Language Acquisition Department Philosophy
The Language Acquisition Department believes that competency in a foreign language is a valuable life skill, a powerful tool both in societal communication and as a means of personal reflection. Learning foreign language and literature is a creative process that encourages the development of imagination and creativity through self-expression.
The Language Acquisition Department shares IB aims and objectives which promote confidence in language knowledge and skills for real-world purposes as well as academic ones.
Our teaching methodologies, classroom activities and technology use a communicative competence approach to language learning. The main aim of the World Language program is communication; however, grammar and vocabulary are dealt with in detail. Students need to be empowered to comprehend language through listening and reading, and to express themselves with increasing confidence through speaking and writing. They become acquainted with Russians culture, customs and people through poems, songs, proverbs, fairy tales, and cartoons. Students are encouraged to communicate whenever possible in Russian (in class, on the soccer field, while shopping).
Programme of Study for Russian and French
Middle Years Program for grades 6-10
In grades 6-10, the World Language Department divides students into 3 levels: Foundation, Standard and Advanced, depending on their level of language fluency.
Foundation Level – This level is for students who have had little or no prior formal instruction. The purpose of the Foundation Level is the acquisition of language required for purposes and situations usual in everyday communication. This course purposes to develop basic vocabulary and grammar, pronunciation and intonation. Through oral interaction, students learn to communicate information (understanding and responding to questions and statements, presenting their ideas and maintaining a coherent conversation). Writing helps students provide some information and ideas and develop handwriting. Reading simple texts gives students opportunity to identify factual information and get to know the culture using the language.
Standard Level – This level is for students who have studied a world language for two or three years and have a basic level of competence in the language B. Communicating information, ideas and opinions in both spoken and written contexts, students should correctly use a range of vocabulary and grammatical structures. The main focus of reading assignments is to identify both stated and implied information, main ideas and supporting details. Texts usually are used as a means of exploring aspects of the culture related to the language.
Advanced Level – This level is for students who demonstrate a high level of competence in the language B, but will not yet be ready to undertake the language as language A. In addition to studying the language at a more complex level, they also will study literature. At the end of the course in oral and written communication, students should be able respond and react in a sophisticated manner to questions and ideas (spontaneous situations), correctly use idiom and a range of vocabulary, grammatical structures and syntax. In reading comprehension, students will be able to identify implied information, draw conclusions, and recognize implied opinions and attitudes. They also examine how the cultural context of a text influences language use. Literature is a means by which individuals express their ideas and feelings. The study of literature at the Advanced Level includes an analysis of language, forms and content in literary works.
Diploma Program for grades 11-12
IB A1 Russian, Korean, and German Higher & Standard Levels
A1 is primarily a pre-university course in literature. The study of World Literature is important because of its global perspective.
The focus in the first year of the IB DP is on critical thinking and literary analysis. As well, the course stresses the importance of creativity and personal response to the study of literature. The first semester is devoted to Part 1 of the IB syllabus (World Literature) and students will have solid, respectable drafts of their comparative World Literature paper (as well as Paper 2 if they are taking Higher Level) by the end of their Grade 11 year. In the second semester, students study four novels, culminating in the individual oral presentation.
In the second year of the IB Diploma, students taking A1 intensify their study of literature. Literary analysis, with an emphasis on the commentary – both oral and written, and genre study are the foci this year.
Language B Higher & Standard Levels
Language B courses give students the opportunity to reach a high degree of competence in a language and explore the culture(s) using the language.
At both Higher Level and Standard Level, a successful language B student should not only learn and assimilate basic language structures but should also be able to use the language in a range of situations and purposes for which and in which the language is used. These situations extend to the domains of work, social relationships and, at Higher Level, may include the discussion of abstract ideas. The range of texts and materials used, and the specific audiences addressed, determine the type of language needed for these different situations and purposes. In short, the Language B student learns the “rules of the game”—how to communicate effectively in a number of situations and within the culture(s) where the language is spoken.
Russian ab initio Standard Level
The main focus of the ab initio, SL course is the acquisition of language required for purposes and situations usual in everyday social interaction (communication through the use of language). This course purposes to develop a variety of linguistic skills, and a basic awareness of the culture using the language.
The language ab initio course is divided into seven topics and is designed around three main areas: Language (listening, speaking, reading, writing, grammatical structures, vocabulary), Texts, and Cultural Awareness (exploring aspects of the culture related to the language studies).
At the end of the ab initio course, students will be able communicate information and basic ideas clearly and effectively, understand and use accurately the essential spoken and written forms of Russian and French, and use a limited range of vocabulary in common usage. Students are encouraged to use Russian and French in class and outside the school.