Native Language @ ISB

A Buffet of Bilingual Glossaries

November 14, 2019 · No Comments

When parents, faculty and administrators gathered for today’s Raising Multilinguals: How? workshop, they enjoyed a buffet of samosas, sushi, mangoes with sticky rice—and bilingual glossaries.

The glossaries, organized by school subject and division (elementary, middle, high) are downloadable from the Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and Transformation in Schools, New York University. They come in many ISB languages.

Bilingual glossaries can help students and families discuss schoolwork in their native tongue(s), one of many language-rich experiences discussed at Raising Multilinguals: How?.

At this workshop, presenters defined a language-rich experience as “any experience where opportunities to use language are created and nurtured.” Participants explored ways to transform everyday experiences—from discussing homework to texting to waiting in traffic—into language-rich moments. Small groups considered ways to infuse speaking, listening, reading, and/or writing into different scenarios, and they pondered ways to have conversations that nurture language growth. Finally, everyone affirmed the importance of reading aloud in one’s native language(s).

If you missed last month’s Raising Multilinguals workshop or today’s Raising Multilinguals: How? workshop, feel free to email us for information: nativelanguage@isb.ac.th

Meanwhile, do sample the bilingual glossaries online! Click on Bilingual Glossaries under Bookmarks at the right side of this blog.

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Ask Olga! Helping Children Store Up Languages

November 8, 2019 · 3 Comments

Children of multilingual families rarely choose what languages they will learn. They receive and accumulate what is given them by the family and the outside world. However, once children begin to develop their linguistic competencies, they are compelled to make choices each and every time they use language. Just think of the complexity of these choices and the amazing capacity and flexibility of young multilingual minds!

“How did it happen that you speak three languages?” I ask my granddaughter Michelle as we sit on the porch outside her home near London. A seemingly simple question suddenly poses a challenge to a six-year-old. “I don’t know,” she says. “Maybe when my Mama had me in her belly she spoke three languages . . .” It takes her a few seconds to reconsider, and then a more logical (from our perspective) answer emerges: “Oh, I know, I speak Russian with Mama and French with Papa. And my preschool teacher taught me English.”

It seems that for Michelle and her younger brother Maxim, each linguistic choice, each transition from one language to another, happens seamlessly and naturally. Russian is part of Mama’s personality and her family, and French is part of Papa and his family. English has a strong presence everywhere. It is useful to think of these languages not as separate domains but as a combined multilingual resource. Children learn to use this resource through experimenting with it, mixing the language ingredients, and learning the best ways to convey meaning. We are lucky to be involved in this process, but we also bear the responsibility for enriching the language they store.

My grandchildren’s language acquisition has involved some innovative choices, some unexpected side trips, and many funny moments. Both Michelle and Maxim continue to experiment with grammatical intricacies, word choices and phonology based on language that they have received. With the start of their school in the UK, the share of English language during the day has increased. Therefore, it is now especially important that their family continues to provide motivation and support for learning home languages and literacy.

Sometimes parents are concerned that the use of home languages might compromise learning in the language of instruction at school. However, research, experience and common sense suggest that using the potential of all linguistic resources available to multilingual children is beneficial for their cognitive, social and emotional development, and ultimately for their success in the global community.

Members of multilingual families can turn many moments into opportunities to build proficiency in home languages. These opportunities sometimes get lost in the ocean of chores and daily routines, engagement with gadgets, and the “I’ll do it on the weekend” mentality. We must keep in mind that lost opportunities accumulated over time require a lot of catching up later.

How can we parents and grandparents help children “store up” language?

  • Look at the schedule and make a list of language enrichment possibilities within our reach.
  • Use our native languages with the children consistently, making them always a part of the linguistic landscape.
  • Seek out new sources of language input: friends, activities, online sessions and/or lessons—these are becoming quite popular as distance learning. Adult friends, cartoons, movies and books are also great. The world is multilingual—there are opportunities to meet same-language groups everywhere!
  • Make good strategic use of our extended family: relatives and important others who are dedicated to educating children and happy to watch them grow. Michelle has begun serving as my Russian-language narrator for home movies filmed in French. Maxim is beginning to add his voice as well!

Our year has been full of family events—holidays, visiting cousins, and birthday parties. I remember a moment when children welcomed an invited birthday party star in London—a Spiderman. Michelle’s cousin Zoya was showing him her jump rope skills, which Michelle had not yet mastered. I could see Michelle’s intense expression until she seemed to have made a decision. She went closer to Spiderman and said seriously and proudly: “And I can speak three languages!” We hope our children will always feel proud of their linguistic accomplishments! If our children and grandchildren value their ability to speak more than one language, then that’s the best reward for our efforts.

Columnist Olga Steklova is a retired EAL teacher at ISB and trilingual herself. She shares tips for raising multilingual children as she observes her own grandchildren. To read more columns, click on the Ask Olga! category below.

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ISB’s Multilingual Peace Pole Gets an Update

November 1, 2019 · No Comments

ISB’s peace pole, a wooden obelisk in the courtyard between the MS/HS Creative Art Room and ES Music, has had an update! (Click the arrows to see.)

Carpenters in the Building and Grounds department refinished the pole and reinstalled it with a new base.

The pole was first erected after the International Day of Peace in 2015, when ISB began marking this occasion annually as a school. The pole’s faces bear messages of peace in four languages used by many students in 2015: English, Japanese, Korean, and Thai. It exemplifies the school’s commitment to ideals greater than itself and to #manylanguagesonevoice.

The carpenters who removed, refinished, and reinstalled the pole with its new base are: 

  1. Mr. Preecha Prasit
  2. Mr. Kosol Panngern
  3. Mr. Ekkalak Sasuya
  4. Mr. Songchana Ponthong
  5. Mr. Anan Nilpradub
  6. Mr. Suranal Ouychan
  7. Mr. Santas Satwasana
  8. Mr. Somsong Muanthong
  9. Mr. Prakit Kimchua
  10. Mr. Supachai Penngrueng.

The photos accompanying this post were taken by Mr. Thatthien Poonsawad. To all, ขอบคุณมากค่ะ.

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Raising Multilinguals “How?” A Followup Workshop

October 17, 2019 · No Comments

How can parents nurture native language besides speaking it with their children and enrolling them in classes? Find out by joining us on November 14 for the workshop Raising Multilinguals How? Unlocking the World Through Language-Rich Experiences.

In this workshop, a followup to Raising Multilinguals, we will explore how families can promote literacy (reading and writing) and rich conversation, in support of the family language plan.

Parents of students in PreK through Grade 12 are welcome! The workshop will be held in the MS/HS Library’s Literary Lounge. If you have questions, please write: nativelanguage@isb.ac.th

→ No CommentsCategories: Family Language Plan · Mother tongue at home · Parent Workshops

Raising Multilinguals, an Annual Parent Workshop

October 11, 2019 · No Comments

Raising Multilinguals: Unlocking the World with a Family Language Plan

On Thursday, October 17, 2019, from 7:45-9:15 a.m. in MPB 1, ISB faculty and administrators will offer a workshop for parents from all divisions (ES, MS, HS) about maintaining students’ native languages while they also study in English at ISB. This will be similar to the Raising Multilinguals workshop offered in prior years, and is especially useful for new families. 

At this workshop, faculty and administrators will:

  • Present reasons to maintain native language, based on research
  • Describe language classes and resources available at ISB
  • Discuss the importance of making a family language plan

Please join us! Parents of students in PreK through Grade 12 are welcome. For further information, please email: nativelanguage@isb.ac.th

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Watch: ISB Students Rap in Dutch about Thailand!

October 2, 2019 · 1 Comment

Ready to groove? Check out this music video, featuring students in Dutch Cultural Society classes at ISB and other international schools in Bangkok. Students in the video co-wrote the lyrics with the support of DCS teachers and the visiting theater duo Oogpunt, to welcome new and potential Dutch expats to Thailand. ISB was pleased to cosponsor this project. Enjoy!

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ISB Language Snapshot, Semester 1, 2019-2020

September 20, 2019 · No Comments

What languages might you hear on ISB’s campus these days? Here is a snapshot based on student data for Semester 1, 2019-2020 (click to enlarge).

Note: This graphic shows the number of students for whom each language is listed as Student Native Language in ISB’s records. The data is incomplete, as multilingual students could report only one Native Language, and some families chose not to report a language. To check on your child’s language data, please contact: nativelanguage@isb.ac.th

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Native Language Academy Office at Top of Zigzag

August 13, 2019 · No Comments

Welcome to the new school year! Looking for the Native Language Coordinator? Find me in the new Native Language Academy office at the top of the Zigzag. 

Native Language Academy office

You can also find me this Saturday, August 18, 2019, at the Community Activities Information, Registration and Payment Day, to be held from 9 a.m.-noon in the Elementary School Air-Conditioned Gym.

I am sending surveys (Google Forms) to all language communities currently served by our after-school Native Language classes. Please kindly complete the survey for your language(s).

Sample survey (German)

Last but not least, reach me anytime online by emailing: 

nativelanguage@isb.ac.th

Here’s to a language-rich year!

Best,

Avery Udagawa, Native Language Coordinator

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After-School Native Languages—Double the Learning Time!

June 4, 2019 · No Comments

We’re excited to announce that starting in the 2019-2020 school year, we will be expanding our after-school Native Language classes at ISB. Beginning in September, we will be offering two sessions each week for each language in which there is adequate demand. This will allow your children to have twice as much instruction time for the same cost. Instruction will be provided by passionate, dedicated teachers who will carry ISB’s Vision, Mission, Learning Attributes, and Values into each class.

ISB Native Language Academy 2019-2020. Click to enlarge.

The Native Language Academy will run after-school allowing for flexibility in class sizes, intentional groupings across age and language needs, and schedule setting. The native languages that are currently offered within the school day will remain unchanged, with classes every second day in Elementary School (Thai) and Middle School and High School (French, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish and Thai). After-school classes are not a replacement for Native Language classes offered in school.

Most after-school classes will be offered twice a week for an hour each session. The languages on offer:

  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • French
  • German
  • Hebrew
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Mandarin
  • Spanish

For Pre-Kindergarten, Thai and Mandarin will be on offer once a week.

A native/near native language is generally described as a language that is used on a daily basis with at least one parent. This is fundamental to ensure that the language can be supported outside of the classroom. We believe that native language learning happens best when students experience a strong home-school partnership.

The schedule of classes will be shared at the start of next school year, as registrations are received and confirmed. To inquire about native language support for your children, in any of the languages above or a language not listed, please email: nativelanguage@isb.ac.th

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Native Language Books Have New Home in MS/HS Main Library

May 29, 2019 · No Comments

 
Need some multilingual reading for summer? Native Language books in ISB’s Main Library for MS/HS have moved to the tall shelving in the Literary Lounge, the room to the left as you enter the library.
 
The collection currently includes books in Hebrew, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Norwegian, Turkish and Thai, and is due to to expand in both language range and book quantity in coming months (hence the extra space).
 
 
Meanwhile, summer checkout begins on Tuesday, June 4. Parents as well as students are welcome to borrow books! 
 
Summer checkout in the ES Library (Hub) also begins on June 4; the Native Language collection here includes books in Dutch, French, German, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Norwegian, Polish, Spanish, and Thai.
 

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