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English Language Acquisition

ISH’s English Language Acquisition Team

We would like to extend a warm welcome to all of our students.        

The English Language Acquisition program at ISH follows the requirements of the Middle Years Programme for English B students. In addition, students who join ISH with very basic English receive EAL (English as an Additional Language) support lessons. In grades 6-8, these support lessons take place during the time allotted for the study of a third foreign language. In grades 9-10, the students have four lessons per week instead of one of their optional courses.            

Phases in the Middle Years Programme

Students are placed in Phases (from 1-6) based on evaluation and assessment of their skills in four areas, reading, writing, speaking, and listening. These are criteria that try to measure what students ‘can do’ in each area. No student develops at the same rate in all four areas, so we attempt to find the ‘best fit’ for each student. Then, within classes, we try to help all students achieve to their full potential in all skills. The ELA team informally evaluates and observes students during the first week/s of class in order to make sure students are appropriately placed, and adjustments are made as deemed necessary by our observations. It is typically the case that if a student has been determined to have attained a Phase 4 , they should have the skills to access the full MYP course offerings, and we place them in two languages in addition to English, the language of instruction. If it is determined that this is causing difficulties, we will re-evaluate this placement.

Criteria-based Assessment

MYP Units and Criteria in English Language Acquisition as described by the IBO.
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Each language acquisition objective corresponds to one of four equally weighted assessment criteria. Each criterion has eight possible achievement levels (1–8), divided into four bands with unique descriptors that teachers use to make judgments about students’ work.                                                 

Criterion A: Comprehending spoken and visual text (listening)

Students interpret and construct meaning from spoken and visual texts to understand how images presented with oral text interplay to convey ideas, values and attitudes.

Criterion B: Comprehending written and visual text (reading)

Students construct meaning and interpret written and visual text to understand how images presented with written text interplay to convey ideas, values and attitudes.

Criterion C: Communicating in response to spoken and/or written and/or visual text (speaking and writing)

Students develop their communication skills by interacting on a range of topics of personal, local and global interest and significance, and responding to spoken, written and visual text in the target language.

Criterion D: Using language in spoken and/or written form (speaking and writing)

Students recognize and use language suitable to the audience and purpose (for example, home, classroom, formal and informal, social, academic contexts). Students apply their understanding of linguistic and literary concepts to develop a variety of structures, strategies and techniques.

Movement across Phases and Potentially to Language and Literature classes

Students move into different phase levels when they are achieving at the highest band (7-8) in all four criteria on formally assessed tasks and when they have demonstrated consistently high abilities in these criteria. Movement is decided in collaboration with the teacher in the next phase. We work with the cooperation and guidance of Ms. Alison Johnston, the Head of the English Department at ISH. Some students will remain in English Language Acquisition classes throughout the MYP and will elect English B in the DP course program (grades 11-12). Research suggests that it takes 5-7 years of formal study to achieve academic fluency in a foreign language.

Questions or Concerns?

We look forward to working with your children and hope that our units of inquiry will engage them in lessons as well as support their development as English speakers and learners. We recommend that all students participate in ISH extra-curricular activities in order to improve their confidence and increase their social English skills.