Native Language @ ISB

Choir Performance ภาษาไทย

April 12, 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.

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TED Talks en français + en español!

April 3, 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.

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#multilingualisnormal

March 27, 2019 · 1 Comment

 

March 27, 2019, is the first International Day of Multilingualism. Founded by a network of language professionals, including Dr. Thomas H. Bak of the University of Edinburgh—clinical research fellow in the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences and Co-Director of Bilingualism Matters, long linked in this blog’s Bookmarks—the day celebrates “the multi-layered, multi-lingual way that humans actually use languages in our everyday lives.” The date commemorates the date on the Rosetta Stone, which corresponds to March 27, 196 BC.

The official website states, 

Everyone is a linguist. People talk. It’s just what humans do. As a species we have evolved over thousands of years and adapted to speaking more than one language very easily. 

But somehow the dialogue has changed over the last couple of centuries and speaking more than one language is commonly perceived as irregular, or special, when in fact more than two thirds of the world’s population speak two or more languages in their daily life. We’re not talking about the incredible polyglots who speak ten or more languages. Just the day-to-day use of language that is as much as part of our normal day as, say, enjoying a cup of coffee.

Ways to take part are listed here and include a hashtag: #multilingualisnormal

The hashtag was shared with ISB HS students in their email bulletin today. 

Happy International Day of Multilingualism!

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書本如一座隨行的花園

March 20, 2019 · No Comments

The saying “a book is like a garden (carried in your pocket)” adorns pillows, mugs, bookmarks, t-shirts, and doormats in English, and the graphic above this paragraph was made by a user of German. But the proverb originated in Chinese.

And ISB’s Chinese parent community has given a gift of books to our students.

Proceeds from the Chinese stand at last year’s International Family Fair (IFF) have gone to fund two orders of books in Mandarin, for the ES Library (Hub) and the MS/HS Library. All of the books are now on shelves. These books were ordered by librarians in collaboration with Mandarin faculty to facilitate independent reading.

The title of this post features a version of the book/garden proverb in Traditional Chinese. Here is a version in Simplified Chinese:

书本如一座随行的花园 

We would like to say to parents 謝謝 and 谢谢!

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21 beneficios de leer en voz alta

March 12, 2019 · No Comments

21 benefits of reading aloud. Without looking at the image below, how many can you name? 

Many of us know, but forget, how valuable it is to read aloud daily to children—even teens. A 21-day challenge this month aims to help families remember. To take part, visit the Read Aloud 21-Day Challenge.

And . . . 

 21 Benefits of Reading Aloud (en español)

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Ask Olga! Early Literacy in Three Languages

February 28, 2019 · 1 Comment

A moment of precious time with our grandchildren: pencils and paper, puzzles and activity books, scissors and glue are scattered about the table. Michelle draws an object of her imagination: a special vacuum cleaner. She draws arrows and labels different parts of the device. Then she gives her drawing a title. She admires her work—the writing is a mix of Cyrillic and Latin scripts. She sometimes finds it easier to write words in the Russian Cyrillic alphabet, with its near-perfect letter-sound correspondence.

Drawing labeled in both Cyrillic and Latin scripts.

Michelle is taking her first steps toward literacy. We tried hard to prepare her for these moments. She has been read to extensively, and she has been learning letters through various games and activities. She knows letters in three languages: Russian, French and English. She is beginning to read simple books in English at school and to write phonetically.

We have anticipated this stage, and now it’s exciting to watch how engaged and focused she is.

Along with excitement come worries.

Languages are written in different ways, sometimes with no similarities at all, and sometimes with similarities that confuse. Children must figure out how letters and signs of different scripts work together to form words and sentences in each language.

Should we encourage Michelle to read and write in all three languages at the same time? Should we wait and let her develop skills in the language of her educational setting, which is English, before attempting to introduce literacy skills in French and Russian?

Many parents have to answer these questions and address these worries. Research on this matter is not prescriptive; it does not supply a clear recommendation or a timeline for learning multiple literacies. What it does say, is that learning to read and write in one language will make it easier to learn to read and write in another, as many reading and writing skills are universal. Research also cautions against disregard for the child’s interest and motivation. Frustration in learning to read and write, which some children experience, might signal some general difficulties in learning, rather than the effect of multilingualism.

On the positive side, the simultaneous approach has great potential for broadening the learner’s perspective on literacy, making comparisons, analyzing more deeply the structural elements of each language, and understanding the purposes and cultural aspects of reading and writing.

Indeed, literacy in several languages can be the key to vast linguistic and cultural resources and the foundation of globally-minded learning. It gives access to diverse knowledge and worldviews.

Two months after labeling her vacuum cleaner, Michelle reads a book in English that she has brought home from school. She is “sounding out” letters and reading simple words on a page. Then she has an idea. “Mama, I will now read this book in Russian,” she says. “I will read the words quietly in my head, in English, and then say them in Russian.” And she does. 

Another day, Michelle creates a text, a recipe for her panda’s favorite soup. She announces the purpose of her writing clearly, in Russian, and then begins to write in English, saying the words slowly but recording with amazing fluency. 

Soup for a panda. Ingredients: two eggs, two bowls of flour, five sticks of bamboo, and one pot of milk and water.

And so, Michelle’s English literacy gains ground. We wait for an opportunity to infuse Russian and French. We know we need to proceed in ways appropriate for a five-year-old.  “The most common mistake people make is to ask for too much too soon.” I came upon this recommendation once for training cats—but somehow it fits perfectly within any learning context! So we are patient, and we take small steps. The same source notes, “If a behavior results in something the [learner] likes, she will do it again.”

As grandparents, we are now planning for our next visit with Michelle and her brother Maxim. Here are a few thoughts on our next steps to support their engagement with literacy.

  • Be ready with a few vocabulary games and activities. Reading can be a source of frustration when a text has too many unknown words.
  • Create short, engaging stories together, modelling writing.
  • Start a daily journal with the children.
  • Write cards and letters to family and friends.
  • Maintain a supply of books in their languages—books with simple text for independent reading, and books with more complex language for reading aloud to the children.
  • Collect stamps, postcards, labels and other objects with print in their languages.
  • Engage children in letter and word sorting games to differentiate different scripts—especially looking for letters that are “the same but different.”
  • Create name cards in multiple languages.
  • Have conversations about literacy.

Recommended reading:

Mother tongue: Why is it important for education?

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Happy International Mother Language Day 2019!

February 21, 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!

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Raising Multilinguals “How?” A Followup Workshop

February 5, 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 February 21 for a new 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. February 21 is also International Mother (Native) Language Day, so mark your calendar and join us to celebrate! If you have questions, please write: nativelanguage@isb.ac.th

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Raising Multilinguals, an Annual Parent Workshop

January 23, 2019 · No Comments

Please join us on Thursday, January 24,  2019, from 7:45-9:15 a.m. in MPB 1 at the top of the Zigag, for a parent workshop called Raising Multilinguals: Unlocking the World with a Family Language Plan. Open to parents in all divisions (ES, MS, and HS), this annual workshop focuses on maintaining students’ native languages while they also study in English at ISB. It is especially useful to new families. More details are here.

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Meet ISB’s After-School Native Language Teachers, Semester 2, 2018-2019

January 17, 2019 · 1 Comment

Semester 2 is underway, and families are registering for activities including language classes. So who provides these classes? To find out, see this new page on the Native Language @ ISB Blog, which introduces our after-school educators.

Their bios include their top tips for maintaining native languages while at ISB!

 

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