Language Learning at MIS
At Mahindra International School we know language learning to be central to all learning in all fields of knowledge. Learning is inherently social, and language is our medium for constructing and exchanging learning in a community. The fundamentals of language, such as speaking, grammar and oral comprehension, are learned innately through engaging with the environment in an immersion context; the academic aspects of language, such as reading, writing and critical literacy, are also gained within an immersion environment but through specific and conscious effort. Language Acquisition provides the students with the fundamentals that enable them to learn and practice the academic language skills taught in Language and Literature.
Language and Literature
“Language development is a process of constructing meaning” (IBO, 2008). Once enough language is acquired, the discreet skills of critical literacy become more important as the content knowledge in subject areas increases in complexity and abstraction. Our courses in Language and Literature are designed to provide students with the requisite breadth and depth of literacy experiences so that they may become increasingly capable of independently learning about language as well as using language to learn.
In language acquisition classes students practice the basic skills that will enable and empower them to discuss and negotiate meaning with adults and peers in their world in that language. Students acquire the oral skills of comprehension and speech, they learn to match letter combinations with sounds, and they practice learning the complex systems of skills involved in reading for meaning and writing for communication.
We are dedicated to providing a well-implemented ELA programme and a welcoming, caring environment where students feel accepted, happy and comfortable enough to accept challenges and become risk takers in the acquisition of a new language. More than just language learning, the English Language Acquisition (ELA) Department at MIS holds a safe space so that all those whose mother tongue is not English can find their bearings, take root and grow. Students leave ELA fully equipped to make friends and learn about each other’s cultures on the road to becoming lifelong learners.
In the primary school English Language and Literature happens within the homeroom classroom where all students participate as they are able. Primary students also learn another language at the Language Acquisition level, and those students who need Language Acquisition work in English receive that extra support while others acquire a different language. In the secondary school students are placed in language acquisition classes until they demonstrate the foundation and readiness to be successful in the language and literature environment. We currently have students acquiring language proficiency in English, German, French and Hindi.
The IB defines the term ‘mother tongue’ to carry multiple meanings: “the language learned first; the language identified with as a ‘native’ speaker; the language known best; the language used most” (IBO, 2008). At MIS we seek to affirm the identity of all our students by fostering the continued learning of mother tongue languages. One important way we do this is by supporting self-taught coursework in mother tongue languages in the MYP and DP. A person’s cognitive and intellectual growth is supported by the ongoing development of mother tongue language; research shows that all areas of learning are enhanced through genuine multilingual.
Baccalaureate, International. Learning in a language other than mother tongue in IB programmes. Cardiff, Wales: International Baccalaureate Programme, 2008.