Philosophy of Language
Language is central to our identity. Our mother tongue and the other languages we use to construct meaning are connected to our relationship with the world and those around us. By valuing all cultures and languages we aim to promote each learner’s self-esteem and encourage international mindedness. A large number of students at our school learn in a language which is not their first language. It is essential to understand how this situation can both enrich and impact on students’ learning.
Our aim is to achieve additive bilingualism, which means that acquiring a new language does not affect our mother tongue negatively or impact learning unfavourably. We are passionate about assisting our students to be excellent communicators in all the languages they use and to embrace the similarities and differences in each other’s speech and writing. At Strothoff International School we endeavour to provide each language student with the school and classroom atmosphere that nurtures his/her appreciation of language and inspires our students to express themselves.
English is the language of instruction at Strothoff International School. All classes with the exception of other language lessons are held in English. All students are assessed upon entry into the school to determine their competence in English. Our objective is to develop students’ academic and social competence in English, as well as their understanding and appreciation of English language cultures.
Due to our small class sizes and individualised approach, we offer our students an excellent opportunity to develop their English language skills whether they are learning it as an additional language or are mother tongue speakers. All our teachers participate in training to teach English as an Additional Language (EAL) in the inclusive classroom, as well as to provide enrichment to those students who require extension. We also have a dedicated learning support team that come into the classroom to assist any students who may need support in an identified area or areas. At our school we put a great deal of emphasis on creativity and encourage students to express their unique ideas in an original and effective way. This supplies the platform for students of varying English language ability to participate actively in learning opportunities and be risk-takers. In this way we promote each child’s self-esteem and help develop the confidence needed to master the English language.
Our host language is important at Strothoff International School
All of our students whose English skills give them appropriate access to the curriculum study German. In the Primary Years Programme (PYP), we offer German as a foreign language at beginner and intermediate level. We also have a class for German mother tongue speakers. PYP students normally have 5 German lessons each week. The German teachers collaborate with the classroom teachers at each grade level in order to integrate the current unit of inquiry into their lessons.
Our intention is to develop knowledge and appreciation of the German language and culture throughout the school community.In Secondary school, students in the Middle Years Programme (MYP) would also normally study German for 5 periods each week at the appropriate level. The IB philosophy emphasises the respect and acknowledgment of local culture, and the best way to do so is through the language. Students in the Diploma Programme (DP) may study German at mother tongue, second language or beginner level.
French and Spanish are offered in the MYP for three periods each week to students who do not need English support, and also in the DP as a second language. Students explore language and literature through a wide range of resources. Cultural and art based activities are used to reinforce linguistic knowledge, as well as to promote a wider awareness of the target cultures. We place equal emphasis upon communication skills and accurate use of language.
Students in the Diploma Programme also have the opportunity to study their mother tongue as a self-taught literature course with support from the English Department. Languages in this category have included Japanese, Mandarin, Urdu, Georgian, Hebrew, Farsi and Swedish.