At AIS, we welcome students with many different language backgrounds. These languages and cultures are considered valuable resources and form a foundation for all learning. Therefore, we recognise and support the importance of mother‐tongue development in all areas of learning and believe that all sections of the community are responsible for language development.
English is the language of instruction at AIS. In the Primary Years, students are immersed in language-rich classrooms incorporating activities and interactions which support English language development. In the MYP Secondary Years, English language and literacy skills are developed through Language and Literature or Language Acquisition classes. The DP programme in the Secondary Years supports further development of literacy skills through Language A and Language B classes. However, AIS believes that all teachers are language teachers as language is used to provide instruction in all areas of the curriculum.
English as an Additional Language
Students arrive at AIS from many countries and with a range of educational experiences. At AIS we believe that all languages are important and that it is our responsibility to support and develop mother languages. While we celebrate the wonderful diversity of our students, we also recognize the challenge of learning in a different language. For students who arrive at AIS having not studied in English before, or for students who are still learning English, the English as an Additional Language (EAL) Department provides support for the acquisition of social and academic English.
The EAL Department at AIS supports students in acquiring English skills using a three-pronged model:
- Small group instruction for students with a similar level of English proficiency to develop social and academic language skills (pull-out instruction)
- Collaboration and co-teaching in mainstream classrooms to assist students in accessing the curriculum (push-in instruction)
- Professional development and consultation with classroom and content teachers to develop knowledge, skills and evidence-based strategies necessary for providing effective instruction for students acquiring English, or EAL students
The goal of the EAL programme is twofold: to help students attain proficiency in social language, as well as to develop the language skills required for academic success.
We believe that learning the languages from Belgium is important for students. This allows students to develop as multilinguals and gain a deeper understanding of the culture of our host country. At AIS, students receive four lessons of instruction in Dutch per week from Starter class to Grade 5. From Grade 6, students also receive four lessons of instruction in French per week. In the DP programme, Spanish Ab initio is added.
Mother Tongue Programme
AIS believes that “students should be provided the opportunity to develop a cognitive and culturally enriching form of additive multilingualism. This is achieved through the maintenance, development and enrichment of their mother tongue” (AIS Language Policy). As such, AIS aims to support the Mother Tongues of all students. AIS offers Mother Tongue (native) instruction for English, German and Dutch from Starter Class to Grade 12. French Mother Tongue instruction is offered from Grade 6 to Grade 12. Additionally, through AIS’ Mother Tongue on Request Programme, other mother tongue language classes may be offered at an extra cost in consultation with parents.