Language Policy

Developed and approved: December, 2012
Reviewed and approved March , 2015
Next review Academic year 2017-2018

Rationale
The ability to communicate in a variety of modes in more than one language is essential to the International Baccalaureate (IB) concept of an international education that promotes intercultural perspectives.

School Lyceum No. 6 recognizes that language is the ultimate medium of interaction between the individual and the world. It is through language that one expresses one’s uniqueness, one’s culture, embraces those of others and celebrates the richness of the world’s diversity. Language, further, is fundamental to learning as it is a medium of learning throughout the curriculum. Students are learning through and about languages in all disciplines all the time.

Schol Lyceum No. 6 is committed to promote multilingualism as “a paradigm for language and learning” and the wide range of languages within the school respecting and celebrating the diversity of languages and cultures of all its members in the way we teach and learn the language.

The Purpose of the Language Policy
The purpose of this document is to make explicit the language philosophy of School Lyceum No. 6, providing a multicultural international school education to children from the Primary school to graduation in Grade 11. This policy will compile and inform teachers and the community about teaching and learning practices regarding language.

Admissions requirements and assessments are conducted to ensure that students can access the curriculum. Teachers and admission staff assess all applicants through one or more or the following: diagnostic language tests, observations, review of past reports and interviews.

The School’s Language Philosophy
School Lyceum No. 6 believes that:
• As English is a working language of the IB , School Lyceum No. 6 recognizes the importance of English as the language of organization and communication within the school and the school community.
• A multilingual educational programme and environment are fundamental to the mission of this school.
• Language plays a vital role in learning, teaching, thinking and communicating. All teachers are, therefore, language teachers.
• Language acquisition allows students to develop their Learner Profile attributes.
• All language acquisition is best supported by a multilingual approach to learning: learning the language, learning about the language, and learning through the language.
• Mother tongue for all learners is a key to overall student development.
• The school students should have the opportunity to study the language of instruction (English), their mother tongue and foreign languages ( Turkish, German, Russian).
• A well-organized programme with professional development for instructors is basic for meeting the students’ language need.
• A library with a range of resources in the language of instruction (English) and mother tongues (Russian / Azerbaijani) are important to help and support students’ learning.
• All parents should be fully and clearly informed about which languages are offered, how the programme is organised and the importance of mother tongue maintenance and development.
• School Lyceum No. 6 uses the Common European Framework to identify language levels throughout the school.
• Language acquisition and learning is best developed in context, through authentic, meaningful learning experiences, which take into account students’ different learning styles.
• Students will be encouraged to become independent language learners and take responsibility for their own learning.

Objectives of the Language Programme
• To develop each student’s ability to communicate effectively in the language of instruction, whilst respecting the importance of the students’ mother tongue.
• To promote positive reciprocal relationships with other schools, organizations and institutions in Baku and Azerbaijan.
• To encourage students to develop language skills necessary for independent learning, successful problem solving and critical thinking.
• To support the staff to be sufficiently knowledgeable about the content they teach to make learning real, relevant, and challenging for every student.

The IB Learner Profile in the Language Policy
In line with the IB philosophy, School Lyceum No. 6 aims for the students to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes that will enable them to be:
Inquirers: we use language to acquire information and to interpret the world around us.
Thinkers: we express our thoughts with clarity and interpret others’ messages.
Communicators: we use oral and written language competently in a variety of situations; we articulate and interpret meaning in messages about ideas, values, and beliefs.
Risk takers: we dare to read, write, speak and listen in familiar and unfamiliar situations.
Knowledgeable: we continuously strengthen their languages and are aware of how the use of language can affect others.
Principled: we respect the power of language and use it appropriately.
Caring: we show sensitivity in their use of language and are aware of how the use of language can affect others.
Open-minded: we respect linguistic differences and variations in communication styles; we apply language to explore aspects of personal, host and other cultures.

Whole-School Practices
While we aim to make all our students proficient in the English Language, as this is the language of instruction, we acknowledge the fact that our students have an opportunity to learn other foreign languages such as Turkish, German, and Russian as such these endeavours should be supported and fostered. We attach a high priority to giving students a command of the English language and the ability to use it appropriately and precisely. At the same time we wish to value the importance of the students’ mother-tongue as this maintains the dignity and integrity of their identity and self-esteem, supports the fullest development of their cognitive faculties and is essential to their progress in English.

The study of English at Baku School Lyceum No. 6 is founded on the belief that language learning develops through ever-widening contexts. Students learn languages through their immersion in a diverse range of purposeful and increasingly demanding language experiences.

Since academic year 2012-2013 Baku School Lyceum No. 6 has been developing an English stream in Preschool and Primary Grade 1. The language of instruction is English. Russian and Azerbaijani languages are offered as the second languages.

English as an Additional Language (EAL) is an important integral part of the language continuum of the school where students are given sustained, structured language support to meet their individual needs, so that they might participate fully in the life of the school and have equal access to the curriculum as soon as possible. We envisage EAL instruction extending beyond technical skills to include as much as possible of the imaginative and literary aspects of the English curriculum.

In addition the study of English should lead students to develop their communicative, critical and imaginative faculties so that they develop an understanding of themselves, of others and of human culture, encouraging them to become active world citizens appreciating diversity and at the same time our common humanity.

At Baku School Lyceum No. 6, Azerbaijani and Russian as the languages of the country have a special significance and are offered to most students from Grades 1 to 11 as the first or additional languages. We recognize that for most, an education at our school is a multi-language experience. We appreciate the cultural richness of our entire community, and value the pluri-linguistic character of our school environment. We encourage our students to be linguistically sensitive and inclusive.

Language Policy Implementation
1. The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) should be used in the school.

2. The admissions policy should reflect the fact that the school will act in the best interests of students for whom English is not the first language. Parents should be made aware that such students will find the IB Diploma programme extremely challenging.

3. Individual students’ language profiles are instrumental in decision-making as regarding students’ language acquisition course placements and the language learning support, including mother tongue, they require.

4. The administration should appoint two Mother Tongue coordinators so that the needs of high school programmes are met.

5. Wherever possible, the school should encourage sustained language learning.

6. English as an Additional Language and Russian / Azerbaijani should not be timetabled against each other, so that all students have the opportunity to continue learning Russian.

7. Annual surveys as part of the whole-school Language Profile should be carried out to investigate parent/student/teacher satisfaction with our language programmes.

8. More staffing needs to be available to develop an EAL in-class support programme.

9. Formal tuition in Mother Tongue (language and literacy) should be recognised in the school report.

Languages in the Primary School
• Azerbaijani speaking stream (Azerbaijani is a language of instruction; English as a Foreign language).
• English speaking stream (English as a language of instruction; Azerbaijani or Russian (choice is given) as a Foreign Language).
• Russian speaking stream (Russian is a language of instruction; Azerbaijani as a Second language based on governmental standards, English as a Foreign Language).

Languages in the Secondary School
Azeri as the Official Language of the State and the Host Country Language

The Azeri language is granted the status of the official language of Azerbaijan and as such is required for studying by all local students irrespective of their mother tongues as the Language and Literature or a Language Acquisition course. The Azeri language programme is fully integrated based on the content determined by the national standards and the MYP standards and practices in curriculum design, teaching methodologies and assessment.

At School Lyceum No. 6, we honour and respect Azerbaijan as the home country for the local community and the host country for expatriates.

Language and Literature/Language of Instruction
Language instruction involves the belief that planning, teaching, assessing and reflecting are interconnected processes. Language support occurs throughout the school. The school provides the Language and Literature curriculum in English, Azeri or Russian as the languages of instruction in the three streams. Teachers of the mainstream language are responsible for the direct instruction and assessment of student language acquisition and for identifying each student’s individual needs.
A variety of assessment strategies are used; writing samples of different writing styles, analysis, poetry, speeches and may include self and peer assessments, conferencing, observations, and running records. This data is used to guide instruction, monitor progress, foster student achievement, and offer differentiated language learning strategies. These strategies form an essential part of the school’s assessment and reporting policies. Teachers use a variety of methodologies to create better language understanding. Instruction is integrated into the units of study and is supported by a variety of resources including: novels, poetry, plays, film adaptations, interactive whiteboard resources as well as library resources. Our substantial collection of fiction and non-fiction readers is available to support differentiated instruction in language development. School Lyceum No. 6 considers all teachers to be language teachers, not only for those students whose mother tongue is not the language of instruction but also for those whose first language is either English, Azeri or Russian.
English as Additional Language (EAL)
EAL is offered in School Lyceum No. 6 MYP to help students of all linguistic backgrounds achieve their potential in educational, social and cultural contexts at school. The support is designed to enable EAL students to achieve accurate and confident use of English across the MYP curriculum developing communicative skills, including the language of critical thinking and problem solving, and the use of creative language for self-expression. All incoming MYP students who are identified as possibly in need of EAL support are assessed through tests as well as through the interview with an EAL teacher and/or MYP coordinator and a Head of Secondary School. According to the decision of an EAL teacher, MYP coordinator and a Head of Secondary School, based on the completed Individual Student’s Language Profile students are then placed in EAL classes. The results of initial tests are made known to all subject teachers so that they are aware of any difficulties the student may encounter within their classroom. In conjunction with the MYP programme coordinator a decision will be made as to which subjects it is appropriate to withdraw students from.
English Language support is organized in and out of the classroom whole group, small group, and individualized instruction. Strategies to collect evidence for student assessment are notated in each unit planner and assessed using the Language and Literature criteria.
Language Acquisition
The primary aim of Language acquisition at secondary level is to encourage students to gain competence in a modern language other than their mother tongue. The IB acknowledges that learning additional languages greatly contributes to the holistic development of students. Proficiency in a second language gives students access to a broader range of input, experiences and perspectives. The study of another language aims to encourage in the student a respect for and understanding of other languages and cultures.
School Lyceum No. 6 currently offers IB MYP English, Azeri or Russian Language acquisition courses as mandatory in the relevant streams in the Secondary school. Students may also opt to study Turkish and German as another Language acquisition course, in additional to their major Language acquisiion course. Within the framework of a communicative approach, students learn the structure of the language in order to be able to express themselves in the acquired language in a range of situations. Learning is based on a core textbook and a variety of other resources.
Mother Tongue Support

In accordance with IB policy, Schol Lyceum No. 6 recognizes the importance of maintaining and developing a student’s mother tongue. Literacy in the first language is recognized as an important part in the development of a student’s self-esteem and cultural identity, intellectual growth and the acquisition of other languages. School Lyceum No. 6 strongly promotes additive bilingualism, where students attain proficiency in other languages while continuing to develop their own. In addition, the school recognizes that neglecting mother tongue development can have profoundly negative consequences for children. School Lyceum No. 6 supports Mother Tongue After School Activities (ASAs) and community initiatives as a means of facilitating Mother Tongue maintenance and development. The school strongly affirms that the environment parents provide their children is the biggest variable in promoting mother tongue maintenance and development. Parents, therefore, are strongly encouraged to provide a rich mother tongue environment for their children at all levels of the educational continuum.

Mother tongue goes beyond cultural identity. All subsequent language and academic study is built upon the mother tongue foundation, which is why students need to learn to read and write in their own languages. Lessons focus on reading and writing, speaking and listening. Teachers use a wide variety of resources and teaching strategies to enhance student learning. While the school is unable to translate all communications into all languages represented in the school community, it does strive to include languages other than in English and where possible, the host country’s language of Azeri.

Language Placement Procedures
Students are allocated to phases 1-6 in Language Acquisition courses in the MYP following the results of the placement tests. The allocations are discussed in the relevant subject departments and recorded in individual Student Language profiles completed on-line and made available to the relevant staff. The final placement decision at the admission stage is made by the Secondary or Primary Principals based on the recommendations provided by the Language acquisition teacher in charge of admission.
In case of English language acquisition, the results of the placement tests an the student’s progress communicated in the individual Student Language profile will guide the EAL Department in the correct placement as well as the right level of learning support. In some instances the Secondary Principal may request a placement test prior to making an admissions decision in order to assess the suitability of a student to the learning programme. The Principal may recommend students taking up subject courses in English or, in case of the applicant’s level of proficiency does not meet the minimum requirement develop a course of actions on a case-to-case basis to ensure the applicant is able to increase his/her level of proficiency to the accepted placement level.

Students are expected to achieve the required language proficiency based on indicators for grade level 8 – 11 of the Common European Language Framework. It is important to note that if a student’s English language proficiency level does not meet the standards laid down by the Common European Framework, the school cannot guarantee that the student will be successful in obtaining the full MYP certificate via optional eAssessment.

Languages in the Diploma Programme
Language A1 is a literature course studied in the ‘first language’ of the student or the language in which the student is most competent. This will normally be the language of the environment to which the student has been exposed from an early age or for an extended period. (Related terms are: ‘mother tongue’, ‘native language’, and ‘home language’.)

Language B courses occupy the middle ground between Language A and Language Ab Initio. They are for students with some previous experience of learning the target language. They give the students opportunities to reach a high level of competence in a language and explore the culture (s) using the language.

Ab initio courses are for beginners who have no previous experience of learning the target language.

Professional Development
School Lyceum No. 6 is committed to providing all teachers with on-going professional development so that they acquire and expand their knowledge and skills of best practice when teaching students who are developing proficiency in the chosen languages within mainstream classrooms. The policy is fostered chiefly through professional training and understanding of current language acquisition research. The further development of the practices and procedures relating to the language policy is an ongoing school priority as information is gathered and classroom practices are implemented and evaluated.
School Lyceum No. 6 will support professional development in the practices of language across the curriculum. All staff at School Lyceum No. 6 are language teachers and participate in all the school’s workshops relating to language learning.

Resources

The school library must be reflective of the student population it serves in order to support both the curriculum and the needs of the individuals. School Lyceum No. 6 library aims to have a diverse selection of fiction, non-fiction, and reference books as well as electronic materials. The library of the school should review the resources available to first language, mother tongue, modern foreign languages.

• The majority of the library collection is comprised of materials in English, because English is the language of instruction.
• The library collection provides a range of print and non-print materials in Russian / Azerbaijani.
• Foreign languages taught at Baku School Lyceum No. 6 are also represented within the collection.

Responsibilities

The Head of School will:
• Provide the leadership to support the implementation of the Language Policy;
• Establish a Languages Committee to implement the Language Policy;
• Ensure that resources are made available to implement the Language Policy, including, but not restricted to, the educational budget, recruiting, and professional development.
The Language Coordinator will:
• Develop, promote and ensure implementation of the whole school Language Policy;
• Organize and supervise the work of the Language Committee;
• Actively participate in the development of school policies, programmes, curriculum, school activities and teacher professional development;
• Maintain the documentations, including individual students’ language profiles.
The Languages Committee will:
• Consist of teachers, heads of department or coordinators from across the whole school;
• Establish an action plan to identify short and long-term priorities;
• Ensure that procedures and educational programmes are developed and implemented in accordance with the strategic plan and the mission statement of Miras International School;
• Provide support to teachers, heads of department and coordinators for the implementation of procedures and educational programmes described in the action plan;
• Create and share effective classroom strategies for the development of oral, reading and writing skills in the mainstream classrooms, and any support programmes (second language or mother tongue) needed to implement them;
• Review the action plan annually.
The Heads of Departments will:
• Ensure the Language Policy is fully implemented in the respective departments, including glossary, resources, teacher support material, differentiation strategies for first and second language speakers;
• Encourage collaboration and idea-sharing among teachers in their departments to provide a consistency in their approaches;
• Role model the application of the Language Policy in their subject departments.
The Teachers will:
• Model and encourage the effective use of English language in their classroom;
• Use effective and innovative classroom strategies for the development of oral, reading and writing skills in their classroom;
• Use active and experiential learning strategies appropriate to linguistically diverse students;
• Provide opportunities for students to show their mastery of language in a variety of ways;
• Use appropriate assessment strategies that provide meaningful feedback of language development to cognitively diverse students and their parents;
• Make use of school-developed programmes supporting second-language acquisition and mother tongue development;
• Improve their English Language skills.
The Admission officer will:
• Provide up-to-date information regarding the school’s language programmes, principles and practices of placement and expectations for students and parents at the time of admission;
• Ensure the students’ individual language profiles are completed at the time of admission and stored electronically and in paper in the relevant folders.
The school community will:
• Model the effective use of language;
• Encourage mother tongue and second-language acquisition;
• Acknowledge and celebrate mother tongues.

Bibliography

IB documentation

1. Language and Learning in IB Programmes. International Baccalaureate Organization, 2011, updated August 2014, 41 pages
2. Learning in a Language Other than Mother Tongue in IB Programmes. International Baccalaureate Organization, 2008, 15 pages
3. Guidelines for Developing a School Language Policy. International Baccalaureate Organization, 2008, 5 pages

Other Sources

Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment (CEFR), Council of Europe, Cambridge University Press, 2001.