At the MIS we firmly believe that learning must be a positive experience for children if they are to lead fulfilling lives. Our bilingual primary school consequently brings together two essential requirements for successful learning: a first class curriculum and concern for the development of the whole student. Our educational philosophy is to identify and nurture students' individual abilities.
The curriculum followed in the bilingual primary school (Classes 1 to 4) complies with the requirements of the internationally recognised Cambridge International Education programme and the Federal State of Hesse:
Studies on bilingualism have shown that children at a relatively early age tend to acquire additional languages with the same ease with which they acquire their native language. Developing two languages simultaneously does not inhibit the learning of either.
Young children possess innate strategies of comprehension that enable them to learn a language quite independently of any rational control mechanism. It is now an accepted fact that multilingualism tends not only to promote all cognitive and creative processes but also leads to improved communicative abilities in one’s own native language.
MIS develops our students’ bilingual potential through Early Language Immersion methods.
Early Language Immersion is a method of teaching a second language, in this case, English. MIS students begin their Language Immersion at a very early age, usually by the age of six.
Unlike a more traditional language course, where the target language is simply the subject material, language immersion uses the target language as a teaching tool, surrounding, or "immersing" students in the second language. In-class subjects and activities, such as math, social studies and history, and those outside of the class, such as meals, recess, or everyday tasks, are conducted in the second language.
Children of today will more than likely need to be bilingual or even trilingual to be successful in the global society and economy of their adulthood. Today two languages are useful - tomorrow they will be required, and a third language will be desired.
An optimal time to learn languages is prior to age eleven. Research on brain development in recent decades supports this claim, with wide discussion in the popular media. Our brains are wired to produce all sounds, but if we don't learn to make certain sounds, we can lose that ability.
Children learn language by listening and repeating, and don't have any fear of a "foreign" language. Children learn their second language the same way they learned their first - by speaking and repeating in context.
Could you provide us with some links from reliable sources to learn more about the advantages of multilingualism?
Absolutely! There are many published articles with a lot of useful information on the subject and the ones below are just some we found particularly interesting.
For the third year in a row, the MIS Viernheim Secondary School and the DELF coordinator Myriam Denzel, are offering the "Diplôme d'Études en langue Française" (DELF), which is awarded by the French Ministry of Education.
This "DELF scolaire" exam is an additional incentive for our French learners, as it is based on the requirements of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and its language levels and thus officially tests the students' four language skills (listening comprehension, reading comprehension, text production and oral use). Further information can be found on the website of the French Institutes: www.ciep.fr/de/delf-fur-schuler-diplome-detudes-langue-francaise-0.
In May/June 2017, Jolanda Bolt and Gianluca Maniaci successfully passed the "DELF scolaire" level A1 for the first time at the MIS; just one year later, she and her classmate Sonja Filipp bravely reached the next level A2. Toutes nos félicitations!
Experience has shown that the part of the oral examination poses the greatest challenge, as it is conducted by external examiners from the "Institut Français" in Heidelberg and the candidates have to adapt to new people quickly. In addition to language skills, a pinch of courage and curiosity for this exciting exam is also required. Of course, together with the French teachers Mrs. Denzel and Mrs. Mueller-Liu, the examination format is continuously practised in realistic situations, role plays and rehearsals. Systematic vocabulary expansion and training in writing, enable the students to understand original language announcements or conversations as well as writing short letters or e-mails.
For this year's "DELF scolaire" A1 in May/June 2019, Ms. Mueller-Liu's French class will learn to master various everyday situations in the French language and culture appropriately. In this way, the candidates not only strengthen their communicative, language-relevant abilities, but also learn to assess their own strengths and weaknesses in language learning and thus gain self-confidence in exam situations and confidence in their own ability.