Language Policy. September 2014

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1 Language Policy September 2014

2 This Language Policy was developed over the period April- December 2013, and reviewed in September All staff at Bonn International School had input in developing the content of the policy. Members of the Language Policy Review Committee (2013) Diana van Mersbergen (chair) Rebecca Cameron Vanessa Behrendt Jane McAdoo Casey Ranson Abigail Button Zoe Grigoriadou Simon Vanderkelen Kattrin Merkel Maren Voss Leigh Redemer Lorraine Heinrichs Brynna Larsen Shireen Appana Rebecca Sillis Sukhvinder Dhillon Language Policy September

3 Table of Contents Philosophy Statement Introduction Language of instruction and communication Language profile of Bonn International School Language Learning in the Primary School English Language English in the Primary School English in the Secondary School English Language Acquisition (ELA) programmes ELA in the Primary School ELA in the Secondary School German Programmes German in the Primary School German in the Secondary School Languages Other Than English Mother Tongue Programmes Role of the Media Centre BIS teachers as language teachers Language Learning and Learning Support Language Policy Review Cycle Language Policy September

4 Philosophy Statement At Bonn International School, we are a learning community representing a multitude of cultures and languages. We view linguistic diversity at our school as a rich resource for achieving the ideals of intercultural understanding and international mindedness. We believe that the maintenance and development of mother tongue is crucial to cognitive development and maintaining cultural identity. Language is central to inquiry, communication and self-expression in every area of the curriculum and all aspects of life. Thus, the development of language is viewed as a shared responsibility of all members of our learning community. We value all languages and cultures. Language Policy September

5 1. Introduction This language policy describes the beliefs and practices around the learning of languages at Bonn International School (BIS). The policy was developed in collaboration and consultation with all teaching staff at the school, and all staff are asked to give their commitment so our school can achieve its goals. The policy applies to the whole school, both our Primary and Secondary sections. The policy forms the basis for decision making in the school to ensure that the programmes provided are well organized, well resourced, rigorous and continuous. 2. Language of instruction and communication At Bonn International School, the language of instruction and communication is English. We value and respect the other languages, and languages other than English may be used in social situations where everyone speaks that language, or when necessary to clarify information. We are mindful of the fact that our school community is diverse and multi-lingual, and as such we make efforts to ensure all communication from the school is transmitted in clear, jargon-free English. 3. Language profile of Bonn International School* The language profile at BIS is diverse with over 39 first languages present amongst our student population. Overall, 42% of our students have English as their first language. German first language speakers represent 20% of our student population. Other significant language groups include French (6%), Spanish (5.5%), Dutch (4%), Arabic (2.3%), Italian (2.3%), Japanese (2.1%) and Polish (1.6%). A large majority of our staff (66%) are from English speaking countries (23% US, 23% UK, 20% other English speaking nations) and there is also a significant number of German-speaking host country staff (23%). For the remainder of our staff, first languages include French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Afrikaans, Portuguese, Tagalog and Indian languages. * data collected during the school year Language Learning in the Primary School In the Primary Years Programme (PYP), Scope and Sequence Phase Documents are used for planning, teaching, assessing and reporting on language learning in English, English Language Acquisition (ELA) and German. These phase documents are based on the IB scope and sequences. Phases of Language Development The students' language development is described on a continuum of 5 phases within the four strands of language learning: - Listening and Speaking - Reading - Writing Language Policy September

6 - Viewing and Presenting Within these five phases, outcomes define the individual skills and conceptual understandings students mastered by students at this level. Since students enter phase 1 of language development at different times and at different grade and age levels, one cannot assume that a student is automatically working within the same phase in all strands at the same time. 5. English Language 5.1 English in the Primary School In the PYP, language learning takes place in authentic contexts, both within and outside of the Programme of Inquiry. Language is a powerful tool to engage learners and is used by students when negotiating new meanings and understanding new concepts. In the Primary School, we are committed to a guided inquiry approach to language learning. Language is integrated into all subjects; however, stand-alone lessons also occur. The classrooms are language rich environments, with a lot of print and a wide variety of literature available. The curriculum provided builds on students prior knowledge and understanding as we use developmental continuums to plan for teaching and learning in language. We aim to provide differentiated learning engagements in the four strands of language. Teachers plan collaboratively for language learning with other teachers, including single subject teachers, and with the teacher librarian. 5.2 English in the Secondary School In the Middle Years Programme (MYP), all students study English A. In English A, students study linguistic aspects of the English language, both in terms of receptive and productive understanding, and they study a variety of text types. They develop their understanding of literary and cultural texts, critical analyses, and create both verbal and written responses that prepare them for the Language A Diploma Programme (DP) courses. Students receive between seven or eight periods of class instruction over two weeks. They are assessed using The MYP Language A guide. In the Diploma Programme, students are offered the choice of five English classes. English Language choices are: Standard Level (SL) Literature Higher Level (HL) Literature SL Language and Literature HL Language and Literature HL Language B English While Language A classes are developing critical and analytical language skills and applying them to various text types, as well as producing a range of linguistic texts, English Language B is a language acquisition course. Students who choose to take English B HL will need to do a Language A Language Policy September

7 course in either German (Literature or Language and Literature) HL or SL, or in another language A as a self-taught literature programme at SL only. 6. English Language Acquisition (ELA) programmes 6.1 ELA in the Primary School The English Language Acquisition (ELA) programme at Bonn International School aims to help students develop the language skills needed to participate in the mainstream classroom. When students join the school, their parents are asked to fill out a language profile that describes their previous experience with speaking and learning in English. Should the profile indicate that a student s mother tongue is not English, and that the student has never used English in a school setting, the student is then referred to the ELA department, where their language skills are assessed. ELA teachers assess students needs in order to determine the type and level of support required. Students are assessed using a developmental language continuum. This continuum identifies students language proficiency across the domains: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Assessment tools include an oral interview, the Oxford Young Learners English listening and reading comprehension test and PM Benchmark reading test, and a short writing task. Students may be enrolled in a pullout ELA class, receive in-class support, or receive a combination of the two. ELA pullout classes are for beginner level students. ELA lessons place emphasis on communicative task-based activities designed to encourage oral communication. As the students language skills progress, the class emphasis integrates more classroom content in order to support learning in all subject areas through an inquiry-based approach. In addition, in-class support is an important part of the ELA programme. All beginner students receive push-in support, as do students who are not yet proficient in English. The purpose of in-class support is to ensure that all ELA students are supported with the academic language of the classroom, while allowing them opportunities to interact with their peers. This support will vary in different classes but can include small group work, shared teaching, individual instruction and one-on-one support. When students have reached a standard of competence (according to the exit criteria in the continuum) that allows them to participate actively in their homeroom classrooms, they are exited from the ELA pullout programme, and their parents receive a letter notifying them that their child has been exited. This decision is made in consultation with the Homeroom teacher. The student s progress in the mainstream classroom is monitored and further ELA support is available as required. 6.2 ELA in the Secondary School In the Secondary School, we provide two levels of support for students who Language Policy September

8 do not have English as their mother tongue in the MYP. After a placement process, these learners are grouped into two levels of proficiency: Intensive and English Language Acquisition. The two levels of support are as follows: Students in the English Language Acquisition class follow the standard IB MYP Language Acquisition course, which places the students in six different phases. Students may transfer to the English Language and Literature course, although Language Acquisition also has a pathway right through the MYP and the DP. Students in the Intensive class follow an additional English language acquisition course, including support in other curriculum areas. If required, an Intensive student may also receive pull-out or in-class support with an English Language Acquisition specialist during a mainstream class. This is done in collaboration with the respective mainstream subject teacher. Students exit the intensive ELA programme once they have achieved a B1 level of proficiency (equivalent to phase 4), and the standard ELA class when they have received B2 (equivalent to phase 5). 7. German Programmes 7.1 German in the Primary School All students in the PYP, from Early Learning 3 to Grade 5, participate in the German programme. The German programme is in line with the PYP approach to language learning. German is taught in units of inquiry as well as stand-alone units. From Grade 1, students are grouped according to their language proficiency level (developing, intermediate, proficient, advanced). These students have one period of German a day, 9 out of 10 days in a twoweek cycle. The language levels are defined as follows: Developing Level Students who are beginning to learn German Intermediate Level Students who have a basic level of competence Proficient Level Students who demonstrate a good command of German and have in-depth understanding Advanced Level Students who demonstrate a strong command of German and have a sophisticated understanding of the language Subject to the student s progress, they may change between language level groups anytime during the school year. The teacher, in consultation with the German team, makes this decision. Language Policy September

9 7.2 German in the Secondary School In the MYP all students attend German classes, as this is the host country language. Exceptions are only made due to special and clearly defined circumstances (e. g. ELA and LS). German classes are divided into Language and Literature and Language Acquisition courses. The Language and Literature course caters for German speakers, while Language Acquisition caters for students for whom German is a foreign language. In Language Acquisition, students are grouped according to their ability and linguistic experience. These groups cover Phases 1 (beginner) to 5 (proficient) of the MYP Language Acquisition Continuum. In order to be able to offer the different phases, the school combines the grade levels (7/8 or 9/10). The teachers decide which phase is expected to best suit the individual child, considering overall linguistic ability. During the year, a change of group may be recommended if a student is underachieving or performing at a very high level. The teacher, in consultation with the subject leader, takes decisions upon placement. In the DP, the school provides three different courses for German. With regards to language acquisition, BIS offers German Ab Initio and German Language B. German A classes target German speakers. These students can choose between two distinct courses German A Literature and German A Language & Literature. The students can opt to study German B and A at Standard or Higher Level. In line with the DP Curriculum, the Ab Initio program is offered at Standard Level. The school follows the transition guidelines from MYP to DP programs recommended by the IBO, as stated in the MYP Language B Guide (see appendix, p. 5) 8. Languages Other Than English In the MYP we offer Spanish and German Language Acquisition courses. In the Diploma programme the following options are available: German B at Higher Level (HL) German B at Standard Level (SL) German ab Initio (SL) Spanish B (HL) Spanish B (SL) Spanish ab Initio (SL) We follow the IB guidelines for transitioning between the MYP and DP language programmes. Language Policy September

10 9. Mother Tongue Programmes 9.1 Mother Tongue Programme in the MYP Students in Grades 6-8 whose native language is French, Spanish or Arabic are able to study their mother tongue as a full MYP subject, in addition to English and German. There lessons are scheduled into the timetable and take place in the periods assigned to Options (school supported languages). We also offer other mother tongue classes to our Grade 6-8 students, whilst these lessons also take place within the school timetable, tuition costs are covered by the families concerned. These parent supported languages are Dutch, Czech, Italian and Russian. The school has appointed a Mother Tongue Programme coordinator to oversee these programmes. 9.2 Mother Tongue Programmes in the DP When students enter Grade 11, they are offered the opportunity to study Language A Literature at Standard Level (self-taught) in their mother tongue, if that is their wish. An appointed coordinator for self-taught languages supports these students. 10. Role of the Media Centre Our media centre serves the whole school, including the parent community. We have a wide range of print and non-print resources, representing twentyone languages. We invite members of the school community to make suggestions for building our collection of resources. The teacher librarian plans collaboratively with teachers to provide students across the school with learning experiences that foster a love of literature, to develop information literacy skills and to learn about the ethical use of information. 11. BIS teachers as language teachers At BIS we believe that all teachers are language teachers and share responsibility for students language development. Teachers are encouraged to take the ESL in the Mainstream course, which is offered internally every year. To support teachers as language teachers, the ELA department regulary presents workshops focusing on strategies to support ELA learners. The school fosters a culture of language learning; there are opportunities for staff to learn German, and for German staff to improve their English. 12. Language Learning and Learning Support The Learning Support Team follows both push-in and pull-out models to support English literacy skills for students receiving learning support. Students may be exempt from studying an additional language on the recommendation of the learning support team in agreement with Language Policy September

11 curriculum coordinators and parents. If the support team decides that an individual student would benefit from both learning support and ELA then they may receive support services from both programs. Learning support services are adaptive, and decrease as the student demonstrates academic progress and becomes more independent in their learning. 13. Language Policy Review Cycle This Language Policy reflects current practice in the school year Whilst our overarching beliefs and philosophy about language teaching and language learning will likely remain unchanged, we acknowledge the fact that language practices do change over time. Therefore, this Language Policy is a document that will be subject to review at least once a year. The next review of the policy will take place in August Language Policy September

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