sixth grade.
The ultimate goal of the World Languages, Literatures & Cultures Department is the communication of meaning as fluently and accurately as possible. We teach the four basic skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Our focus is on using the language in the classroom; teachers speak to students only in the target language. Such immersion necessitates active listening on the part of students and encourages and enhances conversation. We reinforce the study of grammar through open-ended scenarios, skits, and dialogs, which might include such real-life situations as navigating travel, shopping for clothing, and restaurant and market excursions. We also include aspects of the culture and civilization in order to enrich the language-learning experience. Additional enrichment activities may include guest speakers music, video clips and filming, and pen pal exchanges.
In alternating years, French and Spanish seventh and eighth grade students have the opportunity to travel, respectively, to Québec and Puerto Rico during the summer. There have been two school trips to China (not limited to students in the Chinese program), and a third is planned for spring break 2017. In addition, there are QUEST Term service trips each summer.