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 English Language Support

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To ensure that all students are provided with the environment and the necessary language support to enable them to participate fully in the school’s academic programme and social life and to develop as individuals, special emphasis is placed on language development.  The English Language Support Programme values the individual, their culture and their language and recognizes that children acquire English language proficiency at different rates. The programme aims to enable students to achieve confidence and proficiency in English in order that they may participate fully in the school environment. Students are assessed before admission to BIS, to establish if the student needs additional English language support.

It is an essential part of the English language support programme that students are encouraged to experiment and take risks with language, context, non-verbal communication and social relationships so as to promote communicative, academic and personal growth.  Classroom activities and teaching methods are directed to these ends.

In the Elementary School the language support given to students is flexible and dependent on students’ needs.  Students from Grades 1 – 5 sometimes work in cross grade level language groups and the Grade 1- 5 classroom teachers work together with the Elementary English Language Support teacher to support student needs, for example in the areas of writing and reading comprehension.  

At BIS we strongly believe that it is essential for students to practise speaking in their home language.  The development of structures and systems for the support and maintenance of mother tongue is vital for cognitive development and in maintaining cultural identity.  Long-term academic achievement, including the learning of additional languages, can be linked with success in mother tongue development.  We encourage parents to read and speak to their children in the home language to support the development and maintenance of the mother tongue and to reinforce the programme taught at school. Parents seeking mother tongue or first language support for their children will be assisted in locating suitable teachers and given free use of school facilities outside the school day for this purpose.

Students' English proficiency is assessed when they arrive at BIS and if necessary the students are placed in one of our programmes. In the Secondary School ELS support occurs on a needs basis and could take the form:

  • of pull out during additional language (foreign language) classes
  • in class support during humanities or other language specific classes.

In the Elementary School, ESL refers to the pull-out classes arranged at the beginning of each semester for students whose first language is not English and who still need intensive, focused language support in order to access the curriculum.  These formal classes are scheduled during class time up to four times a week, and taught by the Elementary English Language Support teacher.

Students are assessed throughout the programme and the ELS teacher discusses each student’s progress regularly with his/her other teachers. When students are ready to move to another level or to leave the programme the ESL teacher arranges this with the class teachers and sends a letter home.  In the Elementary school, if the Elementary English Language Support teacher in consultation with the classroom teacher feels that the student is ready to exit the ESL programme, he/she is assessed again using the Rigby ELL Assessment Kit.  If the student’s writing level is no more than one or two levels below grade level, he/she is allowed to exit the programme but will continue to receive in-class language support.

Further information about the ESL Programme
The main aim of the ESL programme is to enable students to be independent, effective learners as quickly as possible. Our classes focus on three main areas; using English language in social contexts, in academic contexts and learning strategies that will help students be effective in the classroom.

English in Social Contexts
New students arriving in school will only do well if they are happy and adjust well to the school environment. This means they must be able to communicate with friends, teachers and other school staff both in and out of the classroom. Students learn the language they need and explore the ways that people behave in a school like BIS.

English in Academic Contexts
ESL students often find it a big change when they arrive in an international school. There are many different things they have to learn and a huge range of new vocabulary. In English we help students to become familiar with the different kinds of vocabulary and ideas that they need to know for all their classes and help them find ways to be effective in their work.

Learning Strategies
ESL also aims to help students cope with the demands of studying in an English environment by teaching students learning strategies that will help. These are especially useful to students who are not familiar with the way things are taught at international schools. Students need to learn how to work cooperatively, to work independently, to research, to organize themselves effectively, to know how to get answers and from where. The English Language Support teachers are available to meet with parents who would like to know more about the programme, the materials or to discuss concerns about their children.

There is a small additional fee for students attending the ELS Programme. This may be paid at the beginning of the year or at the start of each semester.