This document is a guide for principles, policies, and procedures related to language learning. It is a work in progress. Please study the document carefully and apply the policies thoughtfully. These policies and procedures will be reviewed each year by the leadership team with input and feedback from all staff. (This version was updated on 18 August 2016)
- “Language is integral to exploring and sustaining personal development, cultural identity and intercultural understanding. As well as being the major medium of social communication, it is tightly linked to cognitive growth because it is the process by which meaning and knowledge is negotiated and constructed. It is the main tool for building our knowledge of the universe and our place in it. Language then, is central to learning, as well as to literacy, and is thus closely related to success in school.” (from Learning in a language other than mother tongue in IB programmes (2008) IBO)
- Children are naturally multi-lingual; they can effectively learn and use more than one language. Thus our aim is to develop the child’s mother tongue, language of instruction, and the regional language. The aim is additive bilingualism in which additional languages do not replace or demote the mother tongue.
- Children learn language through a natural process of association; thus it is “caught” from the environment. Children will naturally pick up language with minimal conscious effort when they are presented with engaging (i.e. that which encourages inquiry), rich environments.
- Language learning is strengthened and developed when it is reinforced in a variety of contexts, subjects, and situations. Thus all teachers are language teachers.
- The scope of language learning is to be proficient in all skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The student should be able to apply these skills independently and creatively, in a variety of contexts. The scope of language study is not to simply be able to read, write, or translate a given text.
- The school also acknowledges that comprehending language (through listening, reading and viewing) and expressing thoughts (through speaking, writing, and presenting) go hand in hand. The three strands of communication: oral, written and visual are interwoven and interrelated. They are not taught in isolation.