French and Modern Languages
The study of foreign languages gives students a deeper understanding of other cultures and assists them in becoming future global citizens. Abelard's French and Modern Languages program aims to graduate students with a fluent or near-fluent mastery of one or more modern languages. Depending on student interest, these languages may include Spanish, Russian, and Italian. French is always offered, and is a mandatory component of our curriculum in Grades 9 and 10.
Beginning with the basics in Grade 9, the Modern Languages program guides students towards the ability to read, write, and converse with ease. Starting in Grade 10, the reading of literature and articles drawn from current publications is integrated into the curriculum.
By Grade 12 students have reached the level where they can freely communicate with native speakers and discuss essentially any topic, from current affairs to complex philosophical issues.
At Abelard, French is treated as an integral part of the broader educational mission; through the use of literary and cultural materials, the students acquire not only fluency in the French language, but also a deeper understanding of French society's intellectual and artistic history. Learning about a variety of topics that include literature, culinary tendencies, the arts, and day-to-day aspects of French life, students gradually become familiar with the culture as they prepare for the school's bi-annual trip to Paris. This trip is conducted entirely in French and students play an active role in leading their peers through guided tours of different monuments and museums.
At the Grade 12 level a course in French Civilisation is offered. It is taught solely in French and leads students through the history of French civilisation and French literature. They read a wide cross-section of major French authors, ranging from medieval literature to the 21st century, and discuss their work in class. At this level, all readings are from original texts.
In addition to learning the language, students of all levels are encouraged to use their knowledge to compose short stories, poems and songs in French (or other modern languages). The annual literary journal always features, alongside English compositions, creative works written in French by our students.