Under Home Languages: To change this paragraph: At SJI International, we are very proud of our culturally and linguistically diverse community. In order to help our community to maintain ties to their home language and culture, we run a parent-funded Home Language Programme. The Home Languages that we currently offer are Japanese, Korean, French, Vietnamese and German; however, we are not limited to these.
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The importance of maintaining one's Home Language
Living away from the home language and culture means, for many of our expatriate families, that maintaining the language becomes increasingly difficult. The child could feel disconnected from the home culture, may not see the value in learning their home language and feel that English is more important. Research into language acquisition has discovered, however, that having a strong home language is crucial to the development of the child. According to Jim Cummins, a professor at the University of Toronto and an expert in the area of Home Language Acquisition.
Reasons why students should maintain their Home Language
Students who are fully bilingual may have more flexibility in thinking as they are able to process information at a deeper level in more than one language. Students who have a strong first language are better learners of subsequent languages. Instruction in the Home Language helps students not only develop their home language but will help them become better at English.
Schools should cultivate a culture of additive bilingualism (where languages are added to a child) rather than subtractive bilingualism (where languages are subtracted from a child). This leads to the child feeling a sense of acceptance and self-worth and increases self-esteem.
The different types of bilingualism can be illustrated in the following diagrams: (Cummins, J. 1981, Bilingualism and minority language children, Toronto: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education)
This image shows Additive Bilingualism. This child has both a strong home and additional language, which is fully supported by a developed, common underlying proficiency where the ability of abstract thought and deeper cognitive processes are common between two languages.
The goal of this programme
At SJI International we aim to create an environment in which students can experience Additive Bilingualism by maintaining and developing their Home Language in conjunction with developing their English skills.
The Home Language Programme is for:
students whose home language is not currently taught as part of our school curriculum
students who have a strong linguistic or cultural connection to another language, perhaps through family members or spending an extended amount of time in another country; and for
students who are studying a MOE Mother Tongue-in lieu language
The aim of this programme is to enable our students to study their home language to a high proficiency so that they can achieve a bilingual IB Diploma (two Group 1 subjects: home language and English). Students can alternatively study their home language as a foreign language, depending on their language level. As these are two distinct courses with different objectives and curriculum goals, first language and foreign language students are not taught together in the same class.
Students receive two taught lessons per week; in Grades 7-10, they also have one self-study lesson each week where they complete work independently for the following week. Students, if they have been studying Chinese, Tamil, Malay, Indonesian, Hindi or Spanish as part of the normal school curriculum, are withdrawn from that language once they join the Home Language Programme.
The cost will fluctuate depending on how many students are in the class. The number of students in the class may fluctuate throughout your child's career, mainly due to the transitional nature of expatriate families.
Please contact the Head of Home Languages with any further questions/queries you may have about the Home Language Programme.
- Cummins, J. 1981, Bilingualism and minority language children, Toronto: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education)
- Cummins, J, 2000. Language, Power and Pedagogy: Bilingual Children in the Crossfire. Multilingual Matters: United Kingdom