[lg policy] Mount Mourne IB Candidate School: Language Policy

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Sun Feb 7 18:09:08 UTC 2010

Mount Mourne IB Candidate School: Language Policy

Because we are in international school, Mount Mourne welcomes
international students.  We recognize language as a vehicle for and
representative of ideas and values. Language not only expresses ideas
but also helps formulate them. In recognition of the link between
culture and language, all teachers allow students to gather
information in their mother tongue for use in class activities and on
assessments. In class, teachers welcome and reference the use of
languages other than English.  They also encourage students to compare
analogous informational texts to see how language differences can
reflect differing cultural perspectives or can reveal the concerns and
beliefs of humanity.  We seek to provide opportunities for students to
use and learn in their mother tongue.

We aim to support the variety of languages that our students not only
read and write but also those they understand and to which they are
exposed through travel or familial relationships.  Therefore, we are
developing a survey which will divulge all the languages used in our
students’ respective lives, so we can support the needs of each
learner.  The results of the survey will drive the development of
school-wide programs to reflect and support the languages connected
with our student body.   For example, assemblies will highlight these
cultures and their representative languages.  Our media specialist is
building an international collection to support the use and
development of both of our Languages B (French and Spanish) and of
other languages spoken by our students.  Our fiction section contains
stories, as well as primers, translated from English into Spanish and
French.  A portion of the fiction collection includes
International/World authors, so students may study other cultures
through their literature. The Nonfiction section Includes books on as
many countries as possible including data on culture, languages, and

We are developing a school culture that validates the use of multiple
languages and dialects.  Language not only transmits knowledge,
values, concepts, and perspectives, but it also embodies them.
Furthermore, not all ideas have words to express them in Language A.
Because of the link between language and culture, we must speak other
languages to understand other cultures, and we must understand other
cultures in order to communicate with the people in them.

Every Friday at Mount Mourne IB Candidate School, conversations on
international issues occur in every classroom. Our principal and
teachers cull newspaper articles, web links, photographs, surveys and
polls to stimulate discussion and cultural awareness.  Our Friday
Conversations will include issues reflecting the cultures represented
by the languages in our school and may include words from other
languages which describe values and concepts outside of the Language A
lexicon.  Though these conversations originate in the mother tongue,
the conversations frequently prompt student inquiry of the languages
spoken in other cultures.

In support of both Languages B, the entire school will celebrate
Carnaval/Mardi Gras in both Spanish and French.  Teachers of all
subjects will incorporate terminology from one Language B into their
lesson for the day, students will wear masks made in Art class,
announcements reflect the festivities and make cultural references,
cafeteria menus will be translated into both languages, displays and
events will reflect both the cultures of Spain and New Orleans.

On a daily basis, students and staff use multiple languages.  Signs
throughout our building are written in Spanish, French, and English.
Teachers and students greet one another in Spanish and French, as well
as English.  In each subject area, teachers seek out and include
international scenarios and examples in everyday classroom activities.
 Students view and analyze documentaries about regional cultures and
concerns as well as common global concerns such as education and
women’s rights.  Some of these documentaries are multilingual.

Administrators have scheduled training for teachers in international
education. Teachers have already and will continue to receive training
on available resources and appropriate methodology.  Some programs
involve the entire staff. Some teachers will be sent individually to
off-site training programs and return as in house resources for the
rest of the faculty.

We recognize the need to communicate with parents in a language they
can clearly understand. Currenty, all parents in our school community
communicate effectively in Language A, so we have no immediate need
for materials in translation.  However, should that situation change,
we will have parent and community materials translated into whatever
languages parents need.


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