The English as a Second Language course for Years 7-9 is designed to cater for those students whose first language is not English and who require extra assistance with their English proficiency. In Years 7-9 the ESL classes are timetabled against other foreign language classes. The course aims to provide the necessary foundations for each student to access School’s curriculum and to successfully learn through an English medium.
The ESL course is designed to cover the four main areas of language acquisition, namely, reading, writing, listening and speaking. Activities such as listening and speaking games, pair work discussions, group presentations and comprehension activities are included in the course in order to improve oral communication and listening skills.
The students in Years 7-9 read three novels each year and complete numerous written and research tasks based on the themes and characters found in each book. The department also aims to improve overall reading comprehension through the use of shorter reading texts with carefully designed questions which allow the students to make inferences and draw conclusions about their reading.
Vocabulary and grammar are an important part of the course; grammar is not taught in isolation, rather it is taught in conjunction with the teaching of writing skills. Vocabulary games are used as a means of continually extending the students’ knowledge of English words. Particular emphasis is placed on learning the more formal vocabulary necessary for written work.
ESL students in Years 7-9 study the structure and language functions found in the various writing genres. There is particular focus on teaching students how to successfully complete persuasive, discursive and descriptive writing. To assist with the requirements of other subjects such as Science and Geography, we aim to cover report writing, written procedures and explanations.
The department aims to provide a happy environment where students feel free to practise their English and make mistakes without fear of ridicule. Taking risks and trying out newly learned aspects of the language is always encouraged. The classes are kept to a minimum number and small group work is used in order to quickly improve each student’s confidence. The curriculum is designed to be as inclusive as possible by recognising and valuing students’ cultures and backgrounds.
The aim of the department is to provide assessment that is accurate, varied and criteria- driven. Through this approach, it is hoped that students will quickly become proficient in the language and eventually move out of the ESL programme and into a new foreign language. In the event that a student is assessed as needing more language support, the department runs further courses in IGCSE and IB.
Principals of Assessment
• To determine what students know and
• To measure the acquisition of new skills
• To identify students’ strengths and weaknesses
• To check teaching objectives against learning outcomes
• To monitor standards of students’ work
• To provide structured, relevant feedback to students and parents
• To empower students as participants in their own learning
• To assess if a student is ready to leave ESL