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World Languages FAQ's

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What language(s) should I study?

Language choice should take into account personal interests, background, and career choices.

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How many years of a world language are required?

The minimum graduation requirement is three years of a single language, but all students are encouraged to take at least four years to remain competitive and achieve fluency. Two years of two different languages does not meet the world language requirement for TJHSST. More than 65% of students at TJ go on to complete four or more years of study with many taking advanced placement exams in language or literature.

These exams may give the students college credit or advanced standing when attending college. According to Dr. John Casteen, former Director of Admissions and present President of UVA, “competitive colleges like to see four or five years of a world language on a student's transcript when deciding on admission offers."

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How do I know what level of language is most appropriate to begin language studies at TJ?

If you have excelled in your level 1 foreign language class in Middle School, you would probably be most comfortable entering TJ at level 2.  Level 2 classes offer an extensive review during the first quarter.  Please talk to the language teachers available to you on Registration Night if you have any concerns regarding placement. Students who have completed level 2 in Middle School or come from an immersion program should consult with teachers and counselors before making their selection.

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 Once I have completed the level 3 of a language, what are the available options for advanced study?

After Level III – Level IV or AP Language
After Level IV – Level 5, AP Language or AP Literature 
After AP Language - Level 5 or AP Literature

Options may vary depending on language studied.

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Should I study a new language if I'm already proficient in a language as a native or heritage speaker?

We believe that it is in a student’s best interest to study a new language, to have the valuable experience of studying a “foreign language”.  It is of course possible to continue learning the native language by taking an upper-level course, participating in language-related organizations, engaging in community service opportunities or traveling abroad.

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Should I take a language course on line?  What are the advantages and disadvantages?

It is not recommended to learn a language on-line.  There is NO comparison with the progress made in a face-to-face class, especially when learning at the beginner or intermediate levels. In addition, TJHSST will NOT permit a student to take a language class online for credit unless it is a “capstone course”, meaning that it is the end of the requirement.  In addition, a TJ student can NOT use the online credit for vertical articulation at TJ.  (Ex: If a student takes Spanish 3 online in the summer, he/she can NOT return to TJ and take AP or Level 4.)  An online language class should be seen as a last resort with the understanding that it prohibits the student from taking an additional class at TJ.  You should also keep in mind that in the near future, transcripts for colleges will most likely designate whether a class was take online or face-to-face.

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What steps can I take to assure success in my foreign language class at TJ?

  • Practice using the language as frequently as possible.  Listening comprehension and speaking skills are especially important for incoming freshmen.
  • Use Internet and other media sources to help you practice.  It is not important that you understand everything you hear but rather that you are exposed to the language.
  • Review Level 1 vocabulary and grammar.  Be sure you can apply what you have learned when communicating in speaking and writing.


If you have further questions, send them to Peggy Gendive: magendive@fcps.edu

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