Language

Language Policy
2016-17

This document is a guide for principles, policies, and procedures related to language learning. It is a work in progress. Please study the document carefully and apply the policies thoughtfully. These policies and procedures will be reviewed each year by the leadership team with input and feedback from all staff. (This version was updated on 18 August 2016)

  1. “Language is integral to exploring and sustaining personal development, cultural identity and intercultural understanding. As well as being the major medium of social communication, it is tightly linked to cognitive growth because it is the process by which meaning and knowledge is negotiated and constructed. It is the main tool for building our knowledge of the universe and our place in it. Language then, is central to learning, as well as to literacy, and is thus closely related to success in school.” (from Learning in a language other than mother tongue in IB programmes (2008) IBO)

  2. Children are naturally multi-lingual; they can effectively learn and use more than one language. Thus our aim is to develop the child’s mother tongue, language of instruction, and the regional language. The aim is additive bilingualism in which additional languages do not replace or demote the mother tongue.

  3. Children learn language through a natural process of association; thus it is “caught” from the environment. Children will naturally pick up language with minimal conscious effort when they are presented with engaging (i.e. that which encourages inquiry), rich environments.

  4. Language learning is strengthened and developed when it is reinforced in a variety of contexts, subjects, and situations. Thus all teachers are language teachers.

  5. The scope of language learning is to be proficient in all skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The student should be able to apply these skills independently and creatively, in a variety of contexts. The scope of language study is not to simply be able to read, write, or translate a given text.

  6. The school also acknowledges that comprehending language (through listening, reading and viewing) and expressing thoughts (through speaking, writing, and presenting) go hand in hand. The three strands of communication: oral, written and visual are interwoven and interrelated. They are not taught in isolation.
  1. Method: the school language profile is the result of data collected during the admissions process, during Parents’ Committee meetings, and through anecdotal feedback from parent-teacher meetings.

  2. Language background of students: almost all (i.e. 95%) students of the school have Urdu as their mother tongue. Those who have joined our school from other schools are more likely to have studied Hindi and some even indicate Hindi as their mother tongue. Only 1-2% of students speak Telugu or another language (e.g. Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil) as mother tongue.

  3. Educational, economic, and social considerations: the job market, higher education, and social conventions make English the language that is in greatest demand. Political and competitive factors also place value on Telugu as regional language. Some parents believe that English proficiency should be gained even at the expense of mother tongue, while most take a balanced approach and value multilingualism.

  4. Standard languages and conventions: in our school we adhere to the following standard languages
    • British English, not American
    • Standard Urdu (& Hindi), not Dakkhani
    • Telugu of Telangana, not of Andhra regions

  5. The Government of Telangana, Department of School Education (DSE) and State Centre for Educational Research and Training (SCERT) mandate that students of class 1 to class 5 study their mother tongue (Telugu, Hindi, or Urdu) as first language and English as second language. From class 6 to class 10, students must study their mother tongue as first language, regional/national language (Telugu or Hindi) as second language, and English as third language.
Classes Languages Label as per SCERT
PP1 to C2 Urdu & Hindi 1st language (mother tongue)
C3 to C10 Urdu or Hindi 1st language (mother tongue)
C3 to C10 Telugu 2nd language (regional language)
PP1 to C10 English 3rd language (medium of instruction)
A. Rationale for language offerings detailed above
  • As the language of instruction, English is required from the lowest classes onwards.
  • The majority of our students speak Urdu as their mother tongue. The IB and SCERT both stress the importance of supporting and developing the mother tongue. Thus, we begin teaching Urdu informally in PP1 and formally in PP2.
  • Telugu is the state language and it has practical benefits for all students. Furthermore, studying Telugu is mandated by the SCERT. We are starting Telugu instruction in 3rd class to avoid overburdening students. For students whose mother tongue is Telugu, we do not have a separate programme as yet.
  • Hindi is the national language; offering it would support our school’s secular ethos and those students whose mother tongue is Hindi. Thus, we offer Hindi alongside Urdu from PP2 to C2. From C3 onwards, students would be able to exclusively choose Hindi or Urdu.
  1. Handwriting
    • Students who are left-handed are encouraged to develop their skills with their left hand
    • HS Students with poor handwriting are referred to after-school handwriting and calligraphy class
  2. Students who are below class level in Telugu are recommended to:
    • Take support from the teacher or intern during or after school hours
    • Take summer classes organized by the school
  3. Students who are below class level in Urdu or Hindi are recommended to take support from the teacher (or other tutor) during or after school hours

  4. Students who are below class level in English are recommended to
    • Take support from the teacher or intern during or after school hours
    • Be tested by the SEN counselor for remedial interventions
  5. Resources
    • Several strategies and resources for language learning are explained in the Library Policy
    • Karadi Path in PP1-C1 to support English language skills
    • Scholastic Guided Reading to support English reading skills
    • Judincha vernacular board games (e.g. Scrabble)
    • Our school supports students who seek to write standardized exams, such as that of the Hindi Prachar Sabha
  6. Language skills are developed by:
    • Class and group assembly activities
    • Intraschool and interschool contests
    • Clubs (e.g. Debate, Events, Publishing, Drama)
  7. Intern teachers are placed in classrooms to support differentiation

  8. Issues to be resolved
    • Mother tongue support for Telugu in PP1-C2
    • Elaboration and implementation of in-class strategies to scaffold language skills as outlined in Learning in a language other than mother tongue in IB programmes (2008), IBO
    • How will speaking in English be supported and promoted? Which strategies are against the school’s core values?
  1. Communication between school and parents
    • Written communication with parents is in English (e.g. through SMS, notices, diary, reports, etc.). But the school tries to ensure that this communication is made accessible to parents in their preferred language.
    • Some strategies that the school uses are:
      1. Translation and explanation one-on-one (face to face, by phone, etc.)
      2. Meetings and events in which speakers convey messages in Hindi, Urdu, and English
      3. Administrative staff can converse in Hindi, Urdu, Telugu, and English
      4. Parent Teacher Student Meetings (including Student Led Conferences, special educational needs review meetings, etc.) in which reports can be explained orally
      5. Asking staff members to translate and mediate when their language skills are required
  2. Communication among staff members
    • Professional development: the school supports English acquisition among the school staff. For example, staff is encouraged to take Trinity Graded Examinations in Spoken English (GESE), among other formal courses.
    • Expectations of staff: there is an expectation that all staff will value the diversity of languages and the importance of language to all learning.
    • Communication with housekeeping and security staff: administrative staff ensures that English language communication is understood by housekeeping and security staff.
  1. Library Policy

  2. ICT Policy

  3. Counseling & SEN Policy

  1. This policy will be reviewed each year by the pedagogical leadership team and by a committee of language (Urdu, Hindi, Telugu, English) and subject (PP1-C2, C3-C5, and C6-C10) teachers.

  2. The review will take place in December to be implemented in the coming academic year.
  1. This policy will be published for teachers in the Teacher’s Registers and/or the shared drive

  2. The policy will be published for parents and students in the school blog and/or website