The ISA Tianhe English as an Additional Language department strives to nourish its growth mindset by viewing all challenges as opportunities for positive change and development. Based on the IB framework and UK curriculum standard, EAL teachers focus on supporting English language learning with classroom-based instruction primarily focused on core literacy skills such as comprehension, writing, grammar, punctuation, spelling and vocabulary. EAL teachers also assist students in their homeroom classes with regular ‘push ins’ through small group support classes.
For all EAL students, an understanding of the connections between language, reality and the world are emphasized. As language barriers can often become a barrier to learning in other areas, rather than the EAL program focusing on learning foreign to English translations, we strive to teach English in the context of a variety of disciplines, to enhance students’ ability to have greater command and use of the language.
Our Chinese language program, which deeply integrates the Chinese National Curriculum and the International Baccalaureate Continuum, focuses on helping students to achieve high proficiency in both Chinese and English and gain deeper understandings of both cultures, empowering them to speak bilingually and fluently.
The mission of our Chinese education is to comprehensively enhance our students’ Chinese proficiency and establish a solid foundation for their Chinese learning. ISA creates a multicultural learning environment, allowing students to learn from and take root in the profound Chinese culture through studying of the language. Our Chinese program, in integration with the Chinese National Curriculum, has formed a high-quality and coherent curriculum framework – the “Great Chinese” structure. We have developed our school-based textbooks – the Recitation Chapter and Reading Chapter and will continue to develop the Reading and Writing Chapter to provide our students with a rich variety of learning resources. We encourage extensive amount of reading both inside and outside of the classroom. We believe that reading helps students to quickly immerse themselves in traditional culture, form a sense of identity and belonging to the nation, so as achieve intercultural understanding, appreciation and respect.
Innovative Learning Approach
The ultimate goal of our Chinese program is to nurture students’ development. Our teaching and learning approach not only inherits the essence of traditional Chinese culture, but it also integrates the inquiry-driven learning method in IB education. Our students experience the diverse Chinese culture throughout the learning process and benefit from the best of IB and Chinese education.
The key focus of our teaching is to cultivate good learning methods and help students achieve conceptual understanding of the Chinese language. Through a variety of learning experiences, the students form conceptual understandings by constantly reflecting on their learning methods and analysing the knowledge they have learned.
Inquiry-based learning is a unique feature of the IB Continuum. Knowledge taught in the traditional way is not systematic and therefore makes it difficult for learners to form conceptual understandings. Our Chinese program retains the essence of traditional ways of teaching. It also accommodates different versions of textbooks and rearranges the textbooks in a way that it combines, compares and analyses content with common concepts. This helps students to form better conceptual understandings that are transformed into deeper understanding of knowledge. Students continuously reflect on their learning methods throughout the learning process, which gives them the opportunity to develop into learners with lifelong learning abilities.
We structured a “child-oriented” pedagogical model following the growth pattern of children. The model practices three core values: focus on child development, broaden aspects of the class and use high-quality textbooks. We have also set three objectives – excellent handwriting, excellent eloquence and skilful writing. We have now formed a relatively mature pedagogical model in class: classics recital – study of new materials – extracurricular reading – inquiry exhibition – evaluation and assessment – self-reflection. Our Chinese program is supported by local teaching resources and methods, emphasises cocurricular extension, and promotes reading and integration of “reciting, reading and writing”.
Our Chinese elective courses have blended more elements of traditional Chinese culture. We have also designed inquiry-based units and outdoor activities to provide students with opportunities to continuously explore, practise and outperform, truly achieving the objectives of international education.
By exposing our students to the traditional Chinese culture, we hope to enrich personal growth and facilitate understanding of the world and life. We offer classes on Guo Xue during club hours to let out students experience traditional cultural activities such as recitation, tea ceremony, incense ceremony, Guqin, calligraphy and traditional painting. The goal is to enable our students to learn and grow progressively not only in language, but also in terms of culture, mindsets and global awareness.
Strengthen the Fundamentals and Focus on Development
Our Chinese classes are differentiated and stratified based on different levels to facilitate student discover of their potential. We value feedback not only because feedback assists teachers to reflect on their teaching, but more importantly, it allows students to better understand their learning progress and therefore form a more comprehensive and positive self-awareness. On the other hand, diverse and objective feedback also enables teachers to better understand students’ learning progress as well as help students to make timely adjustments in accordance with their strengths and shortcomings. To strengthen communication between parents and the school, each class has created chat groups and communication books to ensure that parents can receive timely feedback on their children’s learning progress.
In ISA Tianhe, we offer Mother Tongue languages offered include Korean, Italian, Spanish, German, helping international students from other countries to advance their first language.
All language is unique with abundant cultures and traditions. ISA Tianhe's Chinese and Mother Tongue Programme aims to help international students from other countries continue to develop their mother tongue. The programme enables students to grow into emotionally secure individuals, feeling connected to their family’s culture, aware of a variety of other cultures and developing a strong sense of their identity.