FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. Which students should study a world language in Darien? All students!
2. What are the characteristics of a successful language learner? Learning a new language is not about being "good at it"; rather, it is about growth, building upon what you already know, and being willing to take risks. The most important characteristic of a successful language learner is that the learner has a sincere desire to learn the language and embraces the culture of the people that speak it.
3. Should students study another language? Why? What are college entrance requirements? All students should study another language in order to increase their cultural awareness and improve their ability to communicate with a broader range of people in a global society. Most countries outside of the United States require that students study two or three other languages in order to be competitive in a global market, and the US is now catching on. Most colleges require a minimum of three years of high school study of the same world language. We would like to emphasize that although some colleges do not require a world language for entrance, many require the study of language for graduation. Please consult our Placement & Prerequisites page to learn more, and individual college entrance requirements for specifics.
4. Do students have to take a world language? One year of World Language study at the high school level is required for graduation. Almost all of our students already fulfill this requirement. Most colleges and universities require 3-4 years of world language study to be considered for admission. Approximately 85% of our students taking a world language for their four years of high school.
5. Can a student take two world languages? Yes, students at Darien High School can take more than one world language. At Middlesex Middle School, students enroll in just one.
6. Is one language easier than another? No, each language requires the same amount of dedication. Students in the Darien Public Schools begin their academic exposure to another language in Kindergarten, which creates a strong base for language learning.
7. Can a student change languages once they've started? Students in our elementary program study only Spanish in Grades K through 5. When they arrive at Middlesex Middle School, they can continue Spanish and enroll in Spanish 6. They can also change languages and enroll in French 6. We ask that our middle school students make a commitment to one language for the duration of their time at Middlesex.
Once a student arrives at DHS, he or she can choose to continue with Spanish or French, or enroll in Latin or Mandarin. Once a student begins a language, he or she may change; however, it is not suggested for several reasons. It is our goal that students reach an intermediate level of proficiency which requires several years of continuous study. Also, most colleges and universities require three years of study of the same language.
8. What can I do if my student is struggling?
- Communicate with your child, and inquire about his or her language class
- Encourage any new language- or culture-related interests
- Ask your child to explain to you what he or she is learning in class
- Contact your child’s language teacher, and request access to the class' Google Classroom
- To help your student study for an assessment, view Google Classroom for any study-related materials
- View our Language Learning Resources page
9. My student is nervous about approaching his or her teacher. What can I do to help? Encourage your student to advocate for himself or herself, and to have an open, honest conversation. While it can be intimidating to speak to an adult, all of our teachers are interested in helping our students learn at their maximum potential. In a World Language specifically, a teacher can help a student understand more about his or her own areas for growth and provide pointed advice for improvement.
10. Who are the people involved with my child that I might need to contact? First, you should encourage your student to speak directly with their teacher. Then, the counselor, Team Leader at MMS, and the Department Chair after that. If you wish to learn more about something that is happening in a specific class, you should follow our District's communication chain of command and first contact the teacher, and then the Department Chair.
11. How can I obtain more information about the program? For Grades 6-12, contact Christina Vázquez Mauricio, Chair of World Languages, at email@example.com. For K-5, contact Adam Hamor, Curriculum Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.