ARIS offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.
Purposes of the Language Policy
The purposes of the Language Policy are to:
• achieve a common, transdisciplinary understanding of ARIS’s aims and objectives for language learning at both Primary and Secondary levels
• provide a means of understanding how and why language skills are taught at ARIS
• support language learning in ways which are consistent with and supportive of the standards of the IB Diploma Programme
• establish agreements on how to meet the needs of students with regard to commitments outlined in the ARIS Mission Statement
• provide the foundation of a whole-school language curriculum approach
• provide support and focus for planning, teaching, assessing and curriculum development with respect to language in all areas of the school.
Language Profile at ARIS
Data collected about the languages spoken at home from the enrolment application forms of students in 2013 showed the following:
• First Language spoken at home: 57% identified English as their first language spoken at home, 23% Arabic, 10% Hindi and 5% French. The remaining 5% was represented by 11 other languages.
• Second Language spoken at home: 34% identified Arabic as their second language, 33% English, 20% Hindi and 8% French. The remaining 5% was represented by 12 other languages.
• Third Language spoken at home: 53% identified French as their 3rd language spoken at home, 20% Arabic, 10% Hindi and 8% English. The remaining 9% was represented by 11 other languages.
According to the above data, therefore, English is considered as the first language and mother tongue of 57% of ARIS students. Arabic is considered as the main second language along with Hindi, and French is considered as the main foreign language of ARIS students.
Language Policy at ARIS
The emphasis in language use at ARIS is intentionally on English, in order to facilitate learning in an English-medium curriculum and to enhance students’ academic career potential. It is recognised that the knowledge and acquisition of other languages not only promotes cognitive growth but is vital to social interactions, both formally and informally, inside and outside the classroom, at home and within the international community.
There is a strong link between learning a language and learning about a culture. It is therefore in the spirit of the ARIS mission statement and, more generally, the development of international mindedness, that students are encouraged to be proud of their own language and culture and, equally, learn a language other than their own.
A student’s ability to access the curriculum and to succeed at ARIS is highly dependent on language proficiency. As part of the admissions process, new students undertake an English language assessment. Students whose level of English language is below a level that the school considers itself able to support with its English Language Support programmes may, in exceptional circumstances, be denied admission. Students who are deemed to require considerable English Language support will routinely be provided with additional English Language classes.
Language use in the classroom (with the exception of Modern Foreign Language (MFL) classes):
The language of instruction is English and the curriculum is in the medium of English throughout the school, though it is recognised that other languages may be used for varying purposes during instructional activities. Decisions regarding language use in the classroom are at the discretion of individual teachers; however, it should always be kept in mind that becoming proficient in English is a priority in order to access English medium subject areas, such as the humanities and sciences, in the IGCSE and IB Diploma Programme curricula. Classroom teaching is thus guided by the following principles:
1. During general instructional activities, decisions regarding which language(s) should be used must be founded on the intention that all students develop the necessary language proficiency in English to perform to their best ability on all tasks related to the curriculum.
2. Notwithstanding (1), it may at times be helpful for students to think through or talk through unfamiliar or complex concepts in their first language before learning the vocabulary to talk about these concepts in English.
3. When whole class discussions or mixed-language group discussions / activities are taking place, it is important to use English in order to ensure the collective understanding of all participants.
4. Though the use of a student’s first language is not discouraged in the school, there will often be times in the classroom where the teacher needs to stipulate that a particular activity be undertaken solely in English, in order to achieve the stated learning objectives.
5. Teachers consider language use at all stages of curriculum planning and implementation, with the aim of facilitating student understanding of both the language used in the classroom and the concepts embedded in the curriculum. In support of this aim the school provides on-going professional development for teachers in the area of ESL and EAL strategies appropriate for mainstream classroom settings.
Language use outside the classroom
In line with the general belief that diversity in the languages used by students and staff is a positive element reinforcing international-mindedness in the school, no language is discouraged outside the classroom. However, students are encouraged to communicate as appropriate with their peers in the common language of English. It is important that no student is excluded due to the prevalence of an unfamiliar language and that students do not experience a sense of alienation from others.
Overview of Language Programmes
Except in the obvious case of the MFL classes, English (in both written and spoken forms) is the medium of instruction throughout ARIS.
• In Primary and Secondary 1, all students study English as a first language, including those students requiring extra English language learning support. This support is provided through the English as an Additional Language (EAL) programme.
• At IGCSE, students study English language as a first or second language.
• In the Diploma Programme all students pursue a course in English: English Language and Literature (HL or SL) or English Literature (HL or SL).
1. Years 1 to 9: All students follow the British National Curriculum and Cambridge Primary and Secondary 1 English courses which are based on recognised standards. These courses aim to develop the skills of reading, writing, listening, speaking, language foundations, and media literacy through engaging learning tasks using authentic contexts and assessments.
2. In Years 10 and 11, two courses are available: Cambridge IGCSE English as a First Language and English as a Second Language.
3. In Years 12 and 13, students either follow the IB Diploma Programme English A Literature SL and HL or the English A Language and Literature SL and HL.
English as an Additional Language
ARIS has a diverse school population. Our goal is to support the academic and social development of all students. The English as an Additional language (EAL) programme enables students whose first language or whose prior language of instruction is not English to develop their language skills. The purpose of the EAL services is to assist students to become proficient in English and to be able to study at year level. The EAL programme is offered in Years 1 to 11.
• For a student to be identified as an EAL student, an assessment of his/her English language proficiency is carried out. Initial assessments will be typically conducted upon a student’s first enrolment at ARIS, but may also be conducted at any point if there is an indication that there might be a need for EAL services.
• Assessment of English language proficiency determines if the student’s use of English is below the expected level. Support is provided for the student to adjust to the school culture and achieve year level expectations.
• Differentiated support is provided for each EAL student.
• Progress in the acquisition of English is regularly reported to parents.
• An EAL specialist plans and delivers the EAL services. Services may include individual or small group instruction, pull-out or push-in services.
According to the data presented in the ARIS language profile, the majority of the students are Native and Heritage Arabic language learners who have been exposed to Arabic at their homes, who speak or merely understand Arabic, and who are, to various degrees, bilingual. Accordingly, Arabic is their second language.
• In order to meet the needs of ARIS students, two Arabic programmes are offered:
1. Modern Standard Arabic programme (MSA) for Native and Heritage learners, and
2. Arabic as a Foreign Language programme (AFL) for non-native learners.
• The Arabic curriculum is standard based, integrating the Cambridge IGCSE curriculum and the AERO+ World Languages standards.
• Arabic is provided at all year levels.
o In Primary, Arabic is offered for one hour four times a week for all students.
o In Secondary 1, Arabic is offered three times a week for ninety minutes for all students.
o In the IGCSE Programme, Arabic courses comprise two 90 minute classes per week.
o In IBDP, Arabic B (HL/SL) or Arabic Ab initio (SL) are available for three 90 minute classes per week.
• Enrolment in the Arabic programme:
o Incoming students wishing to join the Arabic programme will be placed in one of the above programmes depending on their background. As part of the admission procedure a placement test will be given to all incoming students to check their level of proficiency in Arabic.
o Students enrolled in Modern Standard Arabic, may not join AFL at any time as it is not designed for heritage learners. However, AFL students will be encouraged to stretch up to join MSA.
Placement in the AFL language courses depends on students’ background, proficiency level and availability of courses. In order to abide by the ethical considerations of the IB Diploma Programme, students will be placed in appropriate language courses in Year 12 based on their proficiency and background.
According to the data presented in the ARIS language profile, the 20% of the students are Native and Heritage Hindi language learners who have been exposed to Hindi at their homes, who speak or merely understand Hindi, and who are, to various degrees, bilingual. Accordingly, Hindi is their second language.
• The Hindi Curriculum is standards based integrating the AERO+ World languages Standards.
• Hindi is provided mainly in Primary where it is offered for one hour four times a week.
French is available as a foreign language programme throughout the school.
• The French curriculum is standards based, integrating the Cambridge IGCSE curriculum and the AERO+ World Languages standards.
• French is available as follows:
o In Years 1 and 2, French is offered twice a week. In Years 3 to 6, it is offered three times a week for all students (classes of 50 minutes duration).
o In Secondary 1, French is offered three times a week for students electing for the French Programme (90 minute classes).
o In IGCSE, French courses occupy two 90 minute classes a week.
o In IBDP, French B (HL/SL) and/or French Ab initio (SL) are available for three 90 minute classes per week.
Placement in the French language courses depends on the students’ background and proficiency level. All students entering the Secondary School, at all age levels, are given a placement test in the appropriate language(s) to assess their proficiency.
IB Diploma Programme: Placement in Language Acquisition Courses
The degree to which students are already competent in the language and the degree of proficiency they wish to attain by the end of the period of study are the most important factors in identifying the appropriate Language Acquisition course in Group 2. Even though a given course may initially seem very difficult, it is essential that students follow the course that is best suited to their present and future needs and that it will provide them with an appropriate academic opportunity and challenge.
Language Policy Review
This Language Policy is a working document which is reviewed at least annually by the Language Steering Committee.