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Beginning language study in middle school, or even earlier, and providing a continuous sequence of instruction is optimal to successful language acquisition. Equally important, providing middle school students with a rich language experience expands their worldview and provides a foundation for advanced language study and lifelong learning. Whether schools and districts choose to offer a world language rotation or full courses, students will benefit by acquiring solid language skills that connect to other disciplines and increase overall academic success.
Competency courses are grounded in the development and integration of the four key language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Students are introduced to vocabulary themes, grammar concepts, sentence structure and culture through explicit instruction, guided learning and adaptive pacing. Opportunities to apply language in common situations along with highly interactive activities are designed to reinforce skills in differing contexts and build foundational language knowledge. The use of authentic materials helps build student confidence and comfort in the target language. A full year of Competency courses consist of 18 units with five lessons in each unit.
The Competency program begins in middle school and progresses to more advanced levels in high school. Starting the course in grades 6-8 provides a solid language education platform and prepares students to continue their language studies in grades 9-12. At the high school level, schools and districts have the option to either continue with the Competency program or transition to the Fluency program. Both programs are designed with the goal of language proficiency and aligned with national standards set by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).