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ESL turns into EAL 

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EAL NLWelcome back to a new and exciting school year at the FIS! A big welcome also to all our new FIS families!

Some exciting news: we are changing the name of our ESL Department and programme from ESL (English as a Second Language) to EAL (English as an Additional Language). There won’t be any changes to the kind of EAL support we offer, it’s only the name that is changing. The new name more accurately reflects our student population, many of whom are multilingual and speak English as their third or fourth language.

Although we are now the EAL Department from the beginning of this school year, it will take a little time for all the necessary re-labeling to be done, so please bear with us.

If you have any questions about the name change or any questions about supporting your child in their English language acquisition, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with me via  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or any of the EAL teachers. We will be at all of the Parent Info Nights at the beginning of the year, so we look forward to seeing you there.

Enjoy the beginning of the school year.

Jessica Davey
Head of Department English as an Additional Language

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Student Placement at The-FIS

It is essential to know which of the non-native students are ESL students and what level of ESL they are in. At the FIS, we use the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA), English Language Proficiency Standards to determine the student's ESL level. Follow link here to find out more about the Can Do Descriptors. The Can Do Descriptors for different sections of the school are listed below:

The language of instruction at the FIS is English. Families whose mother tongue is not English are expected to be committed to their child's learning of English. From Grade 1, the FIS has an EAL (English as an Additional Language) Program which provides both pull-out support in small groups and push-in support in mainstream lessons to students in selected classes until they are ready to be part of mainstream lessons across the curriculum. Students in the EAL Program are streamed to provide the best possible environment for them to get their English language skills up to speed to enable them to take all of their classes with their grade peers and equip them for academic success.

Children may learn languages very quickly, especially if they are surrounded by the target language, so picking up another language is not usually a problem for the younger child. The rate at which children learn varies according to their natural talent, application, motivation, language background, previous language learning experiences made, their attitude towards the new environment and learning a new language and in a new language, as well as the level of support they receive. Children develop their language skills at different rates, which we take into consideration. We strive to support every child in their individual learning at all grade levels.

Our EAL Program is levelled and provides instruction for beginners, intermediate and advanced students. Language teaching is linked to other areas of the curriculum through theme-based topics and/or content work from the mainstream classroom. We consider it important that the language objectives are taught through the content, i.e. mainstream topics from Science, Social Studies or Maths, so that EAL students have about the same background knowledge, skills, strategies and concepts as their peers in the mainstream classroom.banner home

A supportive environment is provided in both EAL and mainstream classes to encourage students to take risks in their language learning and to increase their self-confidence. Language is taught and practised within natural contexts and meaningful situations, in which the students feel accepted, happy and comfortable while feeling challenged at the same time. Misunderstandings and mistakes are accepted as essential in the learning process and the EAL teachers make their students aware of this fact. We use a variety of methods and materials to meet the different language learning styles of our students, including visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learners. These include art projects, communicative activities, drama and movement, songs and rhymes, field trips, computer programs, Internet websites, books and magazines, as well as board games, maps, pictures and puppets. Certainly we also include Literature and written work in our lessons.

Research shows that students who continue building language skills in their native language can transfer their knowledge into a new language. Therefore, we are committed to supporting parents in working with their children at home and to assisting all EAL students in their language learning wherever needed.

Further information about the program, the process of language acquisition and how to help your children in their learning at home can be found in our EAL Parent Information Handbook (PDF). We welcome your attendance at the EAL Parent Information Meeting that will be held each autumn.

At High School level our EAL students can take the IGCSE ESL exam at the end of Grade 10. The two year course starts in Grade 9. For further information see the IGCSE ESL.

In Grades 11-12 students have the option to take IB Language B. This programe is an additional language-learning course designed for students with some previous learning of that language. It may be studied at either SL or HL. The main focus of the course is on language acquisition and development of language skills.