In teaching languages, the World Languages faculty aims to develop those qualities that lie at the heart of all good education: an inquiring mind, a broad-minded attitude toward other cultures, and an interest in the world.
The World Languages Department offers a variety of courses in Chinese, French, Latin, and Spanish. All students are encouraged to take a language all four years. Studying two of the four languages Madeira offers is also encouraged. The World Languages Department offers several language immersion and exchanges, find the details under the Global Travel and Exchange Programs page.
1-block course; Open to grades 9 and 10
This course is designed for students who have not studied French previously. The course introduces them to the language in a welcoming environment and at a pace appropriate to a first exposure of the language. Students are introduced to greetings and salutations, classroom expressions, nouns and articles, simple adjectives, numbers, colors, time and days of the week. The course begins to familiarize the student with conjugations of regular verbs and formation of simple sentences. Prerequisite: None.
This course is for students with limited knowledge of French. It reinforces the acquisition of basic grammatical structures and vocabulary in culturally authentic contexts through speaking, reading, writing, and listening comprehension. The students are introduced to the most important rules of French grammar as well as cultural aspects of France and the Francophone world. Additionally, the students are required to use the textbook’s Internet resources to supplement their language skills. Prerequisite: Some French exposure and placement test.
This course is designed for the new student who has taken a year of French at her previous school and who needs to review the material from level I prior to enrolling in the rigorous Madeira French II course. Mandatory for any student who completed French I at Madeira with a C average or below or for the student who would benefit from a thorough review. Prerequisite: French I or placement test.
Students continue to build vocabulary and grammar skills started in level I. All verb tenses and moods are covered. The course is taught in French through a series of thematic units such as getting by at the doctor’s office and hospital, shopping, grocery shopping, living in the city, or getting the car fixed at a garage. Students are expected to participate fully in class discussions and projects. Quizzes, compositions, online activities, and unit tests are given for each unit. Video and music are frequently used to increase understanding of spoken French and to familiarize the students with pronunciation and various accents. Prerequisite: Returning students - French I with a C or better. New students - by placement test.
This course reviews all of the grammar of the first two years, supplements it and provides ample writing, reading, listening and speaking opportunities, ensuring the students complete the third level of the language requirement in a thorough and meaningful way. Students read a variety of short stories that explore the lives and culture of people in different Francophone countries. By the end of her course, the student is able to engage in a conversation about daily life and current events, to narrate events in the past, present and future, express feelings, opinions and doubts with the subjunctive mood, and be understood by a native speaker. This course creates a path for students to apply for AP French. Prerequisite: Returning students - French II with a C- or better. New students - by placement test.
1-2 block course
This course exposes students to French contemporary cinema. Students apply the knowledge and skills gained throughout the previous years of language study to view, analyze and discuss thematic content of selected French movies. The class introduces students to the different genres in French film and students focus on aspects of French culture as portrayed through film. The goals of the class are to help students develop ease and fluency in discussing their opinions on the movies viewed, both in speaking and in writing, and to help them to develop a greater appreciation of French culture through film. Prerequisites: Returning students - French III. New students - by placement test.
1-4 block course
This course prepares students to take the AP French Language exam by carefully developing the four skill areas: reading, listening, writing and speaking. Through the use of AP materials, workbooks and audiovisual materials, the students will specifically prepare for the demands of the AP exam. Additional weekend sessions are required to complete practice examinations. Prerequisites: Returning students - French III with a B average or better. New students - by placement test and departmental approval.
Identity and Contemporary Life - Students study the social customs, values, lifestyle, and education of French speaking countries. They explore their connection with personal and public identities inherited or developed in these countries.
Global Challenges - Students focus on social, economic, environmental, and political issues in Franco-phone countries in order to discuss human rights principles and reflect upon our responsibility as global citizens.
Science, Technology, and the Arts - Topics of science and technology are related to the same principles of creativity and innovation that fuel the artistic drive in literary genres and visual and performing arts.
AP French Exam Preparation - This last module familiarizes the students with the AP examination and reviews all previous topics. Students who take all four modules are required to take the AP examination to receive AP credit.
Latin I introduces students to the fundamentals of Latin grammar and vocabulary, with an emphasis on reading. Students quickly learn to translate Latin as they are exposed to many stories designed to teach them Roman history and culture. The first part of the course focuses on ancient Pompeii, and the second half of the course on Roman Britain. Each week, they learn a number of English words derived from Latin. In addition, they learn Latin phrases and abbreviations used in current English and study a number of interesting aspects of Roman culture, such as mythology and daily life. Prerequisite: None.
Latin II reinforces the vocabulary and grammar skills learned in Latin I while expanding the student's ability to translate. Students continue to learn English derivatives, Latin phrases, and abbreviations, and they expand their knowledge of Roman history through the Republican period. The stories in their textbook follow the characters they learned in level one from ancient Alexandria back to Roman Britain and then to the bustling city of Rome. Students complete projects in order to expand their understanding of the Roman and Greek heroes, ancient artifacts, and the provinces. The course ends with a unit on Caesar and the Roman army. Prerequisite: Returning students - Latin I with a C or better. New students - by placement test.
The Latin III curriculum consists of reading selections from several Latin authors, as well as a review of Latin grammar. Students gain exposure to both Latin poetry and prose. They complete projects in order to deepen their understanding of public speaking, rhetorical devices, mythological monsters, and Latin in music. Latin authors include but are not limited to Pliny, Catullus, Cicero, Ovid, and Horace. Prerequisite: Returning students - Latin II with a C or better. New students - by placement test.
3 or 4-block course
Students translate the selections from Caesar and Vergil which are required by the AP syllabus. They also reinforce the fundamentals of metrical analysis and the most common figures of speech in Latin lyric poetry. They practice writing essays on topics they encounter in their reading and complete several creative projects, such as skits based on certain scenes, analysis of passages, or illustrations of the story. The first module offered will cover Vergil only. The third module will cover only Caesar. The second and fourth modules will comprise of both authors. Prerequisite: Returning students - Latin III with a C+ or better for placement in Advanced Latin Literature. Successful completion and mastery of the previous year’s Latin work for placement in AP Latin. New students - by placement test and departmental approval.
Special Note: Students wanting to earn AP credit must register for the four modules and take the AP exam
"Myth is not about something that never happened, but about something that happens over and over again." - Solon 6th c BCE. The word “mythology” comes from two Greek roots, "mythos," or word/speech, and "logos," or word/reasoning. “Mythos” changed over time to mean legends which were told through the oral tradition. “Logos” also took on new meanings, like “study,” over time. All words have rich and meaningful stories. What better way to learn about English words than by unlocking the stories which give us those words? This etymology course will focus on the English words which come from Greek and Roman mythology. We will study units, including the constellations, Greek alphabet, Greek and Roman gods, and Roman numerals. Each unit will contain a list of English derivatives which pertain to the mythological topic as well as any bases, prefixes, and suffixes useful for further etymological study. The course includes a complete introduction to linguistic terms, such as homonyms, assimilation, and cognates. Prerequisite: None.
1-block course; Open to grades 9 and 10
This course is designed for students who have not studied Spanish previously. The course introduces them to the language in a welcoming environment and at a pace appropriate to a first exposure to the language. Student are introduced to greetings and salutations, classroom expressions, nouns and articles, simple adjectives, numbers, colors, time and days of the week. This course begins to familiarize the student with verb conjugations of regular verbs and formation of simple sentences. Prerequisite: None. Prerequisite: None.
This course introduces students to some basic communicative functions, vocabulary and structures of the Spanish language in culturally authentic contexts through speaking, reading, writing, and listening comprehension exercises. Through the use of CDs, DVDs and online materials students will begin to explore Spanish traditions and culture. To supplement their learning, students are expected to use the textbook's on-line resources on a regular basis. Prerequisite: None
This course is designed for the new student who has taken a year of Spanish at her previous school and who needs to review the material from level I prior to enrolling in the rigorous Madeira Spanish II course. Mandatory for any student who completed Spanish I at Madeira with a C average or below. The course is also designed for the student who would benefit from a thorough review of Spanish I. Prerequisite: Spanish I or placement test.
This course reinforces and expand the student’s knowledge of the basic communicative functions, vocabulary and structures learned in Spanish I. Students continue to develop their linguistic skills (listening, reading, speaking and writing) using authentic materials while being exposed to cultural aspects of Spanish speaking countries. Some of the topics include health and medical conditions, city life, running errands, the environment, work life, and technology. A proficiency-based approach is used in class, which provides students many opportunities including group projects to learn and use the material. Prerequisite: Returning students - Spanish I with a C or better. New students - by placement test.
This course is designed for the Spanish student who has completed the first two years of Spanish and reinforces grammatical, spoken, and analytical skills. This course reviews all of the grammar and vocabulary of the first two years, supplement it, and provides ample writing, reading, listening, and speaking opportunities to ensure students complete the third level of the language requirement in a thorough and meaningful way. Through a variety of authentic texts (short stories, articles, media, and film), students improve their cultural competency while enhancing their language proficiency to communicate personal background, interests, and activities; to narrate and describe in major time frames; and to participate in conversations about topics of general interest expressing opinion, reactions, and recommendations. Classes are conducted in Spanish. Prerequisite: Returning students - Spanish II with a C- or better. New students - by placement test.
1-2 block course; Open to grades 11 and 12
Prerequisites: Returning students-Spanish III. New students-by placement test.
Women and Insanity: Myth or Reality - Through films, research, and readings students analyze a woman’s condition in Spanish and Latin American society in different periods of history. The first two films Juana la loca and Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios portray women going against the grain of society and being labeled insane. The third El hijo de la novia portrays the lucidity of a woman affected with Alzheimer’s and her ability to bring her family together regardless of her condition. The students analyze the films aided by their research of the historical times in which these women lived, starting with Spain in the late 1400s, continuing with the era after Franco’s death and concluding with the 21st century. At the end of the course, students see improved oral, written and spoken skills, and a better understanding of historical and contemporary issues. Films: Juana la Loca (Mad Love) (2002) 115’, Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios (Women on the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown) (1988) 90’, El hijo de la novia (The Son of the Bride) (2001)
Monsters, Vampires and Fantasy - Using films of the celebrated Mexican director Guillermo del Toro (1964) the class deals with an uncommon kind of vampires and enters a world of fantasy and monsters to escape the reality of a cruel world. The first two movies are in Spanish and the third one in English. At the end of this course students see improved comprehension and auditory skills, while continuously expanding their vocabulary and perfecting their oral skills, researching about the Spanish Civil war (1936-1939) and discussing contemporary issues. Films: Cronos (1993) 92’, El Laberinto del Fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth) (2006) 112’, Blade II (originally in English) (2002) 117’.
1-4 block course; Open to grades 11 and 12
This course follows the guidelines of the College Board AP Spanish Language and Culture course and provides opportunities for students to demonstrate their proficiency in the modes of communication from the Intermediate to the Pre-Advanced range as defined in the learning objectives in the Curriculum Framework. When communicating, students in the AP Spanish Language and Culture course demonstrate an understanding of the culture(s), incorporate interdisciplinary topics (connections), make comparisons between the native language and the target language and between cultures (comparisons), and use the target language in real-life settings (communities). Prerequisite: Returning students-Spanish III with a B or better. New student-by placement test. Department approval.
Identity and Contemporary Life - Students study the social customs, values, lifestyle, and education of Spanish speaking countries. They explore their connection with personal and public identities inherited or developed in these countries.
Global Challenges - This module focuses on social, economic, environmental, and political issues in Spanish speaking countries in order to discuss human rights principles and reflect about our responsibility as global citizens.
Science, Technology, and The Arts - Topics of science and technology are related to the same principles of creativity and innovation that fuel the artistic drive in literary genres and visual and performing arts.
AP Spanish Exam Preparation - This last module familiarizes the students with the AP examination and review all previous topics. Students who take all four modules are required to take the AP examination to receive AP credit.
Does not count towards graduation requirement; Open to grades 9, 10, 11, and 12; Additional fee
Designed for the independent learner who has completed her Madeira language requirement or is interested in pursuing simultaneously an additional world language. Arabic online courses are made available to Madeira students through our partnership with Progressive Expert Consulting. PEC conducts language and culture training for the Department of Defense and ensures that each of its courses meet both government and ACTFL standards. The courses are taught in real time by native speakers, and the virtual classroom has a maximum number of six students. PEC trained monitors oversee classes and immediately address technical difficulties if they occur. Upon completion of each 40-hour module, the student receives a certificate of completion enabling her to move to the next level of instruction. The course syllabus, directions, and materials will be posted to an online course website. Students will be expected to access the documents and participate regularly in the online forum as well as interactive live discussions at the meeting times established.
Those who are interested in enrolling should contact Ms. Catalina Keilhauer in the World Language Department for additional information and costs. Note: Madeira tuition does not cover the cost of the course.
Baseline Computer Specifications:
Pentium IV 2.4 Ghz Minimum
Windows XP with 1GB RAM or Windows Vista/ Windows 7 with 2GB RAM
Wired Headset with Boom Microphone (USB or analog plugged into the computer)
MAC and Linux are not supported at this time.
In the event that the student cannot provide her own computer, one will be given to her on loan from PEC.
To fulfill the language requirement at Madeira, a student must successfully complete a Madeira third-level language course in French, Latin, Spanish or Chinese.
All incoming students take a Madeira language test as part of their placement process. The chair of the Language Department and the academic dean make incoming student placements. Students who transfer to Madeira in tenth or eleventh grade must take at least one year of language even if they place beyond level III.
Dr. Campos began teaching at Madeira in 2012. He is a native of Lima, Peru where he earned a bachelor's degree from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru in Hispanic Literatures and Linguistics. His interest in literature and creative writing brought him to the U.S. where he earned a doctorate from Boston University in Hispanic Language and Literatures. Before teaching at Madeira, he was a senior lecturer at Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts. He lives on campus with his wife Melissa and daughter Aurora.
Mrs. Cooley began teaching at Madeira in August 2000. She earned a juris doctorate (J.D.) from San Marcos University in Peru, and a master’s degree in Latin American Studies from the American University where she also earned a Spanish/English translation certificate. She serves as sophomore advisor and Spanish Club faculty advisor. Her two daughters are Madeira graduates, Alex ’99 and Susie ’02.
Ms. Keilhauer began teaching at Madeira in 1997. She earned a bachelor’s degree in French Literature from Bryn Mawr College and a master’s degree in French from Middlebury College. She has been the head of the World Languages Department since 2007, teaches French and Spanish, and coordinates the language exchange programs. She is a Master teacher and holds the Melville Endowed Chair. Ms. Keilhauer earned her doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Pennsylvania in 2016.
Dr. Xiaofu Ding joined the Madeira World Languages Department as a French teacher in 2014. She most recently worked at the Brearley School in New York City where she taught French and Mandarin to K-12 girls for six years. She graduated from New York University with a Ph.D. in French literature, studied at the prestigious l’École Normale Supérieure (Lyon) and acquired a diploma of advanced studies (DEA) at Paris 8. As an experienced educator with over 15 years of teaching foreign languages, literature, and western civilizations at numerous schools (which include New York University, the New School, the Brearley School), Dr. Ding believes the ultimate goal in education is to teach students how to think critically and creatively. She explained her teaching philosophy by way of a metaphoric analogy picture: she initially shows the young mind the right keys to the right doors, which would guide them to acquire the skills to find the right keys to the doors they wish to open. The ultimate achievement is that they will be able to make their own keys to unlock whatever doors they choose. In her leisure time, Dr. Ding loves outdoor activities, and is an arts, theater, and modern ballet lover. She is excited to join the Madeira community, and contribute to the enrichment of students’ lives.
Dr. Bednarowski joined the World Languages department in 2016. He teaches all levels of Latin. He earned a B.A. from The University of Chicago and an M.A. and Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin. He has taught at the college and high school levels, most recently at The Boys’ Latin School of Maryland in Baltimore.