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American International School of Mozambique

LANGUAGE POLICY
Reviewed February 2017
Contents

Philosophy Statement ....................................................................................................................................................... 2


The AISM Language Profile ............................................................................................................................................... 2
Languages and levels offered............................................................................................................................................ 2
Support for mother tongues ............................................................................................................................................. 3
Classroom practise (strategies to support all teachers in their contribution to language development of students) .... 3
Review process.................................................................................................................................................................. 4
Other working documents ................................................................................................................................................ 4
Communication of the policy ............................................................................................................................................ 4
Reference documents ....................................................................................................................................................... 5
Annex Glossary of language terms................................................................................................................................. 5
Philosophy Statement
At AISM we believe that language is fundamental to learning; it underpins and permeates the entire curriculum. It is a
means of thinking and communicating. Language is an integral part of personal and cultural identity. All teachers are
language teachers, integrating language learning into every aspect of the curriculum.
We believe that students learn language, through language and about language; that rigorous language learning as a
social construct ensures students are successful inquirers and 21st Century learners. All teachers at AISM are language
teachers. By ensuring that language learning is an integral part of every learning engagement we are enhancing
students personal growth and cognitive development, as well as facilitating international-mindedness. Language is
learned by listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing and presenting (media literacy). These strands are emphasized
throughout the schools curriculum.
We believe that language learners can be active, successful learners in the social and academic school environment,
given that they are provided with timely, supportive, level-appropriate contexts with which to develop proficiency.

AISM Language Profile


Students
Forty-eight percent of the student population speaks English as a first language, another thirty-nine percent speak
Portuguese. German, Italian and Afrikaans speakers each make up two percent of the total population with Dutch,
French, Swedish and Norwegian one percent.
Of the forty-one differing nationalities, students in the primary school speak twenty-seven different first languages.
Forty- eight percent have English as their first language, thirty-four percent Portuguese, two percent Spanish or
German, one point five percent Chinese or Dutch, one point two percent Danish or Italian. Each of the remaining
nineteen languages each represents less than one percent of the total primary school population.

Students in the secondary school represent twenty-five nationalities and speak eighteen different first languages.
Forty-three percent have English as their first language, thirty-six percent Portuguese, three percent Spanish; two
percent each have Afrikaans, Italian, German, Finnish and French, and one percent have Korean, Finnish, Dutch,
Norwegian and Turkish. The remaining twelve represents less than one percent of the secondary school population.

Students mostly speak English and Portuguese when they communicate in social situations both inside and outside
the classroom.
Staff
Academic staff totals nearly 142 employees, including a school director, 2 principals, 3 counsellors, 2 librarians,
specialists for special education, literacy and mathematics development, ESOL and learning support, coordinators for
PYP, MYP and DP, an athletics director and a service learning coordinator (23 of whom are US citizens, 56 host-country
nationals and 63 third-country nationals).
Other working staff includes teaching assistants, cleaning and security personnel, who come from a variety of
backgrounds, most of them within Mozambique, which a panoply of local Mozambican and other African
languages/dialects, such as Shangana, Ronga and Swazi.

Languages and levels offered


AISM provides students with a quality English medium academic programme, ensuring that students speak, read and
write with accuracy and fluency to US grade-level standards and in accordance with the International Baccalaureate
(IB) requirements.
Additional language learning, host country language and culture
Portuguese, AISMs host country language, is offered as an additional and mother tongue language at the primary
school level. In the secondary school, students may select either Portuguese as language and literature or as a language
acquisition over 6 phases. French is offered until grade 10 as language acquisition over 6 phases. In the final DP,
facilities are available that support mother tongue through Pamoja and also if teachers in that language are
available. Self -taught mother tongue is encouraged. Spanish is offered in the DP as language B
In the primary school, the additional language programme is designed to complement the units of inquiry, through
meaningful connections regarding knowledge, concepts and skills, while in grades 4 and 5, integration is developed by
exploring communication skills under each transdisciplinary theme, adapted to the language perspective. The overall
objective is that learners acquire language skills based on individual needs in authentic contexts, rather than a set of
isolated skills.
Mozambican students in the secondary school are required by the Ministry of Education to study Portuguese
language and literature, and participate in Mozambican history and geography lessons. This is accommodated during
the school day and in the afternoon programme. Additionally, the Mozambican Ministry of Education requires all
students learn the national anthem. All students have access through our performing arts program.

Support for mother tongues


Mother tongue and first language learning, besides Portuguese, is supported by the school. Parents or parent groups
may use school facilities when they initiate after-school first language instruction through external instructors, tutors
or distance learning programs. AISM is not able to accommodate instruction in first languages within the prescribed
academic program; however, administration may allow for exceptions if curriculum modification is in the best interest
of the student.
Students may choose an IB approved language to study in grade 11 and 12. Portuguese is offered at both Language A
and B levels.

Classroom practise (strategies to support all teachers in their contribution to


language development of students)
In order to create authentic language learning contexts through inquiry, the primary school classroom practise is
holistic, utilising the Literacy expectations of Fountas and Pinnell, a US-based curriculum model. It provides a
structured framework of language learning that is embedded within each unit of inquiry ensuring a growing
understanding of transdisciplinary learning. The Literacy Coach manages a school-wide guided reading program,
6Traits writing structure and the Words Their Way word-study program.
Classroom practice in the secondary school, is centred around the standards and practices required by the
International Baccalaureate (IB). Differentiation is practiced to accommodate language acquisition levels, and
academic achievement levels. Through the IB Approaches to Teaching and Learning (ATL) skills, research practices
are taught at all grade levels and MLA referencing is required.

English for speakers of other languages (ESOL)


Students with little or no English language skills may be admitted in ELC 3 through grade 8; students with limited
acquisition of English language skills may be admitted conditionally in grades 9 and 10. Support includes pull out,
and in class support or after school support. Students applying for grades 11 and 12 must demonstrate sufficient
acquisition of English language skills appropriate to grade level placement prior to admission.

The ESOL Programme is designed to meet the needs of students who speak a language other than English. The main
goal is to develop both communicative and academic language skills, allowing students to successfully participate in
the school curriculum.

Beginner ESOL students receive small-group instruction with the ESOL specialist in the classroom or a pull-out
setting. Beginner-level instruction focuses on everyday communicative competence, including vocabulary
development and age/grade-related essential skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing. Instruction in the
primary school is holistic and inclusive to life and classroom content whereas in the secondary school it is content-
based, involving academically relevant materials and contexts. Lessons purposefully coincide with classroom work.
This approach to language learning ensures that students are provided authentic, meaningful contexts to explore and
practice language.
ESOL support is also provided in classrooms in the form of differentiated instruction. The ESOL specialists collaborate
with teachers in lesson planning and lesson presentation, with the goal of providing in-class language support to ESOL
students at all levels; in this way, ESOL students who do not participate in the pull-out program receive important
support in the areas of writing, comprehension, organizing ideas, etc. In addition to language skills students learn
strategies for developing ideas, encountering new language, organizing information and determining meaning from
text.

Review process
This language policy will be revised as part of the IB self-study process/es. A collaborative team led by the school
principals will be convened in order to ensure coverage and diversity across the whole school.

Other working documents


Role of language profile in admissions
A language profile form is completed during the enrolment process identifying how families intend to continue first
language learning (other than English) whilst in Mozambique. Principals ensure the language profile form is completed,
and reinforce the importance of first language learning whilst out of their home country.
The World-class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) package is used to assess ESOL students upon arrival.
(Grades 1 through 10). This data is utilised when developing a programme of learning for each student.
Role of student assessments
In the primary school, assessment strategies and tools are built into the programme at the grade and school level.
(International Schools Assessment). Data is collected, analysed and utilised to drive student learning further. (See
Assessment Policy) Students set personal goals to ensure ongoing growth.
The information is shared with grade teams within the current school year and may be used to inform classroom
placement in the new academic year.
Professional Learning Communities (PLC) utilise both grade and school-wide data for their own growth and
understanding in order to drive student learning further. The focus of improved practise drives these teams ensuring
student learning is at the fore. (PLC essential agreement)
The school has set a goal of eighty-five percent of its students meeting or exceeding the grade-wide language
expectations.
Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) is conducted annually for secondary students who fail to meet grade level
expectations. Data is collected, analysed and utilised to drive student learning further. Students set personal goals to
ensure ongoing growth.
International Schools Assessment (ISA) from the Australian Council of Educational Research (ACER) is completed in
reading and writing each February for student in grade 3-10. Information is sent to parents. It is analysed by
administration, the Literacy Coach, the learning support teams and the English language teachers/grade teams. PSAT
and SAT are completed in grade 11 and 12 for students requiring these for college applications.
Role of the student profile in catering for student diversity
The Learning Support department is included in the enrolment process. All relevant data is made available to ensure
the school can cater for the needs of each enrolled student. Documentation is collected and disseminated through the
learning support team to ensure students ongoing needs are met. The school may require further testing and
documentation; this is the responsibility of the parents. (Recommendations for therapists/other professionals are kept
by the school should parents require this information.)
Reporting and feedback on language development/needs is shared through weekly learning support team meetings.
It is the responsibility of all teachers involved with the student to attend these meetings. We support early intervention
and holistic strategies at all times.

Communication of the policy


Teaching staff are encouraged to be a part of the review process. Once the review is complete, they are sent an
updated policy and have access to it through the shared drive.
Grade-wide expectations are explicit and are shared with the community on the secure website.
In the primary school, each grade level will introduce the expectations during welcome/back to school night and inform
parents of the grade-level expectations through the classroom Weebly.
The secondary school utilises Managebac to explicitly outline the expectations to parents.

Reference documents
IB, Guidelines for developing a school language policy (2008)
IB, Language in the Primary Years Programme in Making the PYP happen: A curriculum framework for international
primary education (2007)
IB, MYP: From principles into practice (2014)
IB, DP
IB, Programme standards and practices (2010)
IB, Language and learning in IB programmes (2011)
IB, Learning in a language other than mother tongue in IB programmes (2008)

Glossary of language terms


ESOL: English for Speakers of Other Languages
Language A: The students first (or native) language.
Language B: A second, learned language.
Language of Instruction: This is the language used in all IB programmes to deliver the curriculum.
Mother tongue programme: First language instructional programme

Appendices (Primary)
Essential Agreement Handwriting

DNealian Handwriting Overview

Essential Agreement Reading and Literacy

Essential Agreement Writing

Essential Agreement Word Study