Languages Policy

LANGUAGE POLICY

2020 /2021

ARIS Core Purpose

“We are a diverse community of learners that are committed to inspire, empower and transform for a better world.”

ARIS Core Values

  • Greatness in Everyone
  • Learning with Everyone
  • Creativity and Innovation by Everyone
  • Service to Everyone
  • Change for Everyone

ARIS Characteristics

  • Responsibility and Respect
  • Passion and Mindfulness
  • Collaboration and Communication
  • Reflection and Action

IB Mission Statement 

The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. 

To this end, the organization works with schools, governments, and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment. 

These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate, and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right. 

ARIS offers the following programmes:

  • The International Baccalaureate  Primary  Years Programme (PYP)
  • The International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP)
  • The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. (IBDP)
  • The International Baccalaureate Career Programme. (IBCP)

 


TABLE OF CONTENT

Purposes of the Language Policy 7

Language Profile at ARIS 7

Expectation/Curriculum/Teaching Hours 8

The ARIS Language Program 9

Early Years Programme (Nursery/ Reception) 9

Primary Year Programme (PYP1-PYP6) 9

Secondary  MYP, DP & CP: 9

Overview of Language Programmes 10

English 10

English as an Additional Language 10

ARIS Admission 11

Language use in the classroom: 12

Language use outside the classroom 13

Assessment 13

Policy Communication 13

Policy Review 13


Language Philosophy

Language wraps itself around, in, through and between everything that we teachers and learners do in the classroom.

(Ritchhart 2002: 141)

ARIS is an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School where we create a challenging and motivating multilingual environment where the language of instruction is English. In ARIS We view language as a tool for making meaning in the world. We believe that every student has an individual and a cultural set of experiences, skills and interests, which must be considered in the teaching and learning process. For ARIS, multilingualism and the development of critical literacy are considered important factors in fostering international-mindedness through the promotion of cultural identity, intercultural awareness and global citizenship

At ARIS, all teachers are language teachers as language transcends curriculum areas. Through the IB and Cambridge programmes, we aim to develop confident, curious, highly proficient and enthusiastic readers, writers, viewers, presenters, speakers and listeners 

As an international school situated in Ghana, we are also strongly committed to providing students with access to local Ghanaian language learning and utilizing the host country and community for language and cultural experiences throughout the curriculum. Equally important to the school is the belief that each student should have the opportunity to maintain and develop their mother tongue(s). It is also important to note that the acquisition of additional languages allows students to further reflect upon and explore different cultural perspectives. 

PURPOSES OF THE LANGUAGE POLICY

The purposes of the Language Policy are to:

  • Achieve a common, transdisciplinary understanding of ARIS’s aims and objectives for language learning at both Primary and Secondary levels.
  • Provide support for language learning in the PYP and MYP to help students succeed in the DP and CP.
  • Provide the foundation of a whole-school language curriculum approach. 
  • Provide support and focus for planning, teaching, assessing and curriculum development with respect to language in all areas of the school.

Language Profile at ARIS

 Following the Language Survey that was completed by the ARIS community in April 2017, it came to our notice that our students speak more than 40 languages with more than 35% of them speaking three or more languages.

When asked about every student’s mother tongue the results were as follows :(548)

  • 34% Arabic
  • 20% English
  • 8% French
  • 6% Hindi
  • 5% Twi
  • 3% Mandarin
  • 3% Turkish
  • 21% Other languages

Nevertheless, it is important to note that when asked about the first language spoken by our students more than 50% responded English, 26% Arabic, 7% French, Hindi 3%, Mandarin 3%, Turkish 3%, 8% other languages.

After reviewing all this data with the Language Department and the Senior Management Team, we have concluded that what is being offered at ARIS as foreign languages caters for more than 80% of our students’ language needs.

Expectation/Curriculum/Teaching Hours

Ideally, ARIS would love to offer all mother tongue languages but obviously, it is not logistically and financially possible to offer classes in all languages. However, because educational research makes clear that those students who maintain their mother tongue will have better access to learning when working in a second or third language, it is important that we provide the opportunity for students to access their first, or mother-tongue as self-taught languages. 

In ARIS, we greatly value children continuing to learn in their mother tongue. We aim to place children in classes with other children who speak the same languages they do whenever possible. We prioritize those children who are new to learning English. We encourage parents to talk, read and write with their children in their mother tongue, and we also host a Mother Tongue and Other Languages day and events each year. We also promote host country language through Performing ART/ Visual ART. ARIS is committed to offering 3 of the main mother tongues spoken by our community; all other mother tongues courses that are not offered by ARIS need to be arranged and paid for by families via the Admission and Administration Office. Ideally, these lessons should take place after school hours and on Saturdays.

The emphasis in language use at ARIS is intentionally on English, in order to facilitate learning in an English-medium curriculum and to enhance students’ academic career potential. It is recognized that the knowledge and acquisition of other languages not only promotes cognitive growth but is vital to social interactions, both formally and informally, inside and outside the classroom, at home and within the international community.
There is a strong link between learning a language and learning about a culture. It is therefore in the spirit of the ARIS mission statement and, more generally, the development of international-mindedness, that students are encouraged to be proud of their own language and culture and, equally, learn a language other than their own.

The ARIS Language Program

Early Years Programme (Nursery/ Reception)

French and Arabic or Hindi are taught on a daily basis for 30-40 minutes.

Primary Year Programme (PYP1-PYP6)

Students study two languages in addition to English (Language A). Every student has to choose Language B and Language C.

Language B is a Language Acquisition course and is taught on a weekly basis 3 times a week for 60 minutes. Options for Language B are Arabic, French, and Hindi. 

Language C is a Culture and Societies course and is taught twice a week. Options for Language C are Arabic, French, Spanish, Hindi, German, Mandarin, Twi, and Ga.

Secondary  MYP, DP & CP

In the Secondary School, language is divided into Studies in Language and Literature (Language A), Language Acquisition Courses (Language B) and Culture and Societies Courses (Language C). 

A student is required to take at least two languages. One of these should be a language and literature course. ARIS students have the opportunity to study up to three languages. These courses are offered according to the student’s level in the language of instruction, English (Language A), and the foreign languages Arabic, French and Spanish (Language B). However, Language Development students are encouraged to develop a Language relevant to their career options. In special circumstances, students may have the option of following a different language acquisition course as self-taught courses with tutors assigned by the school.

Overview of Language Programmes

English

Except in the obvious case of the MFL classes, English (in both written and spoken forms) is the medium of instruction throughout ARIS.

In PYP and MYP, all students study English as a first language, including those students requiring extra English language learning support. This support is provided through the English as an Additional Language (EAL) programme. 

In the Diploma Programme, all students pursue a course in English: English Language and Literature (HL or SL) or English Literature (HL or SL).

In the Career-Related  Programme, students may choose the English language and any Language B course in addition to the Language development core.

Available Courses

In years 1 to 11, all students learn within the PYP and MYP language scope and sequence in line with the Cambridge Primary and Secondary Program.

English courses that are based on recognized standards. These courses aim to develop the skills of reading, writing, listening, speaking, language foundations, and media literacy through engaging learning tasks using authentic contexts and assessments.

In Years 12 and 13, students either follow the IB Diploma Programme or IB Career-Related Programme 

English is taken as A Literature Standard Level (SL) and (HL) or the English A Language and Literature (SL) and (HL) in the DP programme 

English as an Additional Language

ARIS has a diverse school population. Our goal is to support the academic and social development of all students. The English as an Additional Language (EAL) programme enables students whose first language or whose prior language of instruction is not English to develop their language skills. The purpose of the EAL services is to assist students to become proficient in English and to be able to study at the year level. The EAL programme is offered in Years 1 to 11.

  • For a student to be identified as an EAL student, an assessment of his/her English language proficiency is carried out.  An initial assessment is typically conducted upon a student’s first enrolment at ARIS, but may also be conducted at any point if there is an indication that there might be a need for EAL services. 
  • Assessment of English language proficiency determines if the student’s use of English is below the expected level. Support is provided for the student to adjust to the school culture and achieve year level expectations.
  • Differentiated support is provided for each EAL student and Language acquisition students.
  • Progress in the acquisition of English is regularly reported to parents.
  • Six weeks of intensive support and follow-up.
  • An EAL specialist plans and delivers the EAL and LA Personal Learning Profile PLP. Services may include individual or small group instruction, pull-out or push-in services.

 In order to meet the needs of ARIS students, the programme offered is as:

Arabic, French and Spanish are standard-based curricula according to the PYP, MYP and DP scopes, sequence and criteria in line with the IB Continuum. The three languages are offered as AB Initio and Language B.

According to the data presented in the ARIS language profile, 6% of the students are Native and Heritage Hindi language learners who have been exposed to Hindi at their homes, who speak or merely understand Hindi, and who are, to various degrees, bilingual. Accordingly, Hindi is their second language. 

IB Diploma Programme: Placement in Language Acquisition Courses
the degree to which students are already competent in the language and the degree of proficiency they wish to attain by the end of the period of study are the most important factors in identifying the appropriate Language Acquisition course in Group 2. Even though a given course may initially seem very difficult, it is essential that students follow the course that is best suited to their present and future needs and that it will provide them with an appropriate academic opportunity and challenge.

ARIS Admission 

A student’s ability to access the curriculum and to succeed at ARIS is highly dependent on language proficiency. As part of the admissions process, new students undertake an English language assessment. Students whose level of English language is below a level that the school considers itself able to support with its English Language Support programmes may, in exceptional circumstances, be denied admission. Students who are deemed to require considerable English Language support will routinely be provided with additional English Language classes.

Language acquisition proficiency assessment is also required to place students at their appropriate level.

Language use in the classroom:

The language of instruction is English and the curriculum is in the medium of English throughout the school, though it is recognized that other languages may be used for varying purposes during instructional activities. Decisions regarding language use in the classroom are at the discretion of individual teachers; however, it should always be kept in mind that becoming proficient in English is a priority in order to access English medium subject areas, such as the humanities and sciences, in the IB Diploma Programme curricula. Classroom teaching is thus guided by the following principles:

  1. During general instructional activities, decisions regarding which language(s) should be used must be founded on the intention that all students develop the necessary language proficiency in English to perform to their best ability on all tasks related to the curriculum. 
  2. Notwithstanding (1), it may at times be helpful for students to think through or talk through unfamiliar or complex concepts in their first language before learning the vocabulary to talk about these concepts in English. 
  3. When whole class discussions or mixed-language group discussions/activities are taking place, it is important to use English in order to ensure the collective understanding of all participants. 
  4. Though the use of a student’s first language is not discouraged in the school, there will often be times in the classroom where the teacher needs to stipulate that a particular activity be undertaken solely in English, in order to achieve the stated learning objectives. 
  5. Teachers consider language use at all stages of curriculum planning and implementation, with the aim of facilitating student understanding of both the language used in the classroom and the concepts embedded in the curriculum. In support of this aim, the school provides on-going professional development for teachers in the area of ESL and EAL strategies appropriate for mainstream classroom settings.

Language use outside the classroom

In line with the general belief that diversity in the languages used by students and staff is a positive element reinforcing international-mindedness in the school, no language is discouraged outside the classroom. However, students are encouraged to communicate as appropriate with their peers in the common language of English. It is important that no student is excluded due to the prevalence of an unfamiliar language and that students do not experience a sense of alienation from others.

Assessment  

Ongoing formative assessment informs instruction, differentiated through small groups, open-ended tasks, and differentiated learning materials. The school’s Assessment Policy outlines our philosophy and approach to assessing student learning in languages. A set of formal school assessments, including oral, reading, and writing assessments, are conducted. This data is used in various ways to inform ongoing instruction.

Summative assessments are also conducted at the end of each unit and at the end of the semester in addition to the internal and external assessment that is required by the IB.  

Policy Communication

This policy is communicated on the school website. At the beginning of each academic year, the Programme coordinators and Head of School communicates the policy to parents, students, and staff during orientation programs.

Policy Review

As an institution, we believe in growth through reflection and continuous improvement, and we recognize our role as life-long learners. We are therefore committed to reviewing this policy on a yearly basis during the months of October - November, with the aim of ensuring that our policies are aligned with that of the International Baccalaureate.