Languages at ISS

My child has had fantastic language teachers. They have really brought the language (and cultures) to life.” ISS Family Survey 2015

At ISS we view literacy and language acquisition as an integrated and developmental process. Our focus is not on learning language for its own sake, but on promoting and supporting the effective use of language as a communication tool across all areas of the curriculum, and in life.

In-line with our beliefs about language learning, we aim that students will:

  • develop a love and appreciation of the richness of all languages and literacies
  • develop the language skills and structures to communicate effectively
  • value, maintain, and use their languages including their mother-tongue
  • have and use language for thought, creativity, reflection, learning and self-expression
  • comprehend more clearly aspects of their own culture and be empathetic to those of others
  • feel safe, within a positive environment, to experiment with, and to reflect on, their use of language

Language Acquisition at ISS

Languages are at the heart of international education! In the Middle Years, ISS offers German, French, Spanish and English as additional languages (Language B.) Students are placed into classes according to their phase of language development. Those who are fluent in English, study German and a choice of French or Spanish. The classes emphasize cultural understanding, oral communication, and comprehension of visual and written texts as well as written communication. Students who reach a high proficiency can continue to study the language as Language A.

Language and Literature at ISS

In the Middle Years, ISS offers English and German as first languages (Language A.)  Language A equips students with linguistic, analytical and communicative skills. Students study literary, non-literary and visual texts, develop their skills for creative and expository writing and present their viewpoints.

In the Diploma Program, students study at least two languages, either one Language A and one Language B (a choice of German, French, Spanish or English) or two Languages A.

English as an Additional Language (EAL) and Mother Tongue Support

The purpose of the Degerloch Campus EAL program is to enable curriculum access and to support children who do not have English as a Language A to succeed in the mainstream classroom program. EAL specialists teach the language skills that English learners need to become proficient in English to access the ISS curriculum. EAL supports the child in developing linguistic communicative academic competence and generates a positive attitude and awareness of international-mindedness. EAL classes provide opportunities for students to adjust to the new environment and develop the social skills needed for an easy transition into the mainstream.

In grades EY- 5 the EAL program provides two options of instruction. Pull-out EAL (beginners) and in-class support (intermediates). Students are supported in small groups.
In grades 6-10, English is taught through the subjects in collaboration with the mainstream staff. This leads students to develop native-like levels of proficiency in English, and addresses the development of the cognitive, expressive and cultural skills of the student.

The purpose of the Mother Tongue Support Program is to support as many students as possible in maintaining, developing, and using their mother tongue to access the ISS curriculum. While clearly the exposure cannot match what the students would be having in their own national system, the school acknowledges the importance of mother-tongue maintenance and aims to support the students in developing their home language skills as much as possible.