Language

What do we want students to learn?

Language is the medium of inquiry. In an inquiry-based PYP classroom, everyone appreciates both the aesthetic and functional uses of language. Language is fundamental to learning and permeates the entire Primary Years Programme (PYP). By learning language as well as learning about and through language, we nurture an appreciation of the richness of language and a love of literature.

The school's scope and sequence identifies the major expectations considered essential in the PYP. These expectations are arranged into three main strands: oral communication, written communication and visual communication.

These communication strands are organized into sub-strands which include listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing and presenting. Each of the sub-strands is addressed separately, although in practice they are interactive and interrelated elements of the programme.

General PYP language outcomes

Students will understand:

  • the reading process
  • the writing process
  • the effective use of language as a valuable life skill
  • the internal structures of languages
  • the complexity of languages
  • that communicative competence comes before emphasis on accuracy.

Students will learn to be aware of:

  • language as our major means of reflection
  • circumstantial effects/changes (style, audience, purpose)
  • the various influences on language (historical, societal, geographical)
  • the importance of literature as a way of understanding one’s self and others
  • differences and similarities in literature (structure, purpose, cultural influence)
  • differences and similarities between language dialects.

Oral communication: listening and speaking
Oral communication encompasses all aspects of listening and speaking, skills that are essential for language development, for learning, and for relating to others.

Listening involves listening to people and to texts for general meaning and also for precise meaning. Students learn how to listen attentively, to understand and evaluate what they hear, to think about both literal and inferred meanings, and to respond appropriately.

Speaking involves the pronunciation, intonation and stress of speech; vocabulary development; communicative competence; the use of grammar; and the speaker’s fluency and accuracy. Oral language is used to communicate, reflect, gather, process and present information. Speakers use oral language to ask and answer questions; relate and retell; persuade; talk about needs, feelings, ideas, opinions; and to contribute to discussions in a range of formal and informal situations.

Written communication: reading and writing
We read for enjoyment, instruction and information, and reading helps us to understand and clarify our ideas, feelings, thoughts and opinions. Literature in particular offers us a means of understanding ourselves and others and has the power to influence and structure thinking.

Students are introduced to a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts, and have opportunities to read for their own interest, pleasure and for information.

Students learn how to understand, interpret and respond to the ideas, attitudes and feelings expressed in various texts; to think critically about what they read; and to be able to make predictions and inferences based on information that is both explicit and implicit in a text.

They also learn to recognize and appreciate the variety of literary styles, forms and structures and to understand that written language varies according to context. No single teaching method or approach is likely to be effective for every reader, and teachers plan instruction carefully. Daily reading practice, using a wide range of texts, occurs within authentic contexts.

Writing helps us make sense of the world. It is a powerful means by which to remember, develop, organize, gain self-knowledge and communicate ideas, feelings and information. Purpose and audience contribute to the form and substance of writing as well as to its style and tone.

Learning to write is a developmental process and students focus at first on meaning rather than accuracy. Grammar, spelling, handwriting, punctuation and paragraphing are taught gradually through writing practice.

The writing process involves creating an environment where students can acquire the skills to achieve written products for a variety of purposes. The written product can be formal, informal, personal or reflective. It can be informative, persuasive, poetic, or in the form of a story or dialogue.

Visual communication: viewing and presenting
Viewing and presenting are fundamental processes that are historically and universally powerful and significant.
Acquiring skills related to advanced technology and media is necessary because of their persuasive influence in society. It is important to learn how media images construct reality by influencing meaning and producing powerful associations that influence the way we think and feel.

Visual images immediately engage viewers allowing them instant access to data. Therefore, opportunities must be provided to explore the function and construction of images in order to critically analyse a wide variety of media. Learning to understand and use different media expands the sources of information and expressive abilities of students.

Mother Tongue Support

Mother Tongue is the language most frequently spoken at home. Students are supported to continue to devlop their Mother Tongue language as it is crucial for maintaining cultural identity and emotional stability. Students who attend mother tongue classes are aslo, where possible supported by the school language program and general program. A Greek School at the Immanuel Campus is available to students who wish to further their cultural and linguistic knowledge in this area.