Learning to speak another’s language means taking one’s place in the human community. It means reaching out to others across cultural and linguistic boundaries. Language is far more than a system to be explained. It is our most important link to the world around us. Language is culture in motion. It is people interacting with people. Savignon (1983)
Language plays a pivotal role in the development, processing and orientation of thoughts. It is imperative on our part to ensure that age appropriate language competencies and proficiencies are developed at the right time. Language learning is an intricate and specific skills based process. To learn and teach a language other than the mother tongue is very challenging indeed. Speaking two or more languages definitely benefits the cognitive process and promotes multilingualism and intercultural understanding, both of which are central to the IB’s mission. Bilingual people always have an edge over single language speakers as their brains recognise, negotiate meaning and communicate in different language systems. This skill boosts one’s ability to negotiate meaning in other problem-solving tasks as well. Switching between two systems of speech, writing, and structure makes students good multi-taskers, because they can easily switch between different structures.
Language Acquisition in the Secondary School
The study of additional languages like French, German, Hindi, Spanish and English provide students with the opportunity to develop insights into the features, processes and craft of language and the concept of culture, and to realize that there are diverse ways of living, behaving and viewing the world. Students engage themselves in various productive, receptive and interactive processes of oral, visual and written communication. These processes are often carried out as interactional processes rather than as discrete skills. The student receives, constructs, creates and shares meaning using language to relate to others, to relate their experiences to others, as well as to communicate a message and demonstrate their understanding by applying various language processes in combination with each other in a range of authentic situations. Requesting and providing information, giving and receiving ideas and opinions, creating and sharing a solution or a story, listening, discussing and responding to messages, and viewing, interpreting an idea or an issue are a few steps towards a deep- end approach.
At MBIS, we ensure that all our students acquire a full range of skills and abilities relevant to growing, living and interacting in this ‘world of languages’; of which more could be read in the following newsletter.
Resources.ibo.org. (2018). Authentication Selector. [online] Available at: https://resources.ibo.org/myp/subject-group/Language-acquisition/?c=98f55120 [Accessed 25 Aug. 2018]
About photos – MYP 2 ELA students work in pairs and small groups to identify genres, define them and find examples of each genre.