The learning of language is fundamental to life-long learning and communication. At ISL all teachers are language teachers because language learning permeates the whole curriculum. Through language, our students acquire the ability to think and to learn, to develop social skills and values and to acquire knowledge.
In order to meet the needs of our students we run comprehensive programmes in English as an Additional Language for English Language Learners across the school as well as Modern Language programmes teaching all levels of French in Grades K-12 and German in Grades 6-12.
In the School Year 2017/18 Spanish was introduced as a part of the Language acquisition programme. At the moment students can choose Spanish in the Middle School and as an ab initio Language in the IB Programme. All Languages offered follow the European Framework Curriculum. As part of the Cascade programme, Middle School students take also Luxembourgish Language and Culture classes to learn more about our host country.
We recognise the important role of the first language in enhancing second language acquisition, cognitive growth, and students' overall well-being. ISL therefore hosts a number of mother tongue programmes organised by various community groups whose goal is to further students' growth and development in their native languages and cultures
- Learn language to a level required for academic success
- Be plurilingual in a multilingual society
- Be encouraged to develop cultural awareness and respect
- Be encouraged to respect and understand the special linguistic and cultural make-up of our host country, Luxembourg
- Be encouraged to maintain and enrich their proficiency in their mother-tongue or best language
Languages Taught at ISL
The Lower School French program provides opportunities for children to develop communication skills as they learn to appreciate other languages and cultures. Its aim is twofold: to help non-native speakers develop a basic, usable command of the language and to support native speakers in strengthening their linguistic skills. We respect the developmental aspects of the child by concentrating on speaking and listening competency in the early years and introducing reading and writing as English literacy becomes established.
In the Middle and Upper School, as far as possible, students follow the main stream courses that are most suitable for their needs. The degree of competence in the language, English, French and Spanish or German, and the different degree of proficiency a student desires to obtain by the end of his/her study will determine the placement in the different mainstream levels.
All students in Grades 6 - 10 take French as an additional language (at Language A or Language B level) unless there are exceptional circumstances. Most students also study either German (Grades 6 – 10) or Spanish (Grades 6 & 7 only) in addition to French, unless they are in the ELB or the Learning Support programme. During Grade 10 students must take decisions about which languages they wish to continue as part of the IB programme.
In Grades 6 through 8 students study 2 languages in addition to English. Based on individual students’ learning profiles and other academic data, however, the school may decide that studying two additional languages is not appropriate. In such cases, the school will inform parents and assign the student to a Teacher Assisted Study Class (TASC) in place of German or Spanish.
English as an Additional Language (EAL)
The aim of the EAL programme is to help students gain competence in English so that they may succeed in the academic programme and integrate fully into the social life of the school.
We recognise that it takes time to learn a new language and therefore beginner EAL students must spend a certain amount of time each day in classes designed especially for them.
However, we believe that they also benefit from contact with other students in the regular classroom and in the greater school community. At ISL, we aim for an appropriate combination of formal instruction in the language, participation in the regular curriculum, and social interaction outside it.
- To help students learn the basic listening, speaking, reading and writing skills in English
- To encourage students to use these skills
- To provide students with the opportunity to learn language in an active way, building on natural motivation and interests
- To provide language that is meaningful to situations in which students find themselves, and to give them the opportunity and freedom to communicate their own ideas, feelings and experiences
- To help students gain confidence to use their acquired language to socialise with their peers, and in the wider school environment
- To help students widen vocabulary and master both sentence structure and the basic elements of English grammar so that they can more easily understand the texts used in their classes
- To encourage reading, both within and outside the course, in English and their first languages
- To promote a sense of achievement and confidence in students so that they can understand and make themselves understood
- To enable students to self-identify as valued members of an international school community
Lower School EAL Programme
The Lower School has a large proportion of students who are learning English as an additional language. We support all children as they learn English and face the challenges of integrating academically and socially into the school community. The Lower School EAL teachers provide language instruction for students in small classes designed especially for English Language Learners. They also provide support in mainstream classrooms and collaborate closely with classroom teachers.
A variety of teaching methods are used in order to accommodate different learning styles, to promote positive self-concepts, encourage cooperation, and to develop an awareness of thinking processes, critical thinking and decision-making skills, which are integral to language acquisition.
The entire faculty, in collaboration with the EAL teachers, promotes understanding and acceptance of cultural differences. Students are encouraged to maintain and develop their native language and culture, enhancing both cognitive growth and second language development.
Upper School EAL Programme
Regular EAL Support lessons are offered to all EAL students providing extra assistance in mastering the vocabulary and concepts being taught in core subjects. The EAL teachers also provide some in-class support in the core subjects. EAL students are tested in May to measure their language progress. The results of this test, supported by teacher recommendations, will determine if the student is ready to transition to the mainstream English programme in the following academic year. Students may transition during the course of the year upon recommendation for earlier testing by the EAL teacher.
Supplementary Language Programme
With more than 50 nationalities and 75% of our families speaking a language other than English at home, ISL recognises and values the benefits of multilingualism and multiculturalism. Moreover, research has demonstrated the vital role that a strong foundation in the native language plays both in learning another language as well in learning new skills and concepts through that language.
Helping students to maintain and develop competency in their native language is important for the school. To that end, ISL hosts a number of "mother tongue language schools" offered by external organisations: