The role of language in the PYP

Supporting Languages at ISM

From the ISM Language Policy (in your ISM Parent/Student Handbook): The ISM is committed to the development and learning of language throughout our entire school. We believe language is at the heart of understanding and this belief is central to our curriculum and instruction. Consequently, we provide as many opportunities as possible for our students to use language within the context of the curriculum, and in daily interactions with students, teachers, community members, and parents. In the modern world, the command of English is the primary key to accessing information and communicating internationally. Every student at the ISM has the right to equitable access to the curriculum in order to reach their full potential.

“The school serves and represents a diverse multi-cultural community for whom English is recognized as the common language. While a student’s first language can be helpful to support their initial understanding of a new concept or idea, it is important to ensure that English is the classroom language used when the target language is English. 

We appreciate and support the diversity of language within our school and the world as a whole, and promote the concept that although languages may differ in terms of culture and localities, they can lead to greater acceptance of both. With the aim of promoting international-mindedness and appreciation, the ISM seeks to promote the development of all languages.”

Some of the Key Language terms used at ISM are:

The Language of Instruction – As an English Medium School, English is the language of instruction, all classes and curriculum areas are taught, assessed and discussed in English. English is, therefore, the language through which all students access the curriculum. All areas of learning require students to read, think and respond either orally or in writing in English.

The Language of Inclusion – English is also seen as the language of inclusion, as much as possible we encourage students, teachers and parents to communicate in English, this is the common language across the school and ensures everyone can join in the conversations and play. If we do use our mother tongue we are expected to change to English if others want to join.

English Language Learners – Students who are not proficient in English, they may speak or understand a little, or may come to ISM with no English language skills at all are offered English Language Learning (ELL) support. Support is offered until students are confident with the language and can access the curriculum, different levels of ELL are offered depending on the need of the student.

Host Country Language – As an International School in Germany all students are required to study the German language. At ISM we have a German Language programme of inquiry that allows all students to access the PYP curriculum whilst maintaining and developing their mother tongue or learning about our host country through the German language Learning programme (GLL).

Mother Tongue Language – As an International School the language of students is as diverse as the student body itself. We believe language is vital to learning and a sound foundation in Mother Tongue is essential for learning any other language. Mother tongue is the language spoken at home or by one or both parents.

Our full language policy can be found in the Parent Student Handbook.

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