We have over 45 different nationalities in our school. That is the beauty of Haut-Lac International Bilingual School, and what makes us truly international.
Our goal is to create a supportive educational environment where every child has equal access to our study programmes. We thus provide language support in our languages of instruction, English and French, based on the unique needs of every student to help us reach this goal.
We are aware that it may be difficult for a child to settle into a new environment, a new school, and a new language. The volume of change expatriate students go through is dramatic. We do not wish to make that experience even more challenging by singling out students on the basis of language and making them feel excluded from the class and their social group.
Language support within the classroom environment
Our teachers have been given training and resources to enable them to help all pupils settle into their classroom environment, whatever their background or “mother-tongue”. They do everything to ensure that your child feels welcome, can learn effectively, and gets an opportunity to contribute.
In addition, we have a specialist team of English as an Additional Language (EAL) and French as an Additional Language (FLA) teachers, classroom assistants, and volunteers who work as a team to ensure that the experience of learning an additional language is a relaxed and welcome one.
Support methods: in and out of the classroom
We tailor our support to the circumstances and preferences of each child.
Most of the time, classroom support is provided by specialist teachers and classroom assistants as part of the normal curriculum.
However, children may occasionally be provided with support on a one-to-one or small group basis outside the classroom. It is our goal to ensure that each child feels integrated and a part of their year group from their first days in our school. For this reason, withdrawal support is only provided as a last-resort if classroom support is deemed not practical or constructive for the child.
Our Language support team works in conjunction with classroom teachers to develop Individual Language Support Plans that ensure each child has access to his or her year group’s curriculum. This method of support is more labour-intensive for our teaching staff, but provides greater long-term benefits for the students.
We believe that our students must remain, whenever possible, in their respective classes. The responsibility for assisting with a child’s language development rests with every member of our teaching staff. The task is most frequently shared by the classroom teacher, the child’s designated support teacher, and the child’s family.
Timeline for language learning
Research has shown that it takes children a minimum of two years to develop basic social language skills if they are learning English as an additional language in an English-speaking environment.
However, it may take seven years or more to develop a sound knowledge and use of the academic vocabulary required to access the curriculum at an age-appropriate level. As our learners do not live in an English-speaking environment, it may take them even longer. We are committed to providing language support for our students for as long as is required – not just during their first year in our school.
All of our teachers, administrators, and staff recognise that academic success is enhanced when our pupils’ cultural and linguistic backgrounds are acknowledged and incorporated into the curriculum wherever possible. We consider the richness of every student’s background in our curriculum and activity planning sessions. We do everything we can to incorporate them into our lesson plans. We believe that this approach benefits your child, his or her classmates, and the entire school community.
Organic development of a child’s mother tongue has been widely accepted as essential to a child’s successful acquisition of an additional language. We endeavour to provide after-school “mother tongue” clubs to help our students develop skills in their native language and integrate school learning.