Archer’s Chinese, French, and Spanish classes serve as gateways to global competence. As students advance through their studies, they not only build their linguistic and cultural capacities, but they examine, understand, and engage a variety of peoples, texts, and cultures with the ultimate goal of taking action globally to cultivate a more just and sustainable world.
Walk into an Archer World Language class and you will observe students speaking and writing in the target language, actively constructing their learning. Input is necessary for students to learn but this does not come in the form of rote exercises or disjointed lists of vocabulary; instead, new concepts are presented as problems for students to solve. Language is obtained and constructed through a process of “meaning-making” and then honed through application to engaging and relevant tasks. Written, audio, and video materials are authentic, coming directly from places on the globe where these languages are spoken, and integrated purposefully into the curriculum. Units are conceived around final performance tasks where students apply what they have learned to real-life situations. These do not occur solely within the walls of the classroom; students dialog with native speakers virtually and in person, participate in concerts and film festivals in the target language, visit museum exhibitions, engage with penpals, host foreign students in their homes and even travel abroad to practice their skills, deepen their understanding and make connections. Most recently, 20 students traveled to France and Belgium to participate in our teacher-designed Archer Abroad course on Environmental Sustainability in the European Context.
Archer students and teachers have distinguished themselves nationally and internationally for their achievements in world languages. Students have earned numerous medals in the National French Contest and on the National Spanish Exam, completed the most rigorous levels of the HSK Chinese exam, and earned scholarships from the United States Department of State to study abroad. Teachers have also won awards and they present regularly, nationally and internationally, on best practices in language instruction, recently in Boston, Chicago, Italy, Tunisia, and Canada. On a programmatic level, Archer’s program has been named a “National Exemplary Program with Distinction” by the American Association of Teachers of French, one of only 3 in the United States in 2023.