Learning a modern language is an integral part of a Putney education. Studying a modern language and gaining insight into its culture(s) are important routes both to increased self-awareness, and to increased international understanding.
The department’s primary goal is for students to become active and proficient at communicating in the new language. From the start, students are immersed in speaking, listening, reading, and writing; they learn by doing. In the process, everyone is expected to make mistakes, take risks, and gradually build skills for using a new language. Students learn about culture through readings, discussions, movies, visiting speakers, songs, and occasional trips. Modern Language classes are offered at six levels, with more advanced classes offered, as needed, either as tutorial courses or as additional classes.
To graduate, students who are native speakers of English must successfully complete either through Level III of a modern language, or three years of modern language study at Putney. A student who arrives with only two years of a language that Putney does not offer (Latin or German, for example) will be required to study an additional language for two to three years at Putney.