TMS Languages and Speech Policy

Introduction


Students’ language proficiency is a valued component of TMS. We understand that students’ language (linguistic competence) and communication skills serve as a foundation to their cognitive, emotional and social development in school, and also are essential areas for preparing them for future learning and life. Good language skills are the basis for later academic achievement. Furthermore, having good language skills enable students to discuss their needs, experiences, ideas and feelings about their learning.
TMS is committed to supporting multilingualism as a fundamental part of increasing intercultural understanding and global citizenship.
With these principles in mind, TMS has written this language and speech policy to provide a framework that will ensure that the school’s values and aims in relation to access and multilingualism are reflected in every school’s activities.
With this language and speech policy we define the ways in which we provide support to our schools and teachers for the implementation of its foreign languages provision. It defines four levels of support: two for working languages (English and Urdu) and two for foreign languages (Chinese and German).

Aims of this Policy


By instituting this policy, TMS aims to achieve a common understanding of language learning and communication across all levels of the school. In so doing, this policy provides support and focus for planning, teaching, assessing and curriculum development with respect to languages and communication in all areas of the school.

In terms of languages and communication, TMS aims:

  • To develop students’ communication skills that lay the foundation for future language learning
  • To develop linguistic competence in English and Urdu, extend their knowledge of how language works and explore differences and similarities between languages
  • To enhance students’ awareness of the multilingual and multicultural world and introduce an international dimension to students’ learning, giving them an insight into their own culture and those of others
  • To provide a medium for cross-curricular links and for reinforcement of knowledge, skills and understanding developed in other subjects
  • To foster positive attitudes towards foreign language learning
  • To form a sound basis for further study of languages

Overview of Language Courses


English

  • English (in both written and spoken forms) is the medium of instruction throughout TMS
  • All students study English, including those students who require extra English language learning support
  • All students learn language scope and sequence in line with the Cambridge Primary and Secondary English courses, as well as the IB where this is offered, which are all based on recognised standards. These courses aim to develop the skills of reading, writing, listening, speaking, language foundations, and media literacy through engaging students in learning tasks using authentic contexts and assessments
  • Cambridge IGCSE, English as a Second Language is offered
  • A formative assessment of English language proficiency should be used to determine if a student’s use of English is below the expected level for the grade they are in, or entering. Additional support may be offered by the school to support a student to adjust to the school culture and achieve their grade level expectations for English
  • Progress in the acquisition of English should be regularly reported to parents

Urdu

  • Urdu is taught as a separate subject in schools
  • All teachers should ensure that students have access to developing Urdu proficiency in reading and writing
  • It is important that all students are provided with opportunities to develop confidence and competence with speaking and writing Urdu

Foreign Languages

  • Chinese and German are curriculum additions at TMS
  • Students have regular forty minute lessons of Chinese and German each week, in order to ensure progression and skills development. These lessons are taught by specialist German teachers and native Chinese speakers, supplied by an outside agency (CRI)

The curriculum

German and Chinese are the modern foreign languages taught in our school.
The curriculum that is followed ensures that students are taught to know and understand how to:

  • Ask and answer questions
  • Use correct pronunciation and intonation
  • Remember key vocabulary
  • Interpret meaning
  • Understand basic grammar
  • Work in pairs and groups, and communicate effectively in the foreign language
  • Look at life in another culture
  • During foreign language lessons, students are given the opportunity to work as a class, as individuals and as part of a group. The choice of class organisation is determined by the learning task set by the language teacher. By its nature, foreign language learning should involve a great deal of interaction with visual, auditory and kinesthetic prompts provided by the teacher

Method of Foreign Language Teaching


At TMS we believe in a communicative approach in which all students can actively engage in meaningful communication tasks throughout the school day. In lessons, teachers are instructed to give the greatest emphasis to speaking and listening during teaching episodes, with reading and writing being focused where students engage with texts and activities.

Learning will:

  • have clearly stated objectives which are both measurable and achievable
  • be structured around the development of the four domains of language usage (listening, speaking, reading and writing)
  • be planned by teachers and involve whole class work, small group work, pair work and individual work
  • involve students in practical activities, making language learning as active and variedas possible
  • involve the use of ICT where possible and appropriate
  • generate for students a sense of success and build self-esteem in language use

Teaching and Learning Styles

Throughout their studies at TMS, students have developed a solid grounding in the knowledge of English, including grammatical awareness and knowledge of some grammatical terms. The teaching of Chinese and German takes account of this and consolidates and builds on this work where appropriate. Students should be encouraged to increase their knowledge of how foreign language work and to explore differences and similarities between the languages they are learning and English or Urdu.
Students learn in many ways and to accommodate this, a variety of teaching approaches should be used including songs and rhymes, games, pictures, video and audio material, ICT resources etc.
We should also encourage students to share their experiences of other languages and cultures, and find things out for themselves.
Students should work individually, in pairs, small groups and in whole class situations according to the activity designed by the teacher. Work is mainly oral in the lower grade levels, but an increasing number of reading and writing tasks are included as students progress through the grade levels.
On occasion, teachers should consider having students recorded on audio and video to playback for reinforcement and reflection.
TMS language teachers are expected to use multi-modal approaches for teaching (i.e. visual, auditory, reading and kinaesthetic approaches). Teachers should consider using a physical element in their teaching by adding games, rhymes and songs as these serve to reinforce memory.
For developing communicative competence in foreign languages, teachers must make lessons as enjoyable as possible so that students develop a positive attitude to the learning of the foreign languages.

Planning

The curriculums for Chinese and German are designed to ensure continuity, progression and differentiation.

Assessment

In-class assessments are ongoing and continuous and inform future planning by the course teacher. It will follow the guidelines established in the TMS Assessment and Examination Policy.
Teachers should assess students’ progress informally during lessons, evaluating the progress of each student against the following themes, in this sequence of priority:

  • Proficiency with listening and responding
  • Speaking
  • Reading and Responding
  • Writing

Comments on their progress in Chinese and German should be made in reports to parents

Differentiation


At TMS we are aware that students bring to school different experiences, interests and strengths that influence the way in which they learn, and teachers should take this into consideration when planning approaches to teaching and supporting learning of foreign languages which will allow all students to participate fully and effectively. We recognise that all classes have children of differing abilities and therefore teachers should provide suitable opportunities for all students by matching the challenge of the tasks they set to the ability and experience of each student. This means that in every language lesson, the teacher must plan for individual needs, differentiating to allow all students to achieve, build self-esteem and fulfil to TMS aim to give all students the opportunity to experience success in learning and to achieve as high a standard as possible in the foreign language learning.

This is achieved by, for example, by:

  • Setting common tasks which are open-ended and can have a variety of responses
  • Setting tasks of increasing difficulty
  • Grouping learners according to ability in the classroom and setting different tasks for each group
  • Providing resources of different complexities matched to the ability of easy learner
  • Using additional resources to support the work of individuals/ groups
  • Using peer support by partnering students of different abilities to complete tasks

Links with other Areas of the TMS Curriculum


Teachers should consider the opportunities afforded to students when learning another language for the reinforcement of knowledge, skills and understandings in other curriculum areas.

For example, the following opportunities can be considered by teachers, but this list should not be seen as limiting opportunity:

  • English: development of speaking and listening proficiency, as well as knowledge and understanding of contemporary grammar usage and sentence constructions. Also, comparing and contrasting elements of the foreign language with English (e.g. the alphabet, phonemes, rhyming patterns, sound/spelling links, formation of structures (such as singular/plural, gender, negatives, question forms, position of adjectives, imperatives), intonation patterns in speech, language use in poetry, exploration of different text types etc.)
  • ICT: use of materials from the internet and television, video and audio
  • Active Citizenship/ Social Studies: the multilingual global society, knowledge of other countries and cultures
  • Mathematics: counting and methods of calculation, expressions of time and date (calendar work), money
  • Geography: work relating to the study of other countries, such as populations, trade, landforms and weather phenomena in other countries
  • Music: music appreciation, songs and singing, folk tales, composition and structure of lyrics, world music
  • Social Studies: international or multicultural work, celebration of festivals and customs
  • History: work relating to the inter-relatedness of countries through time, family trees of famous people
  • Art: exploring and discussing artwork, descriptions of paintings, design and architecture from different countries

Assessment and Recording


  • Students’ work should be assessed informally on the basis of observation during lessons. This is particularly important for oral work
  • At the end of a piece of work, students should be asked to check each other’s answers, particularly for a listening or reading activity, but the teacher should always mark and comment on the work
  • Very simple comments on students work should be made in the target language of the lesson (i.e. Chinese or German) such as “sehr gut” and longer comments in English
  • Verbal feedback should also given with examples of good practice shared to encourage and motivate students
  • In relation to the four themes, teachers should make regular class assessments which should be used to assess progress against each of the thematic areas. It is left to the discretion of the language teacher to decide the form of these assessments (e.g. vivas, comprehension tests, short essay writing etc.) With the help of these assessments, teachers should set targets for students and be able to summarise the progress of each student before discussing it with parents

Monitoring and Review


Monitoring of the standards of students’ learning and of the quality of teaching is the responsibility of the Foreign Language Coordinator (FLC). The work of the FLC also involves supporting foreign language teachers in the teaching of Chinese and German and providing a strategic lead and direction for foreign languages in schools.