Ashley Hall girls gain a strong foundation in foreign language study beginning in the Early Education Center. In upper school, students receive rigorous instruction based on real-life resources rather than one-dimensional textbook lessons. This communicative and authentic approach gives students direct engagement with the language as it is actually used in the respective mother tongues, enabling them to gain mastery of technical grammar and syntax as well as fluency in conversational speech. We believe foreign language study should be as dynamic and exciting as the languages themselves.
In the upper school, daily instruction in French or Spanish is required through the eighth grade. At the ninth grade level, students may opt to continue in French or Spanish in fulfillment of their language requirement for graduation. In order to truly assess the language proficiency of each student, Ashley Hall has adopted the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI). OPI type activities are used at all levels and OPI interviews are administered to 7th – 12th grade students in both French and Spanish.
Ashley Hall introduced a Chinese course in the fall of 2013. The aim of this course is to introduce students to Chinese language and to help students build a foundation of the four basic skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing in Chinese language. Students will learn vocabulary and sentence structures commonly used in everyday oral communication and will apply these lessons through readings, skits, projects, pair work, and group work. Pinyin (the phonetic system of Chinese) will be taught as a tool to learn the spoken language. Students will also learn to write and recognize over 250 characters by the end of the school year. In addition to learning language, this course will expose students to social and cultural aspects of China.
In addition, Ashley Hall is the only school in South Carolina to offer an integrated Classics program, providing instruction in both Latin and classical Greek. All Ashley Hall students are required to take two years of Classics in seventh and eighth grades, and those who choose to continue their Classics courses throughout their Upper School years will finish with a solid foundation in both languages. (A special accelerated introductory Classics course is made available to students entering Ashley Hall in the ninth grade or higher.)
Cultural knowledge is an integral component of our language programs. The curriculum for both languages has been designed to expose students, over the course of their education at Ashley Hall, to the rich array of cultural products and practices of the Francophone and Hispanic worlds. International travel opportunities for students of all ages to both French and Spanish speaking countries, emphasize our language philosophy as well as our school philosophy as well as Ashley Hall’s mission. For more on our language immersion programs, click here.