Native Language @ ISB

Entries Tagged as 'Native Language at ISB'

ISB Language Snapshot, Semester 1, 2019-2020

September 20th, 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:

Tags: Native Language at ISB

Native Language Academy Office at Top of Zigzag

August 13th, 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:

Here’s to a language-rich year!


Avery Udagawa, Native Language Coordinator

Tags: After-school classes · Native Language at ISB

After-School Native Languages—Double the Learning Time!

June 4th, 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:

Tags: After-school classes · Native Language at ISB

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

May 29th, 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.

Tags: Books · Native Language at ISB

Student Publishes Essay in Mainichi Shimbun

May 21st, 2019 · 1 Comment

A student in ISB’s MS Native Japanese class has published an essay in the Mainichi Shimbun, a premier national newspaper in Japan. The student, Yuiko, wrote about how watching two famous figure skaters inspired her to keep working hard as a flutist.

Yuiko drafted and submitted her essay along with all students in MS Native Japanese, taught by Kahoru Nakamachi, in a Media and Culture unit. In this unit, student worked on articulating their opinions with a particular media outlet, audience, purpose, and style in mind.

Some students submitted their essays to Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper, in which two ISB students published essays last year; other students submitted to the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper. Yuiko chose the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper because her grandparents in Osaka subscribe.

In her essay (published March 31, 2019), Yuiko expresses what the word ganbaru (頑張る) means to her, including self-motivation and follow-through, referring to the careers of Mao Asada and Yuzuru Hanyu.  

Thoughtful reflection about one’s learning, as well as writing for an authentic audience, are key tasks for multilingual students and highly valued at ISB.

Tags: Native Language at ISB

Being a Second Language Learner

May 7th, 2019 · No Comments

How do multilingual students feel when struggling with a language? Embarrassed, shy, and sometimes “awful,” according to Yeonie, a grade 11 student who presented at TEDxYouth@ISBangkok 2019.

Drawing on her experience as a Korean speaker learning English at ISB for three years, Yeonie powerfully described going quiet and even changing her personality when switching from Korean to English. She offered seasoned advice to both language learners and their peers.

To language learners, she urged learning from mistakes and letting yourself “be a kid, be a child.” 

To native speakers of a language that others are learning, she urged respect, encouragement, and patience. “Wait for us.”

Yeonie, 잘 했습니다.

Tags: Multilingualism · Native Language at ISB

Of 日本語, High-Contrast Languages, and ISB Parents

April 25th, 2019 · No Comments

According to the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute, several languages represented at ISB are “exceptionally difficult” for persons whose main language is English. This is because the languages—Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Arabic—contrast highly with English, for example in their writing systems.

For students who study mostly in English at ISB, it can be hard to maintain proficiency in these languages, even as native speakers. Beyond speaking the languages at home and taking classes, many students make extra efforts related to the languages—as do their parents.

In the Elementary School, Japanese parent volunteers run morning literacy sessions twice per week, in which students practice Japanese reading and writing before going off to their homeroom classes. The morning sessions complement weekly classes taught by Ms. Kaori Iwaki, and weekly afternoon cultural activities led by High School Japanese students.

The morning sessions are well attended and, in combination with other efforts, lead to clear progress in students’ writing and reading skills. Massive thanks to the ISB parents who give their time for this purpose!

Tags: Native Language at ISB

Choir Performance ภาษาไทย

April 12th, 2019 · No Comments

As the Songkran holiday approaches, enjoy this clip of Thai-language choral performance by ISB’s HS delegates to IASIS Cultural Convention, March 2019.


Here, the delegates perform บัวขาว (Bua Khao, or White Lotus) with lyrics by Prince Bhanubandh Yugala, music by Puangroi Apaiwong, and arrangement by Atichai Tragoondet. Singers are (from left) Jillian, Saharat, Andrew, Rhea, Jitpuwapat, Rada, Nevaan, and Leah. 

The Thai speakers in the ensemble coached their classmates and MS/HS choral director Andy Marshall on pronunciation and meaning of the piece. At top is the first page of the score with Mr. Marshall’s annotations.

Enjoy a peaceful Thai New Year.

Tags: Native Language at ISB

TED Talks en français + en español!

April 3rd, 2019 · No Comments

Students in ISB’s MS Native French and Spanish classes recently prepared TED-style talks in their native languages.

As part of the unit Wellbeing and Health, the students researched the theme, wrote speeches, and presented in Chevron Theatre in front of a small audience. 
Teacher Maite Montero-Nahoum writes, “Students were investigating how health and wellbeing are connected to personal choices and decisions, and how cultural values may influence these choices and decisions.  Students also investigated what constitutes a healthy lifestyle and how it is influenced by one’s culture and environment . . . all cultures can provide healthy diets but not necessarily in the same way.”
Many of ISB’s values could be found onstage, as students demonstrated courage, commitment and responsibility. Well done!
Photo: MS Native Spanish students in Chevron Theatre.

Tags: Native Language at ISB

Happy International Mother Language Day 2019!

February 21st, 2019 · No Comments

“We need to take care of our languages just like we take care of a garden.” With these words, librarian Nat Whitman showed a Grade 1 class several books authored in their native languages, and asked staff member Khun Jeab to read a book aloud in Thai. Down the hall, teachers, parents, and students wrote “good luck” phrases in their languages—from Slovak (above) to Portuguese and Tagalog (below)—on a large chalkboard. These were just two observances of International Mother (Native) Language Day 2019 at ISB.

International Mother Language Day is a day to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. The UN reports that at least 43 percent of the estimated 6000 languages spoken in the world are endangered. Every two weeks a language disappears, taking with it a way of knowing.

To affirm the importance of native languages, ISB hosted a Raising Multilinguals followup workshop for parents in all divisions, in which participants (some shown below) discussed ways to offer children language-rich experiences.

ISB staff also affirmed languages with a display in the MS/HS Library, images in the High School student bulletin, and a Facebook post showcasing several Native Language classes. We applaud them!

Happy International Mother (Native) Language Day!

Tags: Native Language at ISB · Parent Workshops