Language acquisition

Language acquisition

I. Course description and aims

The ability to communicate in more than one language is essential to the concept of an international education that promotes intercultural understanding, and is central to the IB’s mission. The study of additional languages in the MYP provides students with the opportunity to develop insights into the features, processes and craft of language and the concept of culture, and to realize that there are diverse ways of living, behaving and viewing the world.

Acquiring an additional language and exploring and reflecting on the cultural perspectives of our own and other communities:

  • is central to developing critical thinking and international-mindedness
  • provides an intellectual framework to support personal development, cultural identity and conceptual understanding
  • greatly contributes to the holistic development of students and to the strengthening of lifelong learning skills
  • equips students with the necessary multiliteracy skills and attitudes to communicate successfully in various global contexts.

The aims of MYP language acquisition are to encourage and enable students to:

  • gain proficiency in an additional language while supporting maintenance of their mother tongue and cultural heritage
  • develop a respect for, and understanding of, diverse linguistic and cultural heritages
  • develop the communication skills necessary for further language learning, and for study, work and leisure in a range of contexts
  • develop multiliteracy skills through the use of a range of learning tools
  • develop an appreciation of a variety of literary and non-literary texts and to develop critical and creative techniques for comprehension and construction of meaning
  • recognize and use language as a vehicle of thought, reflection, self-expression and learning in other subjects
  • understand the nature of language and the process of language learning
  • gain insight into the cultural characteristics of the communities where the language is spoken
  • gain an awareness and understanding of the perspectives of people from own and other cultures
  • develop curiosity, inquiry and a lifelong interest in, and enjoyment of, language learning.

II. Curriculum overview

The MYP promotes inquiry in language acquisition by developing conceptual understanding within global contexts.

Key concepts such as communication, connections, creativityand culturebroadly frame the MYP curriculum.

Related concepts promote deeper learning grounded in specific disciplines. Examples of related concepts in MYP language acquisition include word choice, conventions and idiom.

Students explore key and related concepts through MYP global contexts.

  • Identities and relationships
  • Orientation in space and time
  • Personal and cultural expression
  • Scientific and technical innovation
  • Globalization and sustainability
  • Fairness and development

The MYP curriculum framework offers schools flexibility to determine engaging, relevant, challenging and significant content that meets local and national curriculum requirements. This inquiry-based curriculum explores factual, conceptual and debatable questions in the study of language acquisition.

MYP language acquisition is a compulsory component in every year of the MYP, except for bilingual students who pursue courses of study in multiple languages in the MYP language and literature subject group.

The MYP requires at least 50 hours of teaching time for each subject area in each year of the programme. For students participating in MYP eAssessment, the IB recommends 70 hours of guided learning each year in MYP years 4 and 5

III. Assessment Criteria

Each language acquisition objective corresponds to one of four equally weighted assessment criteria. Each criterion has eight possible achievement levels (1–8), divided into four bands with unique descriptors that teachers use to make judgments about students’ work.

Criterion A: Comprehending spoken and visual text
Students interpret and construct meaning from spoken and visual texts to understand how images presented with oral text interplay to convey ideas, values and attitudes.

Criterion B: Comprehending written and visual text
Students construct meaning and interpret written and visual text to understand how images presented with written text interplay to convey ideas, values and attitudes.

Criterion C: Communicating in response to spoken and/or written and/or visual text

Students develop their communication skills by interacting on a range of topics of personal, local and global interest and signifcance, and responding to spoken, written and visual text in the target language.

Criterion D: Using language in spoken and/or written form
Students recognize and use language suitable to the audience and purpose (for example, home, classroom, formal and informal, social, academic contexts). Students apply their understanding of linguistic and literary concepts to develop a variety of structures, strategies and techniques