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When students enter our school at any age, we assess their language capabilities and, where necessary, our teachers and our EAL (English as an Additional Language) specialists work in collaboration to formulate a plan for student success.
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 up to 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; this is away from the busy classrooms but sometimes push-in support also happens, for example when students are new. 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. 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 grade-level groups for extra EAL instruction. This may take place between 3 - 5 times a week, depending on the level of need. Withdrawal is typically from another language class (excluding German) or other area of the curriculum.