How do we teach English?

All NIS teachers are teachers of language.  The central role of the EAL (English as an Additional Language) team is to support students in the journey of English language acquisition, and to facilitate teaching staff in their leadership of this process in the classroom. We understand that although students as language learners may not be able to express themselves as eloquently as first language speakers, they are just as capable of rich thinking and in-depth learning as any other student.  Although the process of acquiring a second language is neither fast nor easy, we as teachers serve as a support system for children and their families as they complete this emotional journey.

There are two levels of support through our EAL program, either "Support" or "Intensive". Please note that there are no EAL support programs for students enrolled in the Early Learning Center Preschool or Kindergarten. And, due to the nature of the IB Diploma Programme program here at NIS, there is no EAL support for students entering grade 11, and there is only limited support for students entering grades 9 or 10. For the 2016-17 school year, placement in “Intensive” support requires an additional payment of 80,000 yen per quarter.

 

Elementary EAL Program *


Elementary EAL Support

Students in the support program have tested intermediate to proficient levels of the LAS test.   These students can communicate effectively in English but with errors that may or may not interfere with communication.  They need support with control of their spoken and written language and comprehension of academic content.  This service takes place in the mainstream classroom during literacy and/or Unit of Inquiry. 

Possible interventions:

1. Team-Teaching:  The EAL teacher and the classroom teacher deliver lessons together focusing on providing scaffolding and addressing more basic skills. The EAL teacher also provides ideas and materials for differentiating and scaffolding classroom teacher written lessons. In this model, the EAL teacher is the expert on making the content area material accessible to all learners. To carry out this model effectively, common planning time needs to be regular and purposeful.  The roles need to be interchangeable but distinct with the co-teachers sharing instructional responsibility. 

2. Small-Group Instruction:  The EAL teacher pulls a small group during the independent work time to reinforce or re-teach a skill. This can also be a time to teach more basic language skills or grammar points. The small group lesson should align to the classroom teacher’s lesson if possible, but can also be aligned to EAL language objective. This model also requires common planning time. 

3. One-on-One Instruction:  EAL teachers work with students one-on-one to assess reading and writing skills during independent reading time or independent work time.

Elementary EAL Intensive 

This class is designed to support students who fall between the levels of beginner and lower intermediate English language learners.  Students who are placed in this program are either new to English or have basic English skills that need much support in the classroom. 

The Elementary EAL Intensive class meets everyday in the EAL classroom during instructional blocks (literacy or Unit of Inquiry) for up to 50 minutes.  The class size ranges from 2-8 students. The small group provides opportunities for students to practice using the language in a risk-free, comfortable setting.  In addition to the 50 minutes of small group instruction, students receive support during one instructional block in the mainstream classroom.  This instructional time can take place during reading, writing or unit of inquiry. Our key elements of instruction are based on the needs of the individual students.  We focus much of our instruction on Lucy Calkins reading and writing workshop units.  The workshop approach is beneficial for EAL learners.  It allows students to read and write at their own pace while producing rich texts.  In addition to the academic needs of the students, we also incorporate key language instruction targeting vocabulary, sentence structure, phonics and language forms. 

There is an additional fee for this course.  For 2016-2017, students enrolled in the EAL Intensive Program will be charged 80,000 yen per quarter.

* Age eligibility note: The EAL program at NIS begins in Grade 1. We do not offer support or intensive programs for students enrolled in the Early Learning Center Preschool or Kindergarten. EAL staff may begin some testing or observation of Kindergarten students in the second semester prior to transition to Grade 1.

  

Middle School EAL Program 


MS/HS EAL Support

Students in the support program have tested intermediate to proficient levels of English.   These students can communicate effectively in English but with errors that may or may not interfere with communication.  They need support with control of their spoken and written language and comprehension of academic content.

This service takes place in the mainstream classroom during Language Arts lessons.  Students will be allocated to either the Language A or Language B class. The Language B class curriculum is designed for non-native speakers and has a high direct language instruction content.

MS/HS EAL Intensive

The Intensive EAL class in the Middle School focuses on subject-specific vocabulary, reading comprehension skills, and writing skills needed to access the MYP curriculum. Students receive more than sufficient English language input in other subject areas to develop their language skills without the need of a separate class.  With the high amount of content information and subject-specific vocabulary, students in the Intensive EAL program most need support in subject areas rather than English language instruction in isolation from these core subjects. Therefore, from August 2014 the Middle School Intensive EAL Program will be delivered as follows:

  • All students attend Japanese classes, and there is no intensive EAL direct instruction.
  • Students identified as needing intensive EAL support will have a language professional supporting them in their Science, Social Studies, and Language Arts classes for a total of 8 hours each fortnight.  
  • Students supported in this capacity will be provided with additional support materials to help develop the language needed for core subjects and for academic interactions in general. 
  • Focus will be given to the development of academic vocabulary, reading comprehension strategies and skills, as well as the accurate use of writing structures on both the sentence level (grammar) and the essay level (outlining, planning, essay structuring, etc.).  
  • The language professional will work with intensive EAL students in core subject area classes by developing and distributing support materials, supporting students during group work, and by occasionally doing small group work with students either within the core classroom or in another designated space. 

The EAL teacher will communicate regularly with parents, student progress towards language goals will also be shared as part of the normal school reporting system.

There is an additional fee for this support.  For 2016-2017, students enrolled in the EAL Intensive Program will be charged 80,000 yen per quarter. 

 

EAL Staff


  • J. Ovenden (Certified EAL Teacher for grades K-2)
  • E. Jones (Certified EAL Teacher for grades 3-5)
  • D. Vajpeyi (Certified EAL Teacher for grades 6-10)
  • Z. Santosuosso (HS/MS EAL Intern)