Native Language @ ISB

Five Students Publish Essays in Asahi Shimbun

June 5, 2020 · No Comments

During the 2019-20 school year, five students in the HS Japanese Native II and MS Native Japanese classes published essays in the Asahi Shimbun, a premier Japanese national newspaper. The students wrote about navigating overseas moves and about their intercultural identities.

Click images below to enlarge.

Kotoha (HS) wrote about negotiating academic English and classroom discussions at international school (November 20, 2019): 

Lisa (HS) described maintaining two family languages, Japanese and Korean, with inspiration from a friend (November 26, 2019): 

Emina (MS) called for acceptance of people with a wide variety of physical appearances in Japanese society (January 7, 2020): 

Satomi (MS) reflected on flying to Japan to be with an ailing grandparent, who struggled to communicate (January 16, 2020): 

Karen (MS) urged that virtual reality and artificial intelligence be used to foster intercultural empathy (January 28, 2020): 

The students drafted and submitted their essays as part of Media and Culture units instructed by Kahoru Nakamachi. The units called for writing one’s opinion with a particular outlet, audience, purpose, and style in mind.

Students in prior years have published essays about striving and about similarities and differences between Japanese and international school. 

Comparative reflection about one’s cultures, and writing for an authentic audience, are key tasks for multilingual students and highly valued at ISB.

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in 21 ISB Languages

May 18, 2020 · No Comments

Many ISB families are enjoying Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone this month, thanks to the MS Faculty Read-Aloud. Did you know that this book is free online in many languages during COVID-19? 

To browse the ebook, audiobook, and print versions available in Thailand, visit Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in 21 ISB Languages!

(Tip: log in to Sora first.)

For a quick glance, click the image below to enlarge. Happy reading and listening!



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Panthers Pounce Reading Challenge: Read in Any Language!

May 2, 2020 · No Comments

Panthers Pounce is a school-wide May reading challenge where everyone—students, staff, and families—can join the fun in ANY language! To participate, read in any/all of your languages during May and log your reading time here. (Choose the Students or Adults box on the right side of the page.)

Happy reading in ANY language!

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Audiobooks in Eight ISB Languages

April 30, 2020 · No Comments

Need some screen-free fun (and listening practice)? Children’s audiobooks in Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Japanese are available free at Audible Stories: Discover during COVID-19. Options range from novels to storybooks like Der kleine Siebenschläfer (The Little Dormouse) by Sabine Bohlmann, read in German by the author. Click to listen!

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Five Surprising Truths About Language Mixing

April 20, 2020 · No Comments

Multilingual families sometimes worry about language mixing. Is it a problem?

Dr. Shana Poplack, founding director of the Sociolinguistics Laboratory at the University of Ottawa, suggests not. In a fascinating article for the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, she shares conclusions from her research that shatter many common myths about this topic. For example, mixing languages isn’t detrimental to linguistic structure!

Dr. Poplack’s conclusions matter because, as she notes, language mixing is often stigmatized — “considered to display laziness and ignorance, when not blamed for the deterioration or even demise of one or all of the languages involved.”

Have you discovered that language mixing can be a 楽しい part of learning and life? If so, mix it up!

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An Elementary School Virtual Songkran

April 15, 2020 · No Comments

สวัสดีปีใหม่ค่ะ! Happy Thai New Year! In celebration of Songkran, ISB ES faculty posted a video wishing students well in four languages. Enjoy! 

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What Multilingualism Means to Me: Virtual Middle School Edition

April 10, 2020 · No Comments

Multilingualism can help us understand different cultures…which is sometimes weird. It makes travel easier…when we can travel! Middle schoolers in virtual Native Spanish with Maite Montero-Nahoum recently represented what being multilingual means to them, celebrating the International Day of Multilingualism. 

Here are videos by Gaby and Natalia (their names en español), shared with permission. Students may be stuck at home due to the novel coronavirus, but they’re having fun!

Video 1 (Gaby)

Video 2 (Natalia)

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Tips on Multilingual Learning at Home

March 27, 2020 · No Comments

ISB Multilingual Learning at Home, a blog post to accompany the above video.

March 27, 2020, is the second International Day of Multilingualism. On this date—chosen because March 27, 196 BC, is the date on the famously multilingual Rosetta Stone—we celebrate how more than half of the world’s population speaks multiple languages. #multilingualisnormal! This is clear at ISB, where English is the common language but a majority of students report a Language Other Than English as their native language, and where native and world language classes are offered in all divisions.

Currently, virtual school affords ISB families a unique opportunity to use ALL of their languages, connecting both with school work and with one another. How can multilingual learning enrich the experience of virtual school? How are ISB families finding that #multilingualisnormal even in a not-so-normal time? This is a great day to share stories. Happy International Day of Multilingualism!

Note in today’s Good Morning Middle School, daily email announcements for students in grades 6-8.



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A Great Time to Exercise Languages

March 8, 2020 · No Comments

Discussing academic concepts in all of students’ languages is a great way to deepen their learning at ISB.

During the weeks of March 9-13 and 16-20 [March 17 update: international schools are closed until further notice], students will engage in online learning due to the evolving COVID-19 situation. This time presents an opportunity for families to discuss academic concepts in students’ native languages, in some cases as students are studying the concepts. 

Glossaries for school can support this process. To access Bilingual Glossaries for many academic subjects, in numerous ISB languages, click on Bilingual Glossaries under Bookmarks at the right side of this blog.

There are also many ways to exercise languages outside of study time. To read tips by ISB Native Language Academy teachers on how to have fun practicing languages at home—from reading aloud together to playing games—please click Educators at the top of this blog, and then click any teacher’s name for the teacher’s tips. Have fun!

Tips by Mandarin teacher Guofang (Candy) Tang 

This post was last updated on 17 March 2020 at 2 p.m.


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Happy International Mother Language Day 2020!

February 21, 2020 · No Comments

Like biodiversity, linguistic diversity is important to study and safeguard. Every year on February 21, the United Nations observes International Mother Language Day to celebrate all languages and promote multilingualism.

ISB observed #IMLD2020 with displays in both libraries, a themed prompt on the ES floor-to-ceiling chalkboard, and a video in the MS daily announcements. HS student Shea (above) read aloud in Mandarin to ES classes as part of her Global Citizenship Week internship with Nat Whitman, ES Hub. (Last year’s Hub observance featured read-alouds in Thai.)

Happy International Mother (Native) Language Day, and have a language-rich February Break!

Above: Shea, grade 10, with a table of Mandarin children’s books she prepared in the ES Hub. Below: Instructional Assistant Khun Mam with the multilingual bulletin board she made in the Main Library.

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