Modern Languages

Modern Languages Faculty
Marco Hernandez
Fang Sun
Sharon Hall
Marleen Guffens

With students from over 40 countries on campus, we understand the importance of language proficiency. Our modern language department has a philosophy based on the communicative-experiential approach. The focus of instruction is the purposeful use of the language; in other words, teaching students to get things done, perform real-life tasks, share ideas, and acquire information. While grammar instruction will always have a place, its role is a supportive one to provide useful strategies to facilitate communication and comprehension. Language-learning strategies are important components of the program and are an essential part of our students’ success. Some strategies we use include: recognizing cognates; relying on visual clues; recognizing and adapting language patterns; brainstorming, sharing, revising, editing, and publishing; and using context to support and extend learning.

We have found that when students apply a range of specific strategies to learning languages, they can process information, negotiate meaning, and communicate more effectively. As with most programs, Brentwood integrates technology into the curriculum. We use a web-based program that enables students to develop their listening and speaking skills. We also encourage the marriage of real world technology skills and language through a variety of activities such as the creation of video and webpages in a second language. 

All students are encouraged to take a second language up to and including Grade 11, except students

  • enrolling in Grades 10 and 11 with no previous language background, 
  • with a documented learning style difference,
  • who have a Language 12 credit.

French

Canada is a bilingual country where one quarter of the population speaks French. It is important that our students are given the opportunity to learn French and gain awareness of the Francophone culture. French is our most common second language choice up to Grade 11. The majority of students take French to satisfy the BC universities’ Language 11 credit requirement. We have also found that many students with an immersion background will opt to move directly into French 12 where they are also able to challenge the Advanced Placement exam.

French 9French 10
Immersion French
French 11French 12
AP French Language & Culture 12 
DELF Level B2

Spanish

Spanish is definitely a necessary offering given our continental location as part of the Americas and Canada’s important relationship with Mexico and the Spanish speaking countries of Central and South America. Spanish is available as a Beginner's course in Grade 9 as well as in Grade 10 and above, and in Grades 10, 11, and 12 for students with the appropriate background in the language.

Spanish 9Spanish 10
Beginner's Spanish
Spanish 11Spanish 12
AP Spanish Language & Culture 12DELE Level B2

Mandarin Chinese

Brentwood offers Mandarin Chinese at the Beginner's, 10, 11, and 12 levels. Depending on enrolment, classes are typically very small and geared toward students for whom Mandarin is not a first language. As well, the nature of the delivery of the class may vary depending on enrolment. Classes may be combined or conducted in the evenings during prep, in which case students would be given equivalent prep periods during their morning academic timetable.

Beginner's Mandarin ChineseMandarin Chinese 10Mandarin Chinese 11 and 12

Other Languages 

A student whose first language is German, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese or Spanish, or who has had extension Immersion background in French may be in a position to challenge for the Grade 12 level course and/or challenge the Advance Placement exam in their language under the direction of the Head of Department. 

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Students discussing a problem in french class

Diplôme d’études en langue française (DELF) Level B2

The DELF (Diploma of French Language Studies) is the first lifelong diploma of French language which is recognized on an international level. It is certified by the European Commission and awarded by the French Ministry of Education.

The DELF B2 is therefore designed to offer a high-level qualification in the language to those wishing to use French for professional or study purposes in the future. Through this course students will develop critical thinking skills, increase fluency and spontaneity in interactions and largely expand their vocabulary.

The course is intended for students who have already obtained the AP French Language & Culture credit (or French 12 with Instructor Approval).

AP Spanish Language & Culture 12

The AP Spanish Language and Culture course emphasizes communication (understanding and being understood by others) by applying interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational skills in real-life situations. This includes vocabulary usage, language control, communication strategies, and cultural awareness. The AP Spanish Language and Culture course strives not to overemphasize grammatical accuracy at the expense of communication. To best facilitate the study of language and culture, the course is taught almost exclusively in Spanish.

The AP Spanish Language and Culture course engages students in an exploration of culture in both contemporary and historical contexts. The course develops students’ awareness and appreciation of cultural products (e.g., tools, books, music, laws, conventions, institutions); practices (patterns of social interactions within a culture); and perspectives (values, attitudes, and assumptions).

AP French Language & Culture 12

The AP French Language and Culture course emphasizes communication (understanding and being understood by others) by applying interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational skills in real-life situations. This includes vocabulary usage, language control, communication strategies, and cultural awareness. The AP French Language and Culture course strives not to overemphasize grammatical accuracy at the expense of communication. To best facilitate the study of language and culture, the course is taught exclusively in French. The AP French Language and Culture course engages students in an exploration of culture in both contemporary and historical contexts. The course develops students’ awareness and appreciation of cultural products (e.g., tools, books, music, laws, conventions, institutions); practices (patterns of social interactions within a culture); and perspectives (values, attitudes, and assumptions).

Marco Hernandez

Marco Hernandez

Licentiate in Education (Instituto Superior Pedagógico, Cuba)  M.A. Ed. Tech. (Memorial) Head of the Modern Language Department

Originally from Cuba, Marco graduated from a pedagogical university in language teaching where he studied English and later French in a language school. He holds two international degrees in foreign languages: English and French and also a professional specialization certificate in teaching French Immersion from the University of Victoria. Marco has over 2 decades of experience teaching languages, mainly Spanish and French. In Cuba he opened his own language school. Marco puts into practice the communicative approach in his classes and the use of technology to boost students' learning in languages. He is always looking for the best methodological method to obtain good results in his teaching and incorporates his Cuban culture into his classes. He also likes cooking good food, loves playing baseball and making friends.

Sharon Hall

BA, PDP (SFU), French, French Immersion

Sharon Hall attended Simon Fraser University for her undergraduate degree with majors in History, Political Science and French. Her teaching experience is varied with everything from French 8-12, Socials Studies 5-11, and for the last 9 years, French Immersion in the Cowichan School District. Sharon is teaching French at the school this year. In her free time Sharon enjoys assorted outdoor activities that the Cowichan Valley offers in abundance.

Mandarin Chinese 10

The emphasis in Mandarin Chinese 10 is on the communicative approach in which students are encouraged to convey meaning and knowledge, primarily orally but also in written form. The confidence to “take risks” is a hallmark of this instructional philosophy and a variety of methods are used to develop the necessary ease with this learning environment. The small student to teacher ratio is a critical factor as is the level of teacher expertise. Typically, students will be expected to describe or narrate, with some supporting detail, events, situations, or experiences. They are encouraged to exchange opinions on topics of interest, apply idiomatic expressions with some fluency and interact with increased independence in familiar life situations. Students also acquire knowledge by having them view, listen to, and read creative works, and respond to them in various ways. Cultural awareness is increased by having students identify customs and traditions from various cultures in the Canadian mosaic, and compare them with those of Chinese cultures.

Mandarin Chinese 10

The emphasis in Mandarin Chinese 10 is on the communicative approach in which students are encouraged to convey meaning and knowledge, primarily orally but also in written form. The confidence to “take risks” is a hallmark of this instructional philosophy and a variety of methods are used to develop the necessary ease with this learning environment. The small student to teacher ratio is a critical factor as is the level of teacher expertise. Typically, students will be expected to describe or narrate, with some supporting detail, events, situations, or experiences. They are encouraged to exchange opinions on topics of interest, apply idiomatic expressions with some fluency and interact with increased independence in familiar life situations. Students also acquire knowledge by having them view, listen to, and read creative works, and respond to them in various ways. Cultural awareness is increased by having students identify customs and traditions from various cultures in the Canadian mosaic, and compare them with those of Chinese cultures.

Marleen Guffens

Marleen Guffens - M.A. Romance Languages (UA/Antwerp/Belgium), Dip Ed (UA/Antwerp/Belgium), BSc Psych Studies (University of Gloucestershire/UK), Postgrad Mediation (KULeuven/Belgium). French

Marleen lived and worked in Belgium, France, Singapore, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia and Canada. She taught French and Spanish in several IB-schools worldwide, all levels from Grade 7 to Bachelor, as well as developmental psychology and pedagogy in the teacher training program of the Artesis University College in Antwerp/Belgium. She is currently teaching French at Brentwood. Prior to joining the Brentwood community, she was at Aspengrove school in Nanaimo. She is also working at UVic (Continuing Studies) where she is teaching Dutch. Marleen loves to read and travel, but languages are her true passion (Flemish/Dutch, French, Latin, Greek, German, and Spanish). Her dream is to learn Sanskrit, so she can better understand the origin of and the connection between the languages.

Fang Sun

Fang Sun

B.Ed. (VIU), Languages

Fang was born and raised in mainland China. After studying at Wuhan University in China, she earned an economic management diploma and worked in a financial institution as a department manager for seven years. She has traveled extensively in South Asia and lived in Singapore for five years. Spending a few years working as a part-time teacher in China, she taught children and adult beginner’s English. Eight years ago, she emigrated from China to Canada and enrolled at Vancouver Island University to study in their Education program. Five years later, she earned her Bachelor of Education degree and BCCT teaching certificate.

Fang also enjoys sports and music. She likes to play tennis and squash, sing, and play the zither in her spare time.

French 9

This course is designed for students who have had some previous French instruction or any student who already speaks or has studied a Romance language in the past such as: Latin, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian. They will fulfill the BC prescribed learning outcomes. Listening, speaking and writing skills are emphasized, alongside a sound grammatical understanding. Students will be exposed to French in an engaging way through the storytelling method which will facilitate the genuine acquisition of the language. 

 

French 10

Designed for students who have had previous French instruction, this course fulfills the BC prescribed French learning outcomes. Listening, speaking and writing skills are emphasized, alongside a sound grammatical understanding. French 10 is a continuation of French 9, which is a prerequisite for this course. It offers a natural progression of the scope and sequence of the French language. Students will be exposed to French in an engaging way through the storytelling method which will facilitate the genuine acquisition of the language. 

French 11

French 11 Core

This course is for students who have successfully completed French 10. Listening, speaking and writing skills are emphasized, alongside a sound grammatical understanding. The course seeks to consolidate many of the concepts introduced in French 10 and presents a number of more complex topics. Some French 10 topics will be revisited, but through a new context. the course will fulfill the BC prescribed French learning outcomes. Students will be exposed to French in an engaging way through the storytelling method which will facilitate the genuine acquisition of the language. 

French 11 Advanced

The prerequisites for this class are Advanced French 10 or a strong immersion background. This class may contain former immersion students and strong second language students. They will go well beyond the BC prescribed learning outcomes, especially in writing and grammatical understanding. Students will be exposed to French in an engaging way through the storytelling method which will facilitate the genuine acquisition of the language. 

French 12

The prerequisites for this class are Advanced French 10, French 11 Core or a strong immersion background. This class will work well beyond the BC prescribed learning outcomes, especially in writing and grammatical understanding. Students will be exposed to French in an engaging way through the storytelling method which will facilitate the genuine acquisition of the language. 

Spanish 9

This class will expose the students to the diverse and exciting Spanish-speaking world. The majority of instruction will be conducted in Spanish. There will be a heavy emphasis on listening and speaking. New material and new concepts will be introduced through a thematic approach. Students will be able to discuss topics relating to school, after-school activities, celebrations, travel, eating, shopping and getting around town. The students will also learn to describe events in the present and the future. There is a very strong cultural component to the class where the students will learn about various cultural traditions from the Spanish-speaking world. An in-depth look at Mexico will take place through presentations on various aspects of the culture and history.

Spanish 10

A continuation of Spanish 9, this is a second-year course. This course will expose the students to the diverse and exciting Spanish speaking world. As the year progresses, the majority of the class will be conducted in Spanish. The students will be able to discuss topics relating to school, home, food and eating. The students will also learn to describe events in the present and the past. Listening, speaking and writing skills are emphasised, coupled with a sound grammatical understanding. This course places special emphasis on speaking skills in everyday situations. There is a very strong cultural component to the class where the students will learn about various cultural traditions from the Spanish speaking world. An in-depth look at Latin America will take place through presentations on various aspects of its culture and history. Students will be exposed to Spanish in an engaging way through the storytelling method which will facilitate the genuine acquisition of the language. 

Spanish 11

This is a language alternative for students who have completed Spanish 10. It is a third-year course and a continuation of the Spanish 10 program. This class is conducted almost entirely in Spanish and concentrates on elevating the mastery of all language skills through reading, writing, listening and speaking. Students will describe events in the present, past and future through the discussion of topics such as travel, daily life, health and future endeavours. There will be a very strong cultural component in the class; the students will learn about the culture, customs, traditions, geography and history of the Spanish-speaking world with a special focus on South America. Students will be exposed to Spanish through the storytelling methodology which will allow them to use the target language in an engaging way.

 

Spanish 12

Listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills are emphasized, and supported by a sound grammatical preparation. This course is designed for the serious language student who aspires to communicate with a high level of fluency and mastery in Spanish and who wants to better understand the Spanish-speaking world. Students express preferences, give advice, describe activities, persuade, convince, ask and answer questions, express opinions, make predictions, and communicate precisely and concisely. This is done through a thematic approach. The topics studied are travel, health, the media, education, environment, current events and a variety of topics concerning society today. An historical and cultural look at the Hispanic world is also explored.

Beginner's Mandarin Chinese

This is a provincially prescribed curriculum designed for students who may not have taken Mandarin Chinese 5 to 10. Successful completion of this course should provide students with a level of competence that will allow them to successfully participate in Mandarin Chinese 11 and 12 courses. 

To provide students with an equivalent preparation for Mandarin Chinese 11 and 12 courses, this course incorporates material from the prescribed learning outcomes, suggested instructional strategies, suggested assessment strategies, and recommended learning resources identified for grades 5 to 10.

A major aim of this course is to balance expectations regarding the emergent language skills of students who are new to the study of Mandarin Chinese with consideration of their ages, life experiences, and prior knowledge. It is expected that students will.

  • introduce themselves and others using appropriate family-relationship terms
  • identify and exchange preferences and interests
  • use appropriate vocabulary to communicate needs, desires, and emotions
  • describe events, experiences, and procedures sequentially
  • recognize and apply commonly used idiomatic expressions
  • participate in a variety of situations drawn from real life

As students acquire increasing variety in vocabulary and language structures, they are able to communicate about more topics. Assessment focuses on the communication of meaning and the extent to which students are able to share ideas and information. Although oral interaction is most important, students also need feedback and support in developing written skills.

Mandarin Chinese 11 and 12

The emphasis in Mandarin Chinese 11 and 12 is on the communicative approach in which students are encouraged to convey meaning and knowledge, primarily orally but also in written form. The confidence to “take risks” is a hallmark of this instructional philosophy and a variety of methods are used to develop the necessary ease with this learning environment. The small student to teacher ratio is a critical factor as is the level of teacher expertise. Both of these considerations have required us to be creative in our delivery of the courses in the past. 

Typically, students will be expected to describe or narrate, with some supporting detail, events, situations, or experiences. They are encouraged to exchange opinions on topics of interest, apply idiomatic expressions with some fluency and interact with increased independence in familiar life situations. Students also acquire knowledge by having them view, listen to, and read creative works, and respond to them in various ways. Cultural awareness is increased by  identifying customs and traditions from various cultures in the Canadian mosaic, and comparing them with those of Chinese cultures. Students are also exposed to local Chinese culture in Victoria’s Chinatown and to opportunities to study abroad through links with exchange programs in China and to summer programs that include volunteer and cultural components as well as providing home-stay options.

Beginner's Spanish

This class will expose the students to the diverse and exciting Spanish-speaking world. The majority of instruction will be conducted in Spanish. There will be a heavy emphasis on listening and speaking. New material and new concepts will be introduced through a thematic approach. Students will be able to discuss topics relating to school, after-school activities, celebrations, travel, eating, shopping and getting around town. The students will also learn to describe events in the present and the future. There is a very strong cultural component to the class where the students will learn about various cultural traditions from the Spanish-speaking world. An in-depth look at Mexico will take place through presentations on various aspects of the culture and history.

Successful students in this class are provided with the equivalent preparation required to advance to Spanish 11 in the following school year.

English Language Enrichment

English Language Enrichment is not available as a course in 2018-19; if needed, private tuition ca be arranged for students.  

 

Immersion French

This course has been designed for students who have a French Immersion background in their educational experience. Although not a Français Langue course per se, the course will share many elements of a French immersion language course. The language of all communication will be French. Succesful completion of this course will earn you an advanced credit in Core French. The goal is for grade 8 students to receive a French 10 credit and the grade 9 students to receive a French 11 credit. This will be at the teacher's discretion, based on the student's progress in the course and the successful meeting of the standards outlined in the BC Ministry of Education Prescribed Learning Outcomes.

International Spanish Diploma (DELE) Level B2

The DELE (Diplomas of Spanish as a Foreign Language) is the official title certifying degree of competence and mastery of the Spanish language granted by Spain's Ministry of Education. Through this course students will be able to integrate the communicative competencies developed in previous courses to become a more effective communicator in the language, and obtain a lifelong proficiency certificate. At this level students will develop the ability to interact with native speakers with a sufficient degree of fluency and spontaneity to enable easy and natural communication between interlocutors and produce clear and detailed texts about diverse topics. The course is intended for students who have already obtained the AP Spanish Language & Culture credit (os Spanish 12 with Instructor Approval).

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