Native Language @ ISB

Community Resources

June 13, 2024
by ISB Native Language Programs

Thank You, Panther Native Language Academy Teachers!

As the 2023-24 school year concludes today, we share a video of Panther Native Language Academy classes taught by the teachers active in Seasons 3-4.

  • Mr. Meinders, Dutch
  • Ms. Montero Nahoum, French
  • Ms. Klempin, German
  • Mr. Rubin, Hebrew
  • Ms. Jessee, Japanese
  • Ms. Choi and Ms. Kim, Korean
  • Ms. Li, Ms. Tang, Mr. Hu, and Ms. Fan with Khun Tuu and Khun Virod: Mandarin
  • Ms. Vogel, Spanish
  • Khun Jib with Khun Tuu, Thai

Some 62 PNLA sessions ran each week, serving 164 students—85 of whom attended twice per week! We are so proud of all that PNLA teachers and students do to nurture languages at ISB.

Gratitude to all!

June 10, 2024
by ISB Native Language Programs

Dutch Student Creates Winning Logo

Benja with Dutch teacher Kees Meinders. Benja’s lion logo will represent the Dutch school in Bangkok.

Benja, a student who attends Dutch class at International School Bangkok, has developed the new logo for the Nederlandse School in Bangkok!

Also known as the Dutch Cultural Society (DCS), the Dutch school offers classes at two locations: Bangkok Patana School and ISB. The school’s prior logo showed a magnifying class over the country of Thailand.

The newly adopted logo includes a heraldic lion and the Belgian, Dutch and Thai flags.

In March, teacher Kees Meinders challenged students to create a new logo by hand or with the computer. “We wanted to include three things in the logo,” he said. “Something Dutch, a Belgium reference, and a Thailand reference.” The school serves both Dutch- and Flemish-speaking students from the Netherlands and Belgium.

In response to the challenge, “students from ISB and BPS came with wonderful creations,” Meinders said. “After this, the first round of voting happened.” Four students, including Benja and Timothy from ISB, saw their logos become finalists.

Logo ideas

Voting in progress

Timothy’s logo and reflection

Students also wrote about the logos. A final round of voting led to the decision.

Gefeliciteerd to Benja!

May 1, 2024
by ISB Native Language Programs

Bangkok a Hub for Multilingual Education Policymaking

Bangkok recently hosted the High-level Policy Forum on Multilingual Education, which brought together over 30 high-senior government officials from 20 Asia-Pacific countries during the 7th International Conference on Language and Learning, hosted by UNESCO, UNICEF, and partners.

The officials endorsed the Bangkok Priorities for Action on First Language-based Multilingual Education, which followed up on the 2019 Bangkok Statement on Language and Inclusion.

The Bangkok Priorities for Action emphasize the need for mother language-based multilingual education in addressing the region’s “learning crisis” post-Covid. The full text (four pages) describes “first language-based multilingual education as an accelerator of learning.”

Connections with UN Sustainable Development Goal 4 are also emphasized. 

For further reading, check out Multilingual Education: A Key to Quality and Inclusive Learning at

March 27, 2024
by ISB Native Language Programs

Translanguaging Is for Everyone

Today is the International Day of Multilingualism, chosen because 27th March 196 BC is the date on the famously multilingual Rosetta Stone. Here is information about a key topic in multilingualism at ISB: translanguaging.

In a recent Grade 6 Social Studies class, ISB teachers introduced a new concept—urbanization—with a slide that displayed it in several of the students’ home languages.

The purpose was partly to provide vocabulary that was new to most of the students in any language. Another purpose was to activate prior knowledge, because while urbanization itself was new, students knew some of its parts: in English, urban and –iz(s)ation. In Chinese and Japanese, city (城市, 都市) and becoming (化). Drawing on students’ full linguistic repertoires gave them many ways to approach the concept.

Affirming and tapping all of students’ languages for their learning is called translanguaging; it is a pedagogical concept that ISB’s faculty and community have been exploring for several years. It is also a term for the fluid ways in which multilingual people use language.

Dr. Kate Seltzer, author of The Translanguaging Classroom, has been providing remote sessions for ISB faculty in 2023-24. In one session, she explains, “Translanguaging . . .  refers to both the everyday way of communicating among bi-/multilingual speakers AND to an approach to teaching that is aligned with this norm and aims to leverage students’ full linguistic repertoire for their learning.”

Slide ©︎ Kate Seltzer

Drawing on students’ full linguistic repertoire in class is a contrast to the former status quo in international schools, where English-only was the norm. This had the unfortunate effect of lowering the status of Languages Other Than English, placing them at risk of atrophy. But as research has progressed, it has become clear that mother tongue strength fuels academic success, including English acquisition—even in reading (a concern for many)—and that translanguaging supports linguistic and cognitive development.

Dr. Eowyn Crisfield has a video that demonstrates her own change in thinking about this topic, as well as a journal article.

Is translanguaging only for English learners? No! Virtually all students at ISB are multilingual, in the sense that they study or use more than one language. Translanguaging across disciplines gets them exercising all of their languages, while enhancing their content learning and expressing their identity. Translanguaging is for everyone. 

In another unit of Grade 6 Social Studies, all students used their laptops to watch a ten-minute video on the history of the Internet—first in English, and then in another language of their choice. For some students, this language was their home language; for others, it was a new language they were studying in World Language class. Some students found the video easier to follow in English; others found it easier to absorb in the Language Other Than English. Either way, after both views, most students had acquired new words or phrases, and all were ready to discuss the content. 

That was what their teachers found exciting to watch!

For ISB parents, Dr. Laura Ascenzi-Moreno and Dr. Cecilia M. Espinosa have presented a one-hour session that is viewable online, asking, “What is translanguaging and why is it important for my family?”

What questions do you have about translanguaging? How do you notice that #multilingualisnormal at ISB?

March 20, 2024
by ISB Native Language Programs

Free Books in Many Languages

Come get some FREE books next to the MPB, in the Panther Native Language Academy office. Books in norsk, Magyar, slovenčina, Khmer, русский, Română, suomi, tiếng Việt, español, 日本語, ภาษาไทย, français, עברית, italiana, 中文, dansk, 한국어, Deutsch, हिन्दी, Nederlands, svenska and more have been donated, and are filling the cupboards! 

Children’s books, teen/adult books, magazines, a few games . . . a bit of everything! Come in and browse. 📚

March 8, 2024
by ISB Native Language Programs

Feliz Día de la Mujer!

A bulletin board in the ES World Language quad (click to enlarge!)

Students and staff at ISB are celebrating International Women’s Day today with stickers, purple clothing, and even multilingual displays.

What is it about delivering a message multilingually that gives it impact? Here is another example: a video of 25 women singing the power ballad “Let It Go,” by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, in 25 languages.

Bonne #IWD2024!

February 21, 2024
by ISB Native Language Programs

Happy International Mother Language Day 2024!

February 21 is International Mother Language Day, “observed every year to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism” according to the UN.

It’s always Mother Language Day in ISB’s Panther Native Language Academy. Here are smiles from 12 of the 57 after-school class sessions running weekly in Season 3. (Click photo to enlarge.)
Happy #IMLD2024!

January 29, 2024
by ISB Native Language Programs

ISB Language Snapshot, Semester 2, 2023-24

What languages might you hear on ISB’s campus these days? Here is a snapshot based on student data for Semester 2, 2023-24 (click to enlarge).

Note: This graph shows the number of students for whom each language is listed as Student Language in PowerSchool. The data is incomplete, as multilingual students could report only one Student Language, and some families did not report a language.

Below is one more snapshot, of how many ISB households are likely to be multilingual. The green portion (19%) represents families for whom English is listed as Student Language, Parent 1 Language, and Parent 2 Language in PowerSchool. The blue portion represents all families for whom that is not the case.

Since English is a common language at school, it may come as a surprise that 81% of ISB households are not monolingual, English-speaking households. This graph makes that reality visible.

To check on your family’s language data in PowerSchool, contact us anytime:

January 11, 2024
by ISB Native Language Programs

Sign Up for Panther Native Language Academy Seasons 3-4

Registration is open for after-school classes in Panther Native Language Academy in Seasons 3-4. 
PNLA registration is part of Activities Registration, open online on CCA through January 25. Steps:
1. In PowerSchool/CCA, register for your language under Activities: Native Language. Pay the fee covering Seasons 3 & 4, February 5-June 9. (Note: Dutch tuition differs and should be paid to DCS.)
2. Watch for an email or survey about scheduling from the Native Language Coordinator. In general, we hope to keep the schedule in Seasons 3-4 as similar to Seasons 1-2 as possible. 
Please feel free to browse more information on this blog, or email:

December 14, 2023
by ISB Native Language Programs

Happy Holidays from Panther Native Language Academy

ES Japanese students twist rice straw from Phetchaburi province into なわ飾り decorations for New Year. Teacher: Miyuki Jessee

Happy Holidays to you and yours from Panther Native Language Academy!

All PNLA classes will start again on January 8, 2024. It will still be Season 2. 

Here’s to a language-rich Winter Holiday!