Modern Languages Faculty

ChiaChyi Chiu

ChiaChyi Chiu

International Student Advisor, Chinese
Viviana Davila

Viviana Davila

IV Form Dean, Academic Advisor to IV Form Girls, Spanish, Field Hockey
Donald Duffy

Donald Duffy

David Miller

David Miller

Spanish, Basketball, Baseball
Ana Ramirez

Ana Ramirez

Dean of Leadership, Chair, Modern Languages Department, Spanish

Modern Languages

At all levels of foreign language teaching, the Modern Language Department has as its primary goal the enrichment and broadening of the perspectives of its students. Through the study of language, our students develop an understanding and appreciation of other cultures, and their history, literature, art and geography.

Small classes at all levels stress strong communication skills in speaking, listening comprehension, reading, and writing. Our classrooms afford dynamic opportunities for students to express themselves in a new language, and to use that language to discuss literary and historical texts. Active learning in the classroom and the language lab allows students to enhance their skills in listening and collaboration.

St. Andrew's modern languages faculty have all lived abroad and have pursued advanced work in their fields. We encourage our students to travel and have offered cultural and service learning trips in the spring and summer to countries including Nicaragua, Haiti, China, Guadeloupe, Costa Rica, and Peru. We also recommend specific programs to students who are interested in a study abroad or travel abroad experience.

Modern Language Courses


Chinese 1

Offers students an introduction to Chinese language and culture. Students develop Chinese listening and speaking skills in everyday situations, and work on building basic reading comprehension and writing skills. Chinese history, art, calligraphy and cuisine are also integrated into the course. Students master a minimum of 300 characters, become familiar with basic sentence patterns and expressions, and are able to converse on such topics as family, hobbies, school life, shopping, weather and transportation. Text: Yuehua Liu and Tao-chung Yao, et al., Integrated Chinese, Level 1, Part I.

Chinese 2

This course builds on the skills mastered in Chinese 1. Short plays, poems, songs and online resources supplement the textbook as students develop listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. Students learn approximately 300 characters, as well as more sophisticated sentence patterns. They write and converse on topics such as dining, travel, a doctor's appointment, renting an apartment and other basic survival subjects. Text: Yuehua Liu and Tao-chung Yao, et al., Integrated Chinese, Level 1, Part II.

Chinese 3

Conducted entirely in Chinese, this intermediate level course strengthens the four language skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing through comparative cultural and social studies. Students study the full complexity of Chinese society from the viewpoint of an American student living in China. Movies and articles from newspapers and magazines supplement readings in the text. Text: Yuehua Liu and Tao-chung Yao, et al., Integrated Chinese, Level 2, Part II.

Chinese 4

Conducted entirely in Chinese, this course prepares students to participate in ongoing discussions of important Chinese social and political issues. It equips students with the necessary vocabulary and advanced sentence patterns to engage in discursive writing and oral presentation. Students discuss current issues such as China's economic reform, population policy and the relationship between mainland China and Taiwan. Movies and television programs, articles from Chinese newspapers and magazines, and online resources continue to supplement readings in the text. Text: Jennifer Li-chia Liu, Connection II: A Cognitive Approach to Intermediate Chinese.

Advanced Study in Chinese

This advanced course is designed to be equivalent to the first semester of a third-year college-level course for students who have mastered basic Chinese language skills. Students discuss themes such as population and housing, education and employment, family, women and children, and economic development issues. Students lead discussion in class and write weekly three- to four-page essays. Text: Liu et al., A New Text for a Modern China.


French 1

This introductory course is designed for students with little or no prior exposure to French language and culture. The program provides an overview of basic grammar and vocabulary, centered around four areas of focus: communication, cultures, connections, and communities. Students learn to communicate information, concepts and ideas in French, both orally and in writing, and will record and videotape their work. They are exposed to the varied customs and cultures of the French-speaking world, make connections with other disciplines, including history, geography, fine arts, and science, and learn to recognize distinctive cultural viewpoints in literary and non-literary contexts. Using their native language as a basis for comparison, students reflect on the structures and sounds of French and also explore the interconnectedness of the larger global community. This course is conducted primarily in French. Text: Espaces: Rendez-vous avec le monde francophone (Vistas).

French 2

Students in French 2 further develop their skills in the four areas of language proficiency: reading, writing, listening and speaking. Readings canvas Francophone culture and literature. Students hone their listening comprehension skills through performing skits, presenting oral reports, and working with interactive audio and video sequences. This course is conducted primarily in French. Text: Espaces: Rendez-vous avec le monde francophone (Vistas).

French 3

Taught entirely in French, this course offers students advanced study in French grammar and composition. Students read a complete literary work in French, and will analyze the text and discern authorial intention and tone. Grammar is taught within the reading context. Other activities include skits, oral drills, games, and the use of multimedia resources. Texts have included:

  • Tahar benJelloun, Le Racisme Explique a Ma Fille;
  • Antoine St. Exupery, Le Petit Prince;
  • René Goscinny, Asterix le Gaulois; and
  • Victor Hugo, Notre-Dame de Paris.

French 4

Students in French 4 study the history of French and Francophone literature from the Middle Ages to the present. Students read and discuss excerpts from a variety of texts and genres, in addition to exploring the major historical events of each period. They refine their knowledge of the language, undertaking an in-depth review of the major grammatical concepts. Text: Bette Hirsch and Chantal Thompson, Moments Littéraires: An Anthology for Intermediate French.

Advanced Study in French

This course aims to refine students' command of sophisticated vocabulary and linguistic structures in French, while also developing their skills in literary analysis. Students in this course will develop a thesis, write a formal dissertation, and present a final exhibition, in French. We examine works of art, literature, theater and film from France, the Caribbean, West Africa, Asia and Canada. Readings are supplemented with nonfiction texts and articles in order to situate the works in their political and historical contexts. Texts have included:

  • Camara Laye, L'enfant noir;
  • Ferdinand Oyono, Une vie de boy;
  • Simone Schwartz-Bart, Pluie et vent sur Telumee Miracle;
  • and Michel Tournier, Vendredi ou des limbes du Pacifique.

Advanced Topics Tutorial in French

Prerequisite: AS French

This college-level course allows students to pursue the reading and discussion of works of French literature, representing a variety of historical and cultural perspectives. Students will continue to strengthen and deepen their skills as readers, writers and speakers of French, and ultimately devise a final project that will represent the culmination of their years of work in the St. Andrew's French program.


Spanish 1

Offers an introduction to the basic vocabulary and grammatical structures of the Spanish language, and to Hispanic culture both abroad and here in the United States. Students will build a foundation in speaking, writing, reading and listening comprehension skills. Situational dialogues, paired activities, skits, and oral evaluations allow students to develop their communicative skills in Spanish. Students also receive a strong grounding in the grammar of the language and acquire a broad range of vocabulary. Text: Vistas: Introducción a la lengua española, 4th ed., and supplemental readings.

Spanish 2

This course reviews and builds upon the concepts presented in Spanish 1. Students continue to develop a mastery of Spanish grammar, acquire vocabulary, and improve the form and content of their active language skills. Readings continue to expose students to various aspects of Spanish and Hispanic life and culture. Text: Vistas: Introducción a la lengua española, 4th ed., and supplemental readings.

Spanish 3

In this intermediate course, conducted entirely in Spanish, students engage in a variety of oral and written Spanish communication activities. Short stories, poems, a short novel, and two plays serve as the centerpiece for ongoing class discussion of Hispanic literature and culture. Grammar is learned and reviewed through the authentic, communicative format of the readings. Throughout the year, students write short response papers and take frequent oral exams or interviews in Spanish. At the end of each semester, students give exhibitions in which they demonstrate the working knowledge and language skills they have developed. Texts: Blanco and Tocaimaza-Hatch, Imagina: Espagnol sin barreras.

Spanish 4

Conducted in Spanish, this course offers a study of various aspects of the Hispanic world, using short stories, periodicals, essays, films, and fine art from Latin America. This course also dedicates a substantial amount of time to a rigorous reinforcement of grammatical structures and correct usage of the language in its spoken and written forms. Grammatical study emphasizes the written and oral usage of all verb tenses, especially the subjunctive and the past tenses, and problematic prepositions. Texts: Enfoques: Curso intermedio de lengua española, and supplemental readings.

Advanced Study in Spanish: Hispanic Worldview

Conducted in Spanish, this college-level course provides students with a larger context for the literature of Latin America that students began to study in Spanish 3 and Spanish 4. The course begins with a study of pre-Colombian civilizations, but its primary focus is on twentieth century and current events in Latin America. Topics include:

  • the political importance of the Mexican Muralism movement;
  • the rise of dictatorships in Latin America;
  • the role of women in resistance movements, particularly in Chile and Argentina;
  • U.S. involvement in Latin American politics and issues; and
  • the age of revolution in Latin America.

The course ends with a major paper and oral presentation on a subject of the student's choice. In conjunction with the study of Latin America, students prepare for the Advanced Placement Spanish Language Exam with reviews of grammar and vocabulary interspersed throughout lessons, class discussions, readings, and oral exams.Texts:

  • Couch et al., Una vez mas; and
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Cinco Maestros and El coronel no tiene quien le escriba.

Advanced Topics Tutorial in Spanish: Hispanic Authors of the 20th and 21st Centuries

Prerequisite: AS Spanish

This college-level course is the culmination of a student's progress through St. Andrew's Spanish program; of her development of bilingualism in listening, speaking, reading, and writing; and in her understanding of the Hispanic world view through the intensive study of Hispanic literature. Students read major literary works of Federico Garcia Lorca, Jorge Luis Borges, Ana Maria Matute, Miguel de Unamuno, Isabel Allende, Laura Esquivel, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. In addition to readings and numerous response papers, at the end of each semester students present a literary commentary on one of the major works they have studied.

Language Requirement

Students are required to complete two credits of the same foreign language or through the third level, whichever is more advanced. At least three consecutive years of the same foreign language is strongly recommended.

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