Native Language @ ISB

Entries Tagged as '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

HS Hispanic Club Offers Carnaval for ES, Grade 6 Spanish Speakers

January 8th, 2019 · No Comments

Feliz año nuevo! This Saturday, January 12, ISB’s HS Hispanic Club will offer a special event for Spanish-speaking students in grades PreK-6.

Grade 11 club leader Josephine writes, “We will have a scavenger hunt, a piñata and many more games, as well as a merienda while watching a movie.” The club hopes to “organize activities to encourage collaboration.”

The free event will run from 8:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is themed Carnaval. Children can come in costume.

Interested families may sign up by contacting

Tags: Native Language at ISB

Danke schön and auf Wiedersehen to a Middle School German Teacher

December 3rd, 2018 · No Comments

Sabine Lingenfelder, teacher of ISB’s after-school MS German class, will teach her final session this week as she and her family prepare to move back to Germany. She has taught on ISB’s campus since September 2017.

Ms. Lingenfelder answered a few questions about her plans, her life, and her tips for maintaining German while at ISB:

Where have you grown up and spent your life?

I grew up in the middle part of Germany in a very small village—absolutely countryside, close to the former border between the two parts of Germany, but surrounded by fabulous nature (green hills, a small river, meadows, a lot of animals, etc.).

After my school career in 1992 I moved to Gießen  (still in the  middle of Germany but 100 km from my home) to study education, biology and chemistry at the Justus-Liebig-University. After my examination in 1998, I started my teaching career in the subjects biology and chemistry.

From 2001 I worked in a Gymnasium (an advanced or high-level school) with students from Grade 5 to 13 in Eltville, close to Wiesbaden, about 50 km away from Frankfurt. This school is located in—I’m not exaggerating—the nicest area you can find in Germany! We have a lot of vineyards and one of the major rivers of Germany, the Rhine River; my school was located in one of the towns along the Rhine. Some villages away, my husband and I built a cozy home for ourselves and our children 10 years ago! It’s a fantastic area to bring kids up.

What are your fields of specialty and your interests/hobbies?

I love to read: science magazines as well as historical literature and biographical books.

In recent years I have developed a deep interest in establishing a healthy lifestyle. As a biology teacher, I taught this content as part of our curriculum in Germany. But if you want to inform students authentically and correctly, you have to be well informed yourself. So, wherever I can find information, I try to soak it up and integrate it into my personal life (but that was and is the hardest part!).

I also like to paint and do handicrafts, especially Christmas/Easter/holiday card-making. And while I’ve been in Nichada, I have had time to move my body more than ever by running, sometimes biking and doing workouts.

What have you enjoyed about teaching German at ISB?

Teaching at ISB is far away from teaching at a German public school. Of course, I have been in a different situation after-school compared with those who teach during the day (I assume). But I have enjoyed being able to focus on working with the students, and not having all the formal responsibilities that one must usually fulfil. The students at ISB have been amazing. They have made it so easy to teach them, even more so since I was used to teaching a different subject. I have loved teaching in one room, where I could leave my stuff and didn’t move materials from class to class. That’s so convenient. And although I really liked my school in Germany—the students there and my colleagues—the atmosphere here is relaxed, the students have been alert and kind, and the same goes for every staff member at ISB that I have had contact with.

What are three tips for ISB families trying to maintain their children’s native language?

  • Continue speaking the native language at home, even when English is much easier for the kids.
  • Read books at a level that fits children’s language skills. It’s not easy, I know, because their intellectual level might be higher than their language level. To find books that do not use lots of sophisticated expressions, but still offer topics that kids enjoy at their age, can be quite complicated. But the reading can help a lot to maintain and increase their language level.
  • What I also did with our kids: watch German TV !

Deepest thanks to Ms. Lingenfelder for her work with ISB students. She will be succeeded in her role by Christine (Tina) Klempin from January 2019.

Tags: Mother tongue at home · Native Language at ISB

Books Signed for ISB Students in Korean

November 27th, 2018 · No Comments

A book signed 책과 함께 멋진 미래, “I wish you a wonderful future with this book,” for students at ISB.

On a recent storytelling trip to South Korea, ES Librarian Nat Whitman brought back several picture books signed in Korean by the authors. These books are now displayed in the ES Hub. They join a surprising number of signed titles in ISB’s Native Language collections, in both the ES and MS/HS libraries. It’s great to see authors send messages to ISB’s multilingual readers. 

An author encouraged ISB students by writing 오늘도 화이팅, “good luck” or “go for it!”

Tags: Books · Native Language at ISB

Translanguaging: What and Why

October 11th, 2018 · No Comments

On two recent Professional Days at ISB, groups of teachers have taken a session called Translanguaging: What and Why. There has been growing interest in translanguaging in ISB classes. So what is translanguaging?

This article for parents offers some answers. Simply put, translanguaging means using all of students’ languages in class when it helps their learning. Languages other than English need not be silenced, if other languages can support learning. 

Translanguaging does not mean chaotic classrooms, but rather designing instruction to involve students’ languages, which are part of their identity.  

It can also be a way to give multilinguals more practice with their languages for academic purposes. 

Keen to learn more? Here is the publicly available Preface (PDF) to the The Translanguaging Classroom, a book of interest at ISB. This is stocked by our Learning Design Center, which also offers books on multilingual parenting.

Tags: Native Language at ISB

Thai Books Available at ES Book Fair

October 4th, 2018 · No Comments

Nothing encourages children to read quite like attractive books, readily available. Today and tomorrow, October 4-5, families have the opportunity to buy Thai-language children’s books as part of the Book Fair in the ES Learning Hub. Open from 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m. today, and 7 a.m-2:30 p.m. tomorrow, the Nai-In stand (above) offers picture books through novels in Thai. Happy shopping!


Tags: Books · Mother tongue at home · Native Language at ISB

A CC Tour of the Netherlands

September 28th, 2018 · No Comments

Room 407 of ISB’s Cultural Center is home to one of the native Dutch classes taught on campus after school. Teacher Saskia Leeuwangh worked with students to turn a wall of the room into a mini-tour of the Netherlands, which shows where she and students are from plus sites of significance.

The use of simple visuals (such as a labeled map) to support language, is a strategy that works in homes as well as at school. Can you think of an expression you learned just by reading a bulletin board or items stuck to a refrigerator?

Tags: Mother tongue at home · Native Language at ISB

Posters for International Day of Peace 2018

September 21st, 2018 · No Comments


Today, September 21, is the UN-designated International Day of Peace. ISB celebrated with an all-school assembly this week called “Hands & Hearts: Enriching Communities through Humanitarian Thoughts and Actions.” Posters for the assembly gave the title in a wide range of languages spoken by ISB students; we hope that our multilingual students felt “hearted” to see their languages on display.

Deepest thanks to the community members who helped us translate the title meaningfully! 

To watch the assembly, please see ISB Peace Day Assembly Video 2018

Tags: Native Language at ISB

ISB Language Snapshot, Semester 1, 2018-2019

August 14th, 2018 · No Comments

Welcome to the new school year! What languages might you hear on campus these days? Here is a snapshot based on ISB student data for Semester 1, 2018-2019. 

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

Students Earn Accolades in Chinese Essay Contest

June 5th, 2018 · No Comments

Four students in ISB’s MS Native Mandarin class have earned honors in an essay contest for teens. The students—Amandine, Darcy, Emily, and Shea—wrote on this year’s theme, “my friend” 我的朋友. One of the judges for the contest, now in its 18th year, was the internationally known Chinese author Cao Wenxuan, whose novel Bronze and Sunflower is in the ISB libraries. 

The teacher of MS Native Mandarin this year has been Cao Shujuan. 

Congratulations to all!

Tags: Native Language at ISB