Language Instruction in the ELC
Our Approach to English Language Instruction in the ELC
English language skills are taught through a holistic and integrated approach. Language concepts are taught throughout the day in a variety of contexts and integrated within a “co-constructive” approach to learning. This approach to learning communicative skills contextually within the broader perspective of the “100 languages” philosophy of Reggio Emilia deemphasizes the more traditional methods of learning languages that follow a specific phonics, “Letter of the Week” or worksheet-based type of program to learn language.
To develop English language skills teachers work with students to co-construct their learning, and utilize “teachable moments” that emerge from an inquiry-based program. Teachers interact with students individually and in small/whole group sessions to teach targeted language skills in context to what is being studied. In this way, vocabulary and language usage is developed in a way that is more developmental, meaningful and relevant to each student.
A student-centered, literacy-rich environment encourages students to explore and interact with materials that support their development of reading, writing and speaking both independently and in small groups.
Mother Tongue/Native Language:
The language of instruction at NIS is English. We recognize, however, that children come to NIS and enroll into the ELC with a variety of cultural backgrounds and first languages, all at different developmental stages. For students whose native language or mother tongue is not English, we believe that the use of a student’s mother tongue within the classroom to support English language instruction helps second language learners develop proficiency in both languages. Consequently, when necessary, teachers in the ELC will use a student’s first language to help them develop a better understanding concepts being learned. This strategy also helps students emotional and social growth by making their first language and cultural identity a valuable part of our community. Students understand however, that teachers expect them to attempt to communicate in English first, and that when they are in a group of students with different mother tongues that the common language at NIS is English.