Languages at HIS
The students’ linguistic skills and capacities are developed bilingually in Arabic and English, and they are the primary working languages in the school. French is a secondary language which is initially taught in the early years.
HIS considers language as both a goal and a process. We believe that learning and teaching a language involves:
• Learning it as a communicative tool with others.
• Learning it to develop a deeper understanding of how language works.
• And learning a language so that it can be used as a means to express feelings, think, and reflect. Consequently, the proper use of languages and their rules is highly emphasized. (IBO, 2009)
Accordingly, HIS main linguistic goals are as follows:
• During the first years, the focus is on listening to the child. During this period, the students are allowed to express their ideas and feelings using their own written and oral language. The children are not introduced to or forced to follow any language rules that might limit the way they think or might suppress their creative communication with the world.
• In the lower elementary classes, students discover a few of the linguistic rules. Further language skills and rules will be formally introduced and acquired as time goes by.
• In the upper elementary classes, students use language to learn about language, and also learn through language with more confidence and proper use of the rules.
• In middle years and secondary classes, the students are equipped with linguistic, analytical, communicative, creative and critical thinking skills that help to develop interdisciplinary understanding. The skills are embedded mainly within six domains—listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing and presenting—both independently and with others. Students are allowed to use language as a vehicle for thought, creativity, reflection, learning, self-expression, analysis and social interactions. They are also provided various opportunities to apply linguistic and literary concepts and skills in a variety of authentic contexts. Nonetheless, students explore language through a variety of media and modes.
Co-teaching is the methodology used in HIS. At least one Arabic homeroom teacher and one English homeroom teacher co-teach, and the students are able to inquire into transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary concepts. Separate language sessions are equally divided over the week to boost language practice and help develop linguistic skills.