When students enter our school at any age, we assess their language capabilities and in collaboration with their teachers, our EAL (English as an Additional Language) specialists, and the parents, we formulate a plan to help every student succeed.
The program offered to the children in the Mixed Kindergarten is built around oral language acquisition. That means that the children experience the language through books, games, flashcards, and many other non-written activities. Each group of children spends one to two lessons a week experiencing English in this manner. The program offered to the children in Senior Kindergarten begins with oral language acquisition then moves on to Unit of Inquiry related vocabulary and language structures. In the beginning, the children experience the language through books, games and flashcards. Later, they move on to more challenging activities which include simple written activities, word building, and even reading out loud (depending on the child’s individual ability). Each group of children spends three lessons a week experiencing English in this manner.
All groups meet in a non-threatening environment, where risk-taking is encouraged and the children can develop a good language base, away from the busy classrooms. For more information about our EAL program in Kindergarten, please see this brochure we made for parents that addresses frequently asked questions.
Students entering the primary section of ISHR are assessed in various ways in order to ascertain their level of English. The EAL Department provides support to those students considered to need help in accessing the curriculum and working to their full potential. EAL instruction is given in small groups, typically of three to six students. In the early weeks, the emphasis is on developing oral skills, enabling the children to function well in the social life of the school. Within a short time, however, the focus changes to reading and writing skills, developing the kind of language required to function well in the classroom. Liaison between the EAL teacher and classroom teacher ensures that topics covered in the classroom, including the Units of Inquiry, are reinforced in the EAL classroom. Experience has shown that this kind of content-based instruction is the best approach in developing the target language.
As well as withdrawal from classes, students may receive in-class support if an EAL teacher is available. In such situations, the EAL teacher works in collaboration with the mainstream teacher to assist an individual student or group.
All students entering the secondary school are assessed using ISHR’s entrance tests in English and/or EAL. In borderline cases, students may undergo further assessments during their initial weeks in the school. Students considered needing extra support may be withdrawn in small year groups - typically 4 - 8 students - for extra EAL instruction. This may take place between 4 - 7 times a week, depending on the level of need. Withdrawal may be from another language class or other area of the curriculum. However, for students whose first language is German, withdrawal from German class is kept to a minimum, and should not exceed one academic year. Beginning EAL students in Grades 6-9 who are in the programme do not receive MYP subject grades.
For further information on EAL, please contact Tessa Oakley.