IB Workshop: The Role of Language in the PYP (April 13th- 14th, 2012)


Role of Language in the PYP workshop
(April 13th- 14th, 2012)

On April 13th-14th, 2012, we joined an annual IB Workshop on The Role of Language in the PYP. The workshop leader for this session was Bronwyn Gowty. There were 25 teachers, both from pre-elementary and elementary unit joined the session.

Day One- In the first day of the workshop, we shared our prior knowledge about the roles of language in the PYP, discussed some issues about language across the school, and reviewed our language policy.

The Central Idea and lines of Inquiry for the two days workshop is:

Central Idea: Language as a fundamental tool to learning, thinking and communicating and permeates the whole curriculum”.

The lines of inquiry are:

  • Language instruction in a bilingual setting
  • Students learning language, learn about language and learn through language
  • How language contributes to a cohesive learning experience
Sir Ken Robinson and his “Changing Paradigms

Sir Ken Robinson and his Changing Paradigms. Very Interesting!

It was interesting when watching a video of Changing Educational Paradigms – Ken Robinson. In the video, Sir Ken Robinson was illustrating the nature of the today’s learners and the complexity they face as learners and individuals. Todays teachers have got more challenges to face to be able to teach the digital natives students. He also mentioned about the public education system and explained the reasons why we need to review the system.  There are two reasons; economic and cultural. He said that economic condition is very unpredicatable and it demands people to be more anticipated and ready with changes. Secondly, he mentioned about cultural identity. The challenge for us as teachers is how to teach the students to be able to understand their personal identity.

After watching, we discussed in our group about strategies to teach the 21st Century students- looking at the challenges and opportunities. This activity was leading to a discussion about our beliefs and values of teaching and learning in the 21st Century.

Day Two- In day 2, we focused on planning some strategies to be used in our school and classes regarding to foster multiliteracy in the bilingual classroom. There were some interesting discussion on our school language policy. The dilematic condition that we are facing between the ideal condition and school and parents expectation. We are now working to review our school language policy so that the needs for students to learn their own mother tounge language is also accomodated.

Me and Bronwyn Gowty, the workshop leader

In brief, the workshop run well. We gained more awareness on the fostering of mother tounge language both in our classes and our school community. Hopefully, the school and parents can also support this matter.

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3 thoughts on “IB Workshop: The Role of Language in the PYP (April 13th- 14th, 2012)

  1. I agree that it’s a dilemma Tantri – mother tongue proficiency is essential for so many reasons and yet all our parents (and board members? benefactors) believe is that English is #1. Valuing MT = great language skills = positive transfer to other languages including English = cognitive development = conceptual understanding = developing knowledge = multilingual, multicultural and internationally minded = …. and so on.

    I hope something positive comes out of all this! Thanks for another great post 😀

  2. Thanks, Tom for the feedback! It’s kind of difficult to change people’s paradigm since parents send their kids to the international schools so that their kids are able to be fluent in English. Having your kids speaking English fluently is just what they want to and highly expect to from our school- public opinion has shaped in the society. At the end, it’s about prestige and esteem. Hmmm…. What a confusing country I live in!

  3. Yes, but… I think the time is right to change the public opinion. Yes, our parents #1 reason for choosing our school is that they want their kids to speak English. But with a little ‘education’ we can show parents that their kids will learn English much better, not but forcing them to speak English, but by allowing them to develop their mother tongue literacy.

    The problem is, the relationship: less English = better English, is a difficult one to understand. However: good mother tongue literacy = better second language proficiency, can be shown quite simply in lots of current research and may be an easier pill to swallow.

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