Link IB World School Language

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    Statement of Philosophy

    The teachers and staff at Link IB World School believe that language teaching and learning embrace all means of expression and that language is the foundation of learning throughout the curriculum. This includes, but is not limited to, reading, writing, listening, speaking, viewing and presenting. Through language, one is able to form his or her own identity, explore their environment, solve problems and influence the thinking of others.   Language empowers children to query across subject areas. This inquiry involves questions about themselves, about others and about their world; while contributing to the expansion of international mindedness.  All teachers and staff are language teachers.


    Statement of Standards and Practice

    At Link, all students experience an enriched language program in which English is the primary language of instruction and Spanish is taught as an additional language using the Foreign Language in Elementary School (FLES) model.  We consider math, visual arts, and music as other valuable languages in which all students are consistently exposed and encouraged to use to understand the world. 

    The Clarkstown School District and NYS provide Link IB World School with language learning standards, curriculum, and common required assessments.  Our PYP Coordinator, working collaboratively with staff, ensures there is alignment with the IB Philosophy and Standards.  The coordinator receives information about updates to program standards and practices and promotes the use of the IB Online Curriculum Center (now MY IB) among staff as well as direct access PYP documents related to language practices.


    Language Standards aligned with IB

    Language is fundamental to learning and permeates our entire curriculum. By learning language, as well as learning about and through language, we nurture an appreciation of the richness of language and a love of literature. The language expectations are arranged into three main communication strands: oral communicationwritten communication and visual communication. These communication strands are organized into sub-strands which include listeningspeakingreadingwritingviewing and presenting. These have each been organized into developmental phases which build upon each other.


    Oral communication: Listening and Speaking

    Oral language encompasses all aspects of listening and speaking—skills that are essential for ongoing language development, for learning and for relating to others. Listening (the receptive mode) and speaking (the expressive mode) work together in a transactional process between listeners and speakers. Listening involves more than just hearing sounds. It requires active and conscious attention in order to make sense of what is heard. Purposeful talk enables learners to articulate thoughts as they construct and reconstruct meaning to understand the world around them. Oral language involves recognizing and using certain types of language according to the audience and purposes (for example, the language used at home, the language of the classroom, the language of play, the language of inquiry, conversations with peers, giving instructions, interpreting creative texts, the language of fantasy, the language of different generations, of different times and places).

    (International Baccalaureate Organization, 2009) 


    Written communication: Reading

    Reading is a developmental process that involves constructing meaning from text. The process is interactive and involves the reader’s purpose for reading, the reader’s prior knowledge and experience, and the text itself. It begins to happen when the young learner realizes that print conveys meaning and becomes concerned with trying to make sense of the marks on the page. The most significant contribution parents and teachers can make to success in reading is to provide a captivating range of picture books and other illustrated materials to share with beginning readers. Enthusiasm and curiosity are essential ingredients in promoting the desire to read. Children of all ages need to experience and enjoy a wide variety of interesting, informative, intriguing and creative reading materials.

    Reading helps us to clarify our ideas, feelings, thoughts and opinions. Literature offers us a means of understanding ourselves and others, and has the power to influence and structure thinking. Well-written fiction provides opportunities for learners to imagine themselves in another’s situation, reflect on feelings and actions, and develop empathy. The ability to read and comprehend non-fiction is essential for the process of inquiry. As inquirers, learners need to be able to identify, synthesize and apply useful and relevant information from text. Teachers should provide a balance between fiction and non-fiction, to meet the range of learning needs and interests of their students.

    Children learn to read by reading. In order to develop lifelong reading habits, learners need to have extended periods of time to read for pleasure, interest, and information, experiencing an extensive range of quality fiction and non-fiction texts. As learners engage with interesting and appealing texts, appropriate to their experiences and developmental phase, they acquire the skills, strategies and conceptual understanding necessary to become competent, motivated, independent readers.                                                                    

    (International Baccalaureate Organization, 2009) 


    Written Curriculum: Writing

    Writing is a way of expressing ourselves. It is a personal act that grows and develops with the individual. From the earliest lines and marks of young learners to the expression of mature writers, it allows us to organize and communicate thoughts, ideas and information in a visible and tangible way. Writing is primarily concerned with communicating meaning and intention. When children are encouraged to express themselves and reveal their own “voice”, writing is a genuine expression of the individual.

     The quality of expression lies in the authenticity of the message and the desire to communicate. If the writer has shared his or her message in such a way that others can appreciate it, the writer’s intention has been achieved. Over time, writing involves developing a variety of structures, strategies and literary techniques (spelling, grammar, plot, character, punctuation, voice) and applying them with increasing skill and effectiveness. However, the writer’s ability to communicate his or her intention and share meaning takes precedence over accuracy and the application of skills. Accuracy and skills grow out of the process of producing meaningful communication. Children learn to write by writing.

    Acquiring a set of isolated skills will not turn them into writers. It is only in the process of sharing their ideas in written form that skills are developed, applied and refined to produce increasingly effective written communication.

    (International Baccalaureate Organization, 2009) 


    Visual communication: viewing and presenting

    Viewing and presenting are fundamental processes that are historically and universally powerful and significant. The receptive processes (viewing) and expressive processes (presenting) are connected and allow for reciprocal growth in understanding; neither process has meaning except in relation to the other. It is important to provide a balanced program with opportunities for students to experience both viewing and presenting. These processes involve interpreting, using and constructing visuals and multimedia in a variety of situations and for a range of purposes and audiences. They allow students to understand the ways in which images and language interact to convey ideas, values and beliefs. Visual texts may be paper, electronic or live, observable forms of communication that are consciously constructed to convey meaning and immediately engage viewers, allowing them instant access to data. Examples of visual texts are: advertisements, brochures, computer games and programs, websites, movies, posters, signs, logos, flags, maps, charts, graphs, diagrams, illustrations, graphic organizers, cartoons and comics. Learning to interpret this data, and to understand and use different media, are invaluable life skills.

    Acquiring skills related to information and communication technology (ICT) and visual texts is significant because of their persuasive influence in society. It is important to learn how visual images influence meaning and produce powerful associations that shape the way we think and feel. Opportunities that invite students to explore the function and construction of images facilitate the process of critically analyzing a range of visual texts. Learning to understand and use different visual texts expands the sources of information and expressive abilities of students.

     (International Baccalaureate Organization, 2009) 

    English Language Arts Instruction

    To transform our philosophy and standards into instructional practice, the school has embraced the mission of Teachers College Reading and Writing Project and workshop approach.

    The School Community believes there is close alignment of IB and TC philosophy and practices.  At the heart of the TC philosophy is the notion that children are to be given a “voice,” encouraged to discover and refine their own personal writing style, as they compose “stories that matter.” This “constructivist view” supports the belief that children should generate their own texts, using material from their own lives. Self-expression as a key to learning extends to reading: children develop a passion for reading when they are given freedom to choose books that are meaningful to them.

    Language of Instruction

    The students at Link come from a variety of backgrounds.  We have students whose mother tongue is Russian, Hebrew, Spanish, Mali-alum, English, and French Creole.

    All students at Link are instructed in English, using the following techniques that support their language acquisition and development:

    • Readers Workshop
    • Writers Workshop
    • Word Study
    • Guided Reading
    • Language instruction across all subject areas
    • Inquiry-based learning
    • Collaborative, peer partnerships and independent groupings
    • Student Conferences
    • The use of formal and informal assessment data to drive instruction

    Additional languages

    All students at Link IB World School are instructed in the Spanish Language.  Children receive weekly Spanish instruction.  This study of Spanish provides students an opportunity to develop cultural awareness and in turn understand the importance of learning an additional language. 

    Mother Tongue Support

    Link students are encouraged to preserve their cultural identity through the use of their mother tongue within the school community.  This occurs during our annual International Night as well as projects related to program of inquiry units. 

    Assessing language learning

    District, school, and state-mandated language assessments are used to assess individual and school-wide progress related to language learning.  STAR reading assessment is administered three times a year for progress monitoring in grades K-5. The Fountas & Pinnel informal miscue analysis is administered by all classroom teachers at least three times a year in grades K-5. Teachers also utilize a variety of informal language assessments in their own classrooms on a daily basis.  These assessment tools are used to inform language teaching and learning practices within the school.   Feedback on students’ language development is given to students and parents through a variety of means, including but not limited to: trimester progress reports; language assessment reports sent home to parents; verbal communication between teachers, students and parents; at parent-teacher conferences; and the contents of student portfolios shared during conferences.

    Language policy access, articulation and review

    Link IB World School’s language policy is posted on the school’s website for parents to view. It is included in the Staff Handbook and reviewed during collaborative planning sessions.  All staff is knowledgeable about the policy and can communicate this knowledge to parents.

    Our language policy is a living document that will be formally reviewed at least once during each 5-year PYP evaluation cycle and as the school community’s perspectives regarding language learning evolve.