Our philosophy is that all teachers are language teachers. Language is the driving force that connects all of the IB disciplines. Effective language learning is a natural precursor to global understanding and awareness. Our goal is for students to achieve proficiency in English, the language of instruction, as well as in the second language German, the host country’s language.
At Lisa-Junior language comes to life through:
• music, songs
• interaction with others
• individual and group activities
• learning through real life situations
• solving problems through communication
• taking responsibility
• book presentations
• Portfolio conferences
• reflection on personal work
• research work
• listening to instructions
• in-class library
• introducing other languages than English and German through native storytellers
English as a Second Language
At LISA-JUNIOR the purpose of the ESL program is to provide students with the support they need to feel comfortable and to learn in everyday situations in the classroom. It aims to give students the necessary skills to develop their learning of English and enjoy learning in the classroom.
In order to assess the ESL needs of the child prior to starting school the prospective parents are asked to complete a questionnaire to assist the school as we develop a Language Profile for the student. Shortly after starting at LISA-JUNIOR the teachers and parents meet together in an informal setting to discuss progress, growth and goals. The aim of this meeting is to highlight any potential issues that might have emerged and to explain the ESL provision that will be provided to the student. ESL students will receive additional support from 6 years upwards.
ESL lessons will focus on developing communication skills that are necessary to feel comfortable and safe in the class and throughout the school. They may also be linked to class work. Each lesson is planned to suit the needs of the child ranging from students who don’t speak any English to those who are able to use more. A range of teaching strategies will be used and the lessons will include listening, speaking, reading and writing according to the needs of the child. The initial emphasis of ESL lessons will be speaking and understanding English. These lessons will continue until the child meets the exit criteria.
Languages Other Than English
Awareness of various languages provides learners with multiple and diverse worldviews, enhancing their international mindedness. All students will have opportunities to learn about German language and the Austrian culture.
From 5 years old German is taught in two parallel streams, one for native/fluent speakers and one for those students learning German as an additional language.
We believe it is important to allow the students in early years (3 and 4 year olds) to consolidate and develop their mother tongue and/or English before beginning formal lessons in an additional language. Therefore formal timetabled lessons in German are taught from Prep. Senior (approx. 6 years old). Informal opportunities for students to use and be exposed to German will occur regularly within the early year’s classrooms. For native German speakers this means they will be beginning more formal lessons in German at the same age as they would within the Austrian system.
It is our priority for students to be able to engage with the curriculum and communicate with other students and the teachers in the language of instruction before learning German as an additional language. This is to avoid learning two new languages at the same time. Therefore non-English speaking students will not join German lessons immediately but will be provided with English as a Second Language (ESL) support until such time they meet the exit criteria.
Native German speakers will begin German lessons immediately as there is no benefit in delaying the start of their German lessons.
Mother Tongue (other than English & German)
We are unable to offer other additional languages but will help families find teachers who may assist studying outside their home by providing opportunities for these students to maintain their mother tongue.
Mother Tongue German
The Early Years is the ideal age for students to develop bilingual skills because of their facility to absorb language. Our German Programme provides a language-rich environment and, although most of our emphasis is focused on the development of English, we include an opportunity for Austrian students to express themselves in the school in their home language. We focus on listening and speaking skills, with activities that include oral work, telling and acting stories, structured play and learning songs. German Mother Tongue classes commence in the Primary (6 years onwards) where they start developing language skills (speaking, reading and writing).
German as a Foreign Language
For students who are learning German as a foreign language, we develop language skills to enable students to speak, read and write with increasing fluency, so enabling our students to enjoy and better understand their host country.