THE ALIGNMENT OF LANGUAGE POLICY WITH SEVEN ISLES INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL MISSION STATEMENT
The SIIS mission policy is the stepping stone for our language policy. To become the all-round personality with right kind of knowledge, skill and attitude, one needs to communicate with their parents, teachers, peers and the whole school community. As the languages are the basis for all these to be attained, this policy is very much important and critical for helping the students to attain each and every aspect of its mission in the following way.
Open-mindedness, ability to accept, communicates active, compassionate thinkers.
English is the language of instruction and known to more than 90% of the school community. It is considered as the language of communication in the school. Being a cosmopolitan city, we have students speaking more than six regional languages. English serves as a binding force between them. Dual importance is given to the local language of the state ‘Marathi’ and National official language ‘Hindi’. Marathi is taught till Gr.8 to make the students familiarize and communicate with the local community. Hindi is taken as a second language which helps them to be open-minded and accept the point of others because Hindi is the most spoken language in India, our country. With the multilingualism in mind our school is also providing French as a foreign language. The school is committed for providing as much diversity of language instruction as and when the need for this comes. Hindi instruction begins from Junior KG and it is compulsory till Grade 8. French is taught from Grade 5 and is compulsory till Grade 8. Later, i.e. in Grade 9 and 10 it still remains a part of the curriculum but as an optional subject.
The school language policy respects the status of all the languages. It endorses an awareness of the host country’s culture and languages by teaching Hindi at all acquisition levels throughout the school. The local language programme Marathi for the age group 5-12 and Hindi programme in each section of the school helps to maintain the cultural identity and reflects the multilingual society we live in. This is established by delivering a planned curriculum with these objectives in mind.
Another important aspect of our school’s curriculum is the School assembly. School assembly is an integral part of our school functioning. It is a platform used to inculcate values through thought provoking theme based assemblies to nurture positive school ethos. Students take an initiative to prepare the respective grade wise assemblies under the able guidance of their teachers. And the most important highlight of the same is that every child gets an opportunity to exhibit his / her talent through song, skit, prayer, compering, playing musical instruments, etc. which helps to eliminate stage fear. There are special assemblies in Hindi and Marathi as well that give a glimpse of literature and the cultural background.
To make our students active and compassionate we conduct different events like Language Day, Science and Technology Day and Humanities Day every year. One of these events will be conducted periodically as an interschool event/competition, in which students from various schools in and around the vicinity will participate. This year it was the Science and Technology Day which showcased the active participation from all the schools.
I. PURPOSE OF THE LANGUAGE POLICY
This language policy is a working document developed by the staff and administration and applicable for each programme IGCSE and AS & A Levels. The policy is in alliance with the standard and practices of the Cambridge Board. This document gives an overview about our school’s linguistic and academic goals. It permeates the entire school through curriculum. It is a dynamic one and will be revised from time to time.
II. MODE OF COMMUNICATION
We believe that a common language spoken by the school community will help to develop a meaningful communication. The parents prefer the international curriculum in order to transform their ward/s to become global citizens. With this in mind, we have selected English as the medium of communication and instruction. The students are allowed to speak in other languages during the respective language lessons like Marathi, Hindi and French. Keeping the multilingualism in mind, we have given opportunities to the students to express themselves on occasions like ‘Language Day’ in the languages which they prefer. The French language helps them to appreciate the culture of a different country.
Language development in more than one language enriches the personal growth, provides cognitive advantages and is essential for the development of international mindedness.
· Nurture an appreciation of richness and diversity of languages.
· Promote the cognitive growth.
· Maintaining the cultural identity and emotional stability.
· Acquisition of more than one language.
· Endeavour to integrate students’ cultural and linguistic heritage throughout the curriculum.
III. LANGUAGE PROFILE AND ADMISSION POLICIES
A. SIIS LANGUAGE POLICY
Approximately 98% of our students speak English as they are learning it from the age of 3. A few students do have problem in speaking at the initial stages, but become proficient during the course of time. Being a cosmopolitan city we have students with 10 different types of mother-tongues hailing from different parts of the country. All our administrative and teaching staff speaks English and most of them are fluent in more than one language.
B. ADMISSION POLICIES
At SIIS we follow the following admission procedure.
· Parents approach the school administrative office for enquiry where they are provided with first-hand information.
· The Parents are requested to fill in the ‘Enquiry Form’ to gather basic information and details.
· If the Parents are willing to enroll their child in our school they are asked to complete the ‘Registration Form.’
· Next, the Entrance test / written or oral observation (for Pre-Primary) date is scheduled for the candidate and the portion / content is intimated.
· The child then appears for a written test for English, Science and Mathematics where his prior knowledge is assessed.
· This is followed by an interview with the Principal or a person designated by him.
· If the student clears the entrance test and has the potential we issue an ‘Application Form’ to proceed with the admission process. The Application form includes background information and all the details about the student’s previous examination.
The admission of English language learners will adhere to the specific admission policies out lined in the Appendix A.
IV. LANGUAGE PROGRAMME OVERVIEW
TEACHING PEDAGOGY FOR THE LANGUAGES:
Principle 1: Implement Challenging Curriculum with High Expectations
Principle 2: Design Standard Academic Content and Make It More Accessible
Principle 3: Offer Explicit and Culturally Relevant Instruction
Principle 4: Support Metacognitive Strategies and Specific Learning Strategies
Principle 5: Use First Language Strategically with Difficult Concepts
Principle 6: Teach Vocabulary within Multiple Contexts
Principle 7: Build Reading Comprehension Ability with Strategies
Principle 8: Provide Good Language Use Models for Students to Follow
Principle 9: Integrate Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening Skills
THE LANGUAGE DAY
The Language Day is celebrated in the school every year which adheres to the language policy of the school. This day is celebrated to increase the interest a student has in the language and to give them a chance to show their proficiency in the same. The language day is celebrated by the Departments of English, Hindi, Marathi and French. Many competitions are conducted on this day, such as recitation, extempore speech, story writing, quiz, fancy dress, object talk, one act plays, handwriting competition, etc. Students from other schools are also invited for this event. A drastic improvement is seen in the interest to learn languages among the students as a result of these competitions.
We celebrate events like Language Day, Science & Technology Day and Humanities Day every year in our school. One of this will be an inter school competition on rotation, where we invite schools in and around the area near our school ( Mulund), and give a chance to our students to communicate with the students of their age group and develop inter personal skills. This year interschool competition was conducted on the Science and Technology Day.
We in SIIS recognize that all the teachers are also language teachers who have the responsibility to facilitate language acquisition and promote communication skills through their grade levels and subject areas. The pedagogical attributes of the academic programmes as well as guiding documents are outlined in the table in Appendix B.
Though the language acquisition follows distinct stages, student’s rate of acquisition varies greatly from individual to individual.
There are various factors affecting the language acquisition of English in particular.
· Some students speak in their mother tongue initially and take a lot of time to switch over to English. We need to remind them.
· Since they are more used to communicate in the local language they prefer to speak that than English.
· Some of the parents are not proficient in English and the students do not get the follow up help from them after the class hours.
Therefore, language teachers assess all language skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking), regularly, differentiating through scaffolding or extension as required. Formative and summative assessments in the classroom provide information on language growth. Language teachers regularly standardize the student’s work to ensure the fair application of the assessment criteria. Standardized unit tests and external examinations in IGCSE & AS & A Levels also provide evidence of the language acquisition levels.
As the students of our school are studying in English medium from kindergarten onwards, almost all of them have a fairly good English language acquisition. As of now, we have only native students, but when our school becomes well established and have other nationals we have a backup plan.
Students who are identified as requiring additional support in English to assess the curriculum will be given appropriate English language acquisition class (EAL), and assessed regularly to monitor their progress. The parents will be informed about this decision. When these students attain the benchmark needed to participate fully in the regular educational programmes, he/she may be allowed to join the regular classes. A team consisting of EAL teacher, Home Room teacher and a Leadership Team member will use the inputs of other subject teachers also for taking this decision. Even after that the follow up will be done by the EAL teacher.
Special procedures for the expected students for the EAL programme and monitoring their progress are outlined in Appendix C.
C. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
We believe that all the teachers are treated as language teachers, on-going training focused on integrated language instruction will be offered throughout the year. It may be calling the resource person or in-house training by the senior staff from the English Department. The strategies will be discussed in the Language departmental meetings and consensus will be made to improve the standard of the language acquisition. The Head of the School ensures that the staff receives the on-going professional development and monitors that the strategies are successfully implemented.
In later stages, we may have the EAL teacher who does the co-teaching in the language and subject teacher to identify the students who need the differentiated learning and language acquisition strategies. EAL teacher has to plan with the classroom teachers or subject teachers to ensure that they receive the necessary support and professional development for integrating these strategies on a regular basis. Other steps include, but are not limited to the curriculum review, assessment moderation and staff meetings.
V. English LANGUAGE AND MOTHER TONGUE PROGRAMMES
In our School at present the students opt ESL (English as Second Language), but in future if we find students who are very good and fluent in reading as well as writing in English Language we can recommend these students to choose EFL( English as a First Language).
As the cohort is small we provide Hindi (national language) and Marathi (local language of the State). Hindi will be taught as Second Language. Studying Marathi is a requirement for all the students from Grade 1 to 8 as part of giving boost to the local language by the State Government. The school will review the language needs of the students on an annual basis.
When the number is sufficient for any other language, than provided by the school presently, the school will seek to employ the respective language teacher like German or Spanish.
BENEFITS OF KEEPING ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN THE SCHOOL
1. The ability to communicate in a new language: The main benefit a person gains when committing to learn English or any language is the ability to communicate in the language itself and create connections with a wider range of the world’s population.
2. The brain undergoes a change in electrical activity: Before it was believed that a change in brain functioning only occurred when students had obtained a high level of language ability in the new language, but now it is revealed this change may occur at the earliest stages of language learning.
3. “Superior memory function”: Language learning showed an increase in the memory capacities, this was especially strong in short-term memory. This is a huge benefit because it allows the brain to keep information in the brain for longer durations while thinking processes are activated.
4. Increased mental flexibility: The article explains, this keeps mental path ways “opened up”, which allows a person to use “differing avenues for thought”. Language learning helps “exercise” the brain to keep it flexible and agile.
5. Increased problem-solving abilities: A person also benefits from language learning by gaining increased problem-solving abilities in all of the following areas: abstract thinking skills, concept formation, creative hypothesis formulation, strengthened capacity to identify, understand and solve problems; the ability to focus on a task by filtering out distractions and extraneous information and an increase in multi-tasking ability.
6. Greater comprehension for how language works and is used: Language acquisition also benefits a person by creating a greater comprehension for how language works and is used. The study found individuals with multilingual communication were able to better read and interpret social situations, which improved their performance in the social settings.
7. Prevents the deterioration of brain functioning over time: The study reports that individuals who were multilingual had a decreased rate of 2 to 4 years in the development of age-related cognitive problems such as dementia.
8. Increased ability in digital literacy:The culmination of all these advantages results in one last benefit: an increased ability in digital literacy. Because of these quickened mental abilities individuals which are multilingual have a noticeable ability to stay up to date with modern technologies. Reading about this benefit reminds this quote: “Our intelligence tends to produce technological and social change at a rate faster than our institutions and emotions can cope with…We therefore find ourselves continually trying to accommodate new realities within inappropriate existing institutions, and trying to think about those new realities in traditional but sometimes dangerously irrelevant terms (1)” (War: The Lethal Custom, p. 441). Clearly having increased mental agility due to language acquisition helps the average language learners better stay adrift all of the technological and informational changes constantly evolving in today’s world.
9. Students become creative: Our students contribute to various articles which are published many years in our School Magazine “Sparkle Seven” not only in English but in Hindi, Marathi and French also.
BENEFITS OF STUDYING A LOCAL LANGUAGE IN THE SCHOOL- MARATHI
· Expand the reach of education- Many kids would have their parents and relatives with no knowledge of English. The local language taught in the school can put them at ease in such cases.
· Improved learning outcomes during the primary school- A few researchers have shown that having a mother tongue education enable the kids to easily grasp the course content as they are used to the vocabulary.
· Protecting and preserving local languages- Every language has a rich legacy and culture. So it needs to be preserved at least in the school education system.
THE BENEFITS OF TEACHING FRENCH IN THE SCHOOL
1. Learning a second language is good for the brain: The process of learning language not only improves upon one’s language acquisition skills, but it’s good for the rest of the brain as well. The study of a foreign language aids that part of the brain which aids in learning music, musical theory, problem-solving, and mathematics. Studies in Canada on Canadian students placed in French immersion programs have demonstrated that bilingual people have enhanced problem-solving skills and a greater ability to parse through the information they are given when thinking their way through daily challenges.
2. Second language education teaches children about other cultures: While our kids are studying French, they’re also learning about the French people, their culture, and (last but not least), their food! Some of the activities which can be included along with the French learning are:
· watching French marionette shows
· attending French birthday parties
· eating traditional French baguettes with good cheese
· performing in a French children’s theater
· learning French musical theory
· playing French sports (like Pétanque, a French version of bowling, and lots of soccer)
3. Second language education helps a child master his or her first language: Many people believe that if an English student starts schooling in a French-speaking environment, his or her English language skills will suffer as a result. Fortunately, this is not the case!
4. Understanding a second language gives a child a sense of pride: Our students are a bit young to understand how cool it is that they are going to be fluent in a language other than their native tongue – but as they grow, they realize what they have accomplished and will be proud of what they have done.
5. A second language is fun to use in a real life setting: Studying a language is an activity where the ends can help to justify the means. Unless you’re studying a dead language like Latin, or a made-up language like Esperanto or Klingon, you can see direct results of your language-learning endeavours by visiting another region to speak with natives of the language you’re learning.
VI. SUPPORT SERVICES
A. LANGUAGE LEARNING, THE LIBRARY AND MEDIA CENTRES
It is very important that everyone needs to be up-to-date with Literacy information. This enables the learners to master the content and extend their investigations to become self-confident and assume greater control over their own learning.
An Information literacy person will be able to know….
· The sources of required information.
· The extension of the information needed.
· How to access the required information effectively and efficiently.
· Evaluate the sources and information critically.
The library in SIIS is designed by keeping these requirements in mind. It is to promote and facilitate information technology across all curricula and to all the members of the school community. The library has the databases that contain professional material, articles, newspapers and magazines in the languages taught in the school. Session will be offered to the school community on information literacy, MLA (Modern Language Association) formatting for source citations, and research skills. Session may be requested to be conducted by the language department or the Librarian.
Our students also subscribe the NIE (Newspaper in Education) which is the student edition of Times of India. They also get magazines suitable to their age group named Kids Explorer, Junior Explorer and Young Explorer.
The Students edition of Times of India is also used in the classroom for reading, analyzing and to make language development.
Our School is planning to have a well-equipped and furnished audio video room. The main purpose of having this facility for students is the fact that whatever is seen by our eyes is retained by the brain more effectively than just reading or listening to it. Students get a live multimedia experience based on the topics they study in the theory classroom.
Latest techniques such as Multimedia Projector, Digital Cameras are being employed here. Students do not have to pay any extra fees for availing this facility. Presentations, Science experiments, Geography projects, Historical places can be demonstrated on the big screen in the AV Room. The many faceted AV room is used for the following:
· To show visuals and slides pertaining to study subjects.
· To demonstrate theorems, rules, etc. in Arithmetic and Geometry.
· To demonstrate Physics laws and experiments.
· To show chemistry experiments to be performed in the Chemistry Lab.
· To show practical day-to-day applications of the scientific laws.
· To show the projects prepared by the students on the various topics.
· To organize any conference such as the Parent-Teacher meetings etc.
The AV Room caters for the Primary as well as the Secondary section of the School
B. LEARNING SUPPORT
When a student has been identified with additional learning needs including language difficulties or gifted and differentially talented abilities, intervention and supports are provided through the Learning Support Programme. The language teachers have to help them to meet the needs of the students identified with the special language needs. This support may be formalized through an
In-class Support Plan or an IEP and may involve short and long term activities.
VII. PARENTS AND COMMUNITY
Parents are an integral part of any school community and so are in SIIS. They give tremendous support especially for the local language proficiency. The school uses multiple methods to communicate with the parents and they actively participate in the language acquisition of their ward/s with suggestions and positive criticisms.
SIIS – Seven Isles International School
EAL – English as an Additional Language
CPP - Cambridge Primary Programme
CBSE – Central Board of Secondary Education
ICSE – Indian Certificate of Secondary Education
IEP – Individual Education Plan
PTI – Parent Teacher Interactions
IGCSE – International General Certificate of Secondary Education
PD – Professional Development
VIII. COMMUNICATION OF LANGUAGE POLICY TO SCHOOL COMMUNITY
The Language Policy will be introduced to the SIIS community through multiple pathways including staff meetings, Parent Teacher meetings and grade level meetings. The policy will also be posted at the school website or handed over to the parents in the form of a spiral document during Parent Orientation Programme in the form of a spiral document as a part of the handbook itself. New staff will be familiarized with the document during orientation.
IX. REVIEW PROCESS
The language policy will be reviewed regularly as a part of the curriculum review cycle and as a part of the whole school on a regular basis which helps us to appraise the process.
Appendix A: Admission process regarding English language learners
SIIS gives admission to all the students who enroll in the pre-primary irrespective of their proficiency in English. Since English is not the national language of our country we take the responsibility of putting the basement for the same.
Between Grades 1 - 10, when the students seek admissions, we admit them on the basis of an entrance test that consists of English, Science and Mathematics. The student’s language proficiency will be tested by making them write a composition on a given topic. English proficiency will be evaluated and the needed support will be given. The students also need to submit the academic report from the previous school they studied.
The criteria for the admission of Grade 11 will be the ‘C’ grade in IGCSE or MYP/ 50% in the 10thState Board/CBSE/ICSE. Here language proficiency will be tested by giving descriptive writing on the given topic. If a student’s English language proficiency level does not meet the indicators on the criteria, the school cannot guarantee success for the student and therefore reserves the right to refuse the admission.
Appendix B: Language Learning Pedagogy
CAMBRIDGE CHECKPOINT & IGCSE
Proposed programme for
AS & A Level
Pedagogical attributes of programmes
· Promote inquiry based authentic language learning.
· Incorporate the teaching and learning of language in to the curriculum.
· Develop the skills of listening, speaking, reading, writing and media literacy.
· Inter relates the skills of listening, speaking, reading, writing and media literacy.
· Provides support for teaching of additional languages like Hindi and Marathi.
· Formulates practices for the provision of language A and B
· Integrates the learning of languages with learning in the subject groups.
· Integrates language learning with interdisciplinary planning.
· Promote collaborative learning.
· Provides appropriate feedback support to learning.
· Considers prior knowledge and proficiency.
· Develops language in context in each content area.
· Promotes collaborative learning.
· Provides appropriate feedback to support learning.
· Accommodate different learning styles.
· Values and respects student’s ideas.
· Makes expectations explicit.
· Enables students to understand how judgement about learning is made, and how to provide evidence for their learning.
· Develops meta-cognition, structured inquiry and critical thinking.
Appendix C: EAL Programme (Proposed)
[At present we have not come across any student with the need of EAL Programme, but incase in future we have a child with the requirement of EAL Programme we have the following proposal to meet the child’s requirements.]
· The child’s previous knowledge and skills will be assessed.
· The problem areas and limitations would be identified.
· An individualized plan would be designed to attain his/her needs or requirements.
· Based on the plan the child’s basic skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing will be catered and assessed periodically.
· The child’s skills will be developed through effective use of talk strategies, specific teaching of academic writing and motivating writing tasks. eg. making connections with and building on pupils’ experience, creating space to use existing knowledge, giving opportunities to talk around a topic across the curriculum, etc.
· The child’s ongoing progress will be monitored.
· Include various teaching techniques so that the pupil develops interest eg. brainstorming sessions (in case of a group), buddy system.
(The proposal given above is only a broad outline as some students might bridge the gap in 6 months while others might take a year. So, it would be kept flexible and the student’s progress will be recorded and updated to his parents.)
MONTH 1 :
Ø To familiarize students with the alphabets, words, phrases and expressions of language.
MONTH 2 :
Ø To reinforce the basic language skills catered in the previous month.
Ø To be able to handle a basic range of situations immediately relevant to the student’s needs in simple everyday situations.
MONTH 3 :
Ø To emphasize vocabulary acquisition.
Ø To develop reading skills and strategies using simple stories, texts and articles.
MONTH 4 :
Ø To reinforce reading skills using short extracts in a limited range of situations.
Ø To be able to comprehend passages of 100 words.
Ø To use basic written language for simple practical purposes.
MONTH 5 :
Ø To improve oral reading fluency.
Ø To identify and label parts of speech in the decoding process.
Ø To strengthen word / sound association through weekly oral reading sessions.
Ø To reinforce basic written language for practical purposes.
MONTH 6 :
Ø To reinforce reading skills using newspapers and magazines.
Ø To be able to comprehend passages of 300 words.
Ø Use articles to reinforce reading skills: predicting, skimming, scanning, guessing meaning from context.
Ø To identify compound sentences and clauses.
MONTH 7 :
Ø To develop basic written sentence structures i.e. simple, compound and complex.
Ø To develop grammar skills and usage.
Ø To develop writing skills – paragraph writing (Imaginative).
MONTH 8 :
Ø To reinforce reading skills through a variety of texts.
Ø To develop ability to summarize articles or texts.
Ø To develop organizational skills (e.g., lists, maps) .
Ø To summarize main points and tone of an article or text, and compare and contrast ideas.
Ø To develop writing skills - paragraph writing (Imaginative - with a word limit).
MONTH 9 :
Ø To emphasize moderate vocabulary acquisition.
Ø To reinforce reading skills using short stories, newspapers and internet articles.
Ø To increase reading rate and further develop oral reading fluency.
Ø To develop writing skills – descriptive.
MONTH 10 :
Ø To review all reading skills in texts (articles, stories, etc.) of increased complexity.
Ø To expand knowledge of prefixes, roots, and suffixes.
Ø To increase individual reading rate and oral reading fluency; use drills and activities to increase rate and fluency.
Ø To distinguish fact from opinion/persuasive from informative.
Ø Extend dictionary skills and vocabulary.
Ø To assess improvement in writing skills
A. SUPPORT FOR DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTION
· Differentiated resources, expectations and tasks.
· In-class coaching support.
· Assessment rubrics designed to enable all the students to succeed.
· EAL teacher as resource from Pre-Reception to Grade 5.
B. EAL SPECIALISED INSTRUCTION
· Beginner EAL students Grade 1 to 5 attend a pull out class during English classes.
· Pre-reception and Reception2 and structured immersion.
· EAL students receive individual tutoring as needed.
C. IN CLASS SUPPORT
· Team teaching.
· Small group with EAL Teacher.
· EAL teacher support Humanities and Science teachers through team teaching or parallel classes.
· EAL teachers develop back ground knowledge prior to the content area instruction.