Year 2017 - 2018
Table of contents
I. Mission statement
II. Language Philosophy
III. Admissions policy
IV. Language Development
V. Language Support
ZSA Mission statement
Zhongshan Academy inspires all members of the school community to be life-long learners that embrace future challenges and approach them with resilience and confidence. They love and care about the environment and are concerned about the future of our planet. At ZSA we guide and motivate our students in the development of their interest and deeply rooted love for learning.
Zhongshan Academy provides students with various opportunities to explore wider global issues, and a caring community that encourages students to be conscious and proactive international-minded citizens, while maintaining a strong connection with their local cultures and heritages.
IB mission statement
The International Baccalaureate® aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.
To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment.
These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.
II. Language philosophy
“I believe that in lying out educational goals and processes, we need to acknowledge the common links among students and the kinds of expectations that we may properly hold with respect to their collective accomplishments.”
H. Gardner, Frames of Mind: Theory of multiple intelligences, p.138
The curriculum and implementation of that curriculum at ZSA always revolves around the belief that language is a basic human right which enables us to communicate, interact and thrive inside and outside of the community. Language is a vessel that carries our cultural identity and enables us to approach and embrace new experiences.
Mandarin is the mother tongue of our country China, and this fact dictates the necessity for its mastery in written and spoken form. Students are encouraged to embrace its inherent beauty, and through language development become fully engaged in the culture and societal guidelines of China. Students in ZSA have 50% of Chinese instruction time which follow the Chinese national curriculum. The school offer strong mother tongue language environment support for the students through this curriculum.
Taking into account the realities of the highly globalized modern landscape, we understand that English has the status of lingua franca (common language) in the international community. English allows for meaningful communication between countries and nations, establishing grounds for a multicultural exchange, which it turn increases understanding and trust between different countries and cultures. English is used in the other 50% of instruction time for the reasons stated above. Therefore, in ZSA, we offer bilingual curriculum setting to support both t mother tongue and English development.
The Language Policy is a working document developed by the administration, staff and other community participants from the PYP program. This policy is meant to define and outline the school’s language acquisition objectives and outline strategies designed to help students reach these goals. The language policy has been developed in accordance to the practices of IB official documents:
• The school places importance on language learning, including mother tongue, host
country language and other languages (IB Standard A, Practice 7).
• Teaching and learning addresses the diversity of student language needs, including those for students learning a language(s) other than their mother tongue (IB Standard C3, Practice 7).
• Teaching and learning demonstrates that all teachers are responsible for language
development of students (IB Standard C3, Practice 8).
• Assessment at the school aligns with the requirements of the programme(s). (IB
Standard C4, Practice 1).
• Collaborative planning and reflection recognizes that all teachers are responsible
for language development of students (IB Standard C1, Practice 8).
• The school utilizes the resources and expertise of the community to enhance
learning within the programmes (IB Standard B2, Practice 11).
III. Language requirement for the Admissions policy
The applicants are required to fill in a pre-admission form, which assesses their proficiency in Mandarin, English and if applicable their differing mother tongue. The applicants must also take part in an interview with the admissions specialist teacher, who will assess their basic development and proficiency level in Mandarin and English. The interview includes an oral and short written math and language competency test. The results are then forwarded to the homeroom teacher to give her/him a better understanding of the student.
In the upper primary school (grades 2-6), all of the prospective candidates must participate in an interview with an EAL coordinator or an English teacher who will assess their proficiency in English.
When a student in not proficient enough in Mandarin to be admitted into the given grade, the admission specialist teacher and the Head homeroom teacher can make a decision to enrol the student into the Mandarin support program.
IV. Language Development
The level of proficiency in any given language is measured by the ability to read, write, speak, listen, create and communicate effectively.
At ZSA all of the teachers place a large emphasis on the development of the aforementioned skills. Students are encouraged to read critically, both inside and outside of the classroom. Open reading areas situated on each floor allow students access to a variety of reading materials. Fiction, magazines, poetry, novels and non-fiction books are carefully chosen by the ZSA librarian to engage the student’s natural interest and plant the seed of a life-long love for acquiring knowledge through reading.
The majority of the student inquiry cycle is the presentation and defence of this hypothesis. It can be assessed both in a written and oral form. Students are given numerous and meaningful opportunities to engage qualified educators in these two vital areas, and express themselves both academically and personally. Work samples are reviewed by teachers, peers and other faculty to provide the student with constructive and meaningful feedback. Every student is given an opportunity to choose which samples of written or oral coursework are going to be used to showcase his/her language development.
Students are provided with different opportunities to develop oral language skills across all language disciplines. Formal and informal daily conversations, drama classes, songs and speeches play a crucial role in the differentiation of the learning process. Parents are also encouraged to actively participate in the school community by offering extracurricular classes to students if applicable (for example story telling).
In ZSA, differentiation in language lessons is based on best practice according to the standards and practices of the IB. All teachers respond to students’ needs and may therefore provide individualised instruction guided in some cases by specific learning goals and Individual Learning Plans (ILPs). Teaching strategies may include working in small groups, using different resources with different levels of language complexity, as well as changing the level of questioning and tasks for individual students. Students may also have choices so they can follow their own interests or use a preferred learning style.
V. Language Support
Even though almost all of the students at Zhongshan Academy are Mandarin speakers, there are developing to be bilingual learners in different subject areas. In the Primary School and kindergarten the language of instruction (English) is integrated into the units of inquiry or organised into stand-alone language sessions. Therefore, all teachers are encouraged to be not only subject teachers but also language teachers, and should set the example for students. The school aims to provide students with opportunities to put their knowledge into practice. Students are encouraged to use English in the classroom (for example by implementing English as classroom language) and in the same time brace the Chinese culture. Students are also encouraged to share their language and cultural experiences during learning activities. This supports the student’s cultural identity and helps to build a global philosophy among the learning community.
Bilingual students are given an opportunity to experience and develop their mother-tongue through many channels. The school’s library and media centre houses resources that support development of language acquisition. In addition, teachers and parents have the opportunity to take part in workshops organized by the school centred on language learning and multilingualism.
EAL (English as an Additional Language) Support
EAL program in ZSA is provided to help students whose first language is not English. This is to enable them to be successful in the academic programme of the grade level classroom where half of the language of instruction is English. EAL teachers (Teaching assistant in the classroom who has strong professional language instruction background) work with classroom teachers to help children develop English language skills, and learning strategies. EAL teachers also promote cultural awareness and help students integrate in the social life of the school. EAL support is targeted at individual needs, so activities to promote language learning can vary greatly. The following activities are provided at different grade levels’ EAL program:
Grades Preschool to Grade 2
Teaching survival language
Reading stories and looking at picture books
Playing games and singing songs
Working on letter sounds and sight words
Working with reading groups
Grades 3 to 6
Teaching survival language
Supporting classroom reading and writing
Playing games to develop listening and speaking
Working with novel groups
Mother tongue support
The ZSA encourages all students to develop their international-mindedness by embracing the local culture and mother tongue. Therefore, the school creates a vigorous environment where students use their mother tongue with pride, and use the host language to engage with the world. To do so, the school has combined the Chinese National Curriculum with the IB PYP scope and sequence to provide students with ample opportunities to integrate their mother tongue and local culture into the IB framework. In every classroom, there is a foreign homeroom teacher and a Chinese homeroom teacher, both responsible for the inquiry teaching. The Chinese teacher is responsible for creating the mother tongue environment and setting to support students’ language development. Therefore, students have various opportunities to explore their mother tongue, local traditions as well as culture through inquiry-based learning. The school offers various reading resources, sets up mother tongue environments as well as holds different celebrations of the Chinese traditions or festivals.
Reading resources support:
Early years to Grade 2: The library provides students with Chinese traditional poems, nursery rhymes (Qian zi wen), songs and stories;
Grade 3 to Grade 6: Fiction and non-fiction Chinese stories, books and magazines, and other Chinese resources.
All classrooms have mother tongue area, reading corners, and role play areas to support students’ mother tongue development. Teachers and students are encouraged to use mother tongue in these areas. Teachers and parents are language teachers and they are involved in the students’ mother tongue development. In the early years, the school set up play area where teachers use games, videos, songs, story-telling and role play to help students develop love for their mother tongue and local culture. The school offers various optional courses that support mother tongue development like Chinese culture, Chinese painting as well as Calligraphy.
VII. Assessment of Language
Assessment is integral to teaching and learning at ZSA. Using a range of tools and strategies, teachers are able to determine students’ knowledge, skills, understanding and attitudes towards language. The success of a student’s language development relies heavily on well-structured curriculum documents, which provide the teachers with scaffolding and reference. Students at ZSA are regularly assessed using the expectations from the School’s language scope and sequence. Achievement of different learning outcomes will be recorded and passed on throughout their schooling at ZSA to facilitate each student’s learning. At the beginning of tasks, criteria is shared or created by the students so that learning goals are clear.
Teachers use pre-assessment to determine what students already know, can do and understand. Formative assessment is used to check in and to give constructive feedback or praise on learning. Summative assessments are used to gather evidence about student’s learning at the end of a unit. Various forms of both formative and summative assessment may be used. Along with teacher assessment, students are often asked to peer or self-assess as well.
Assessments are reported to parents in different ways. Students receive written report cards about their language learning. Parents are also invited to attend parent-teacher, three-way and student-led conferences.
The PYP Committee and Pedagogical Leadership Team accept the responsibility for ensuring the language policy is put into practice. The administration and faculty in ZSA have reviewed the PYP language learning continuums and adjusted it to local regulations. In accordance with the school curriculum development standards, the learning continuums are regularly reviewed at the end of each academic year.
Howard Gardner Frames of Mind: Theory of multiple intelligences, Basic Books, 2011
Primary Years Programme: Guidelines for developing a school language policy.
International Baccalaureate Organization, January 2006.
Making the PYP Happen, International Baccalaureate Organization, 2009