Second Language Proficiency

At Avenues, our goal is to graduate students who are truly at ease beyond their borders. Second language instruction is integral to achieving this goal. Guided by the most current research on language acquisition and evidence showing the significant social and cognitive benefits of learning a second language, we have created an immersion curriculum designed to educate students who can converse comfortably on subjects ranging from the everyday to the academic, with a focus on global awareness.

In addition to the social and personal benefits of being multilingual, current research shows that second language acquisition is highly beneficial to the development of brain functions and cognitive skills. Our coordinated curriculum in both English and the immersion languages leads to a high level of academic rigor and an opportunity for interdisciplinary learning that is engaging and meaningful.

MORE ON IMMERSION INSTRUCTION

Avenues teachers are extremely well qualified, with extensive training in subject content and, for the language teachers, in second language instruction. English and second language teachers collaborate extensively to create and nurture the social, emotional and academic growth of their students. Teachers share the responsibility for teaching the content and curriculum and communicate with each other regularly about student progress and concerns.

Language teachers use the second language 100 percent of the time for both instructional and procedural interactions, providing sufficient input for consistent incremental assimilation of the language. Through formal and informal assessments, teachers monitor students’ progress and offer opportunities to strengthen their language skills through dynamic and differentiated groupings.

THE BENEFITS OF BILINGUALISM

Knowing multiple languages opens up untold cultural, intellectual and professional pathways through the world. It also literally opens a child’s mind: bilingual education activates and expands parts of the brain untapped by monolingual study. Research shows that learning and speaking more than one language improves the brain’s executive functions—a set of interrelated neural processes that we use in our daily lives to make plans, solve problems and perform other mentally demanding tasks. Bilingual education has been shown to improve the following functions:

  • Ignoring distractions to stay focused
  • Switching attention from one topic or activity to another
  • Holding information in mind
  • Mental flexibility
  • Metalinguistic awareness (the ability to understand how language works)

In other words, becoming bilingual helps you concentrate, multi-task and identify important information while filtering out irrelevant information—foundational skills that are more crucial than ever in the digital age. Bilingual students also enjoy purely academic advantages: studies demonstrate that immersion students achieve as well as, or better than, their non-immersion peers on standardized measures of literacy and numeracy administered in students’ first language.

The benefits of bilingualism aren’t just cognitive. Social and personal advantages include deeper cross-cultural understanding, improved self-esteem and enhanced professional competitiveness. There are also health benefits to knowing a second language well: recent studies have shown that bilingualism may help prevent or delay the onset of dementia and other symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease later in life. While learning a language is a rigorous workout for the brain at any age, when you start with immersion at the age of three, it’s a life-changing workout which comes naturally.

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Avenues students will become proficient in a second language, which is fundamental to being a truly global citizen.

Recent Articles from OPEN, our news and discussion blog

June 19, 2019

Ruckus Constructus 2019

by Jennette Mullaney


This spring, the Avenues community came together for Ruckus Constructus, our annual, school-wide STEAM fair. It was the first year Avenues held the event at two campuses simultaneously—in New York and São Paulo.  

June 19, 2019

First Avenues Law Review!

by Ron Widelec, Upper Division History Teacher


The Avenues Law Review Club has finally published our very first law review. As far as we can tell, we are the first and only high school in the nation to produce one! 

June 13, 2019

Creativity is a Process: Visiting Author E. Lockhart Shares Why Creativity Is Not the Same as Spontaneity

by Cherie Yanek, Upper Division Librarian


Award-winning author E. Lockhart visited students in grades 7, 8, and 9 this spring, sharing her work, stories, and background. Students left intrigued about her life, eager to read more of her books and inspired for their own creative processes. 

June 11, 2019

New York and São Paulo Kindergarteners Create a Quilt Together

by Natalie Gootkin, Kindergarten Teacher


The Avenues New York kindergartners have been working alongside Avenues São Paolo kindergartners throughout the year! They spent time getting to know each other through interviews, a greeting card project and now through the creation of a quilt.  

June 4, 2019

Language and Literature in Spanish

by Olga Valeria, Upper Division Spanish Teacher


In Spanish 5 class, upper grades students were introduced to the topic of language and literature.  

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