Foreign language teachers at Hampton Roads Academy believe that learning a world language is an essential part of each student’s preparation for college and for life. Students are initially introduced to foreign language through Spanish instruction in the lower school. HRA students in sixth grade are exposed to western and non-western languages in our Global Village class, with the formal study of language commencing in the seventh grade. We encourage our upper school students to continue their studies through their senior year to best prepare them for collegiate requirements, and we challenge them to be as proficient as possible by taking the most advanced courses offered.
Because communication is the goal of language learning, we believe that it is necessary to maintain small classes where students feel comfortable expressing themselves. In Spanish and French classes, we believe that both teacher and students should communicate mainly in the target language. In Latin classes, the emphasis is on developing language skills that will enable the students to read and enjoy classical Latin literature. All language classes include a large component of cultural studies. We integrate the use of technology and multimedia resources where appropriate. Through cooperative and group activities, students have the opportunity to develop leadership and learn teamwork, while taking intellectual risks.
Our goal is to create global citizens who understand the importance of foreign language study as a means of connecting with other peoples and cultures, past and present. Our Spanish and French classes stress the communicative skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing, while our Latin classes stress grammar, syntax, the interpretation of classical literature and the continuing influence of the classical tradition. We teach students to employ the requisite language skills at increasingly complex levels as they advance through our program. This rigorous and thorough approach teaches students to control the mechanics of the language and to master the structural concepts at each level. In all language classes we endeavor to foster in the students a greater depth of cultural understanding as they improve their skills.