[lg policy] Azerbaijan: TISA Language Policy (Whole School)

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Fri Sep 9 14:12:28 UTC 2011

TISA Language Policy (Whole School)

Whole-School Language Policy


This document describes our perspective on language, important
principles when learning a language and how these principles influence
our teaching of language. It provides the school with a framework that
will promote consistency in approach between grades and between
subjects It provides parents with information about our principles and
our practices and assists them in understanding our curriculum It will
assist teachers in the planning, presenting and evaluation stages of
teaching. It will be a tool for teachers to reflect on their language
practice and guide professional development and appraisal.
The points in this policy describe what we value and what we want to
work towards. Our practices may not reflect all the points described
in this policy but we aim to put our principles into practice.

Perspective (Philosophy)

Language transcends all subject areas and therefore all teachers at
TISA are considered language teachers. Language is used as a tool to
communicate needs, feelings, ideas and experiences and to develop an
understanding of the world and to construct meaning. It is essential
for the development of social, emotional and cognitive skills.
Language is used differently in different contexts and for different
audiences and changes over time. It has certain conventions that need
to be adhered to but it also allows individuals to express themselves
creatively. Everyone expresses themselves in a unique way.

Language development is concerned with acquiring and applying a set of
skills and attitudes as well as an understanding of the use of
language. Language consists of six skills or strands (listening,
speaking, reading, writing, viewing and presenting), which operate
interactively. Each of these strands involves different cognitive
processes. Language skills can be further developed by challenging
people’s level of understanding and providing good models of effective
communication. There are different developmental stages as well as
learning styles in learning a language. Individual students will
progress through the different stages at their own pace. Developing
confidence as a communicator is critical in everyone’s language


Good language skills are required for:
o constructing meaning, reflecting and making sense of the world,
individually or with others
o acquiring and sharing information, knowledge and skills for
practical reasons, personal interest, pleasure, persuasion and
scientific development
o creative expression
o understanding the role of non-verbal communication such as body language
TISA Language Policy (Whole School)
In line with the IB Learner Profile, we aim for students to develop
knowledge, skills and attitudes that will enable them to be:
Inquirers: They use language to formulate questions, to acquire
information and to make sense of the world around them.
Thinkers: They are able to express their thoughts and ideas clearly.
They are aware of the reasons why they use language and how it affects
Communicators: They are competent users of language in a variety of
situations. They listen attentively and pay attention to detail. They
speak confidently and clearly. They read fluently with good
comprehension. They write clearly, concisely and accurately in a style
appropriate for the purpose.
Risk takers: They are willing to attempt to read, write or speak in
situations where they may not feel totally confident.
Knowledgeable: They have acquired the vocabulary and understanding to
discuss language structures, text forms, literary styles and genres.
They have an awareness of different artistic and literary heritages
and understand the reasons for reading.
Principled: They are aware of the power of language and the profound
effect it can have on others. They realise that language must be used
Caring: They show care in their use of language and are aware of how
the use of language can affect others.
Open minded: They respect differences and similarities between
languages, cultures, dialects and personal communication styles. They
approach texts critically with an awareness of bias.
Well-balanced: They express themselves orally and in writing and find
a balance between listening and speaking when communicating with
others. They read a variety of written material and are able to write
for different purposes and audiences.
Reflective: They reflect on their language development and consciously
work at improving their language proficiency.

Principles and Practices of teaching language

We believe that students become good communicators when:
1. Students are engaged in a wide variety of activities in which they
are actively involved in listening, speaking, reading, writing,
viewing and presenting (The six skills)
In practice this means that we: offer a wide variety of teaching and
assessment tasks in which students actively generate meaningful
language rather, than producing isolated language structures. Students
are actively involved selecting their own reading materials for
pleasure and research purposes. Encourage our students to become

2. The language curriculum is embedded in the whole school curriculum
and language activities are meaningful and relevant
TISA Language Policy (Whole School)
In practice this means that:
o our teaching takes place within the context of the Units of Inquiry
in the primary school, the subject objectives and unit planning
process within the MYP (including Inter Disciplinary Units), and the
subject aims and objectives in the IBDP.
o the teaching of elements of language such as text structure,
grammar, spelling and vocabulary are taught as much as possible in the
context of the different programs..
o the displays in the class reflect that we use language to pursue our

3. The learning environment
a. is positive, comfortable and supportive and encourages verbal expression
In practice this means that we want to develop the student’s
confidence by: giving positive feedback working in small groups where
language is used for real purposes as well as to practice skills
offering ample opportunity for oral reading, oral presentation, role
play and songs offering ample opportunity for debates, discussions and
voicing different viewpoints
b. contains a variety of resources and is text and print-rich

In practice this means that: we work towards a well stocked school
library which will support the aims of this policy we support
classroom libraries we use technology in language learning we use a
wide range of teaching resources student produced materials, such as
books and projects are displayed and labeled. Both handwriting and
computer print will be displayed in the class. students communicate
using a variety of formats and technologies

4. Students are involved in assessing themselves and receive continuous feedback
In practice this means that: we use portfolios, rubrics, self
reflection, peer assessment, performances, orals and mini conferences
to encourage self assessment we use the writing process, including
drafting, editing and sharing work with others as a means to reflect
and improve upon our writing skills in summative assessments, students
are encouraged to use rubrics and assessment criteria to appraise and
analyse their work

5. Students and teachers reflect on language as a system with patterns
and structures and as a tool for communication in different situations

In practice this means that we: give the opportunity to study
different text forms and look at how they address audience, purpose
and context reflect on the patterns and structures of language at text
level, sentence level and word level in context discover rules that
govern patterns when studying different text forms reflect on what is
the most appropriate form of communication for the purpose appreciate
the role of society, politics, science and technology on literature
and other creative forms of expression
6. The six different language strands are taught in an integrated fashion
In practice this means that we: use writing and oral language
activities as a follow up to reading activities or vice versa use
exercises to enhance skills in listening for a variety of purposes
consider aspects of communication using visual media offer
opportunities for developing presentation skills integrate the
language strands throughout the curriculum

7. Differences in developmental stage and learning styles are
acknowledged and suitably catered for
In practice this means that where possible: we present open- ended
tasks that allow the students to perform at different levels we
differentiate in the tasks we set, which includes specific goals for
individual students we differentiate in the support we provide and the
type and amount of feedback we give use different grouping strategies
to suit different abilities and learning styles when students have
specific learning difficulties, strategies may be used to accommodate
these differences without modifying content we provide the necessary

8. The teacher models effective communication strategies
In practice this means that we: model different reading and writing
strategies demonstrate how to speak and listen effectively in various
situations model positive and effective non verbal communication model
the appropriate use of technology as a tool to improve communication

TISA Language Policy (Whole School)

9. The school promotes international-mindedness
a) Acquisition of a modern foreign language promotes internationalism
In practice this means that we work towards: encouraging our students
to become multilingual so that they are able to make positive
contributions to the global community offering a variety of modern
foreign languages such as French, Russian and Spanish from P5 onwards
offering a variety of levels for each year group in the senior school
exposing students to the culture of the countries where the target
language is spoken displaying student work that reflects the languages
taught in our school providing modern foreign language resources in
the library and classrooms reading and making connections between
languages using international celebrations to recognise and learn
about different languages and cultures
See the Language B Handbook for further information on the placement
procedures and language choices.

b) The language and culture of Azerbaijan is valued
In practice this means that we: consider Azerbaijani culture when
planning units of work utilize members of the Azerbaijani community to
promote the local language and culture in the school offer after
school activities which promote the language and culture of Azerbaijan
encourage the interaction of specialists from the local community to
enhance collegiality and genuine understanding of language and culture
support teachers in their appreciation of Azerbaijani language and
culture translate school newsletters and other documents into
Azerbaijani where possible provide a translator at parent meetings
c) Support is offered to students for whom English is not their mother tongue

In practice this means that: we offer an ELS program which caters to
different levels of English language proficiency we equip incoming
students with social and academic language to help them integrate into
the school as quickly as possible
TISA Language Policy (Whole School)

ELS specialists work closely with mainstream teachers to ensure that
ELS students are included in the mainstream classroom as much as
possible we build on students’ linguistic and cultural identities,
backgrounds and intercultural awareness
See the ELS Handbook for further information on the placement
procedures, the pull-out and the in-class support program, and the
exiting of students. The English Language B program is delivered to
students in M4 and M5 (MYP), IB1 and IB2 (IBDP).
d) Mother tongue development and maintenance is appreciated and
supported because a strong mother tongue is the base on which
subsequent languages develop

In practice this means that we: offer academic support for the
students’ mother tongue whenever possible build self esteem by
addressing emotional and academic needs, and cultural identity
encourage and support the organisation of afternoon classes in mother
tongue encourage native Russian speakers to take Russian as a Language
A or Mother Tongue language acquire resources in the mother tongues
spoken show respect and interest towards mother tongue encourage
parents to keep using mother tongue at home use International Mother
Languages Day to celebrate the different mother languages spoken by
our students and promote intercultural awareness build a library
collection in mother tongue languages

10. The school demonstrates commitment and support for the language programme
In practice this means that we: allow sufficient time for
collaborative planning and reflection of the program acknowledge that
English is the main working language of the school while recognising
the importance of mother tongue and second language.


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