Community language evolves from Vietnamese to English as students cognitively develop and acquire appropriate literacy skills. As students transition from Early Years to Primary School, the common language in social contexts shifts to English in preparation for the MYP program.
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Starting in the Early Years (EYs), all students are exposed to Vietnamese language and culture within the context of an inquiry-driven, play-based, PYP early years programme. At this level the focus is on cultural identity, learning about language as a form of communication, and learning through the language of Vietnamese with their homeroom teachers.
Throughout Primary School (K – 5) Vietnamese is the primary language of instruction utilized for the National curriculum. The goals are to develop an appreciation and understanding of the host culture and acquire Vietnamese as a language of communication. Throughout the primary years students are exposed to a bilingual environment in core classes such as Math and Science that are taught in both Vietnamese and English. In addition, specialist classes such as Technology, Art, and the PYP Units of Inquiry are taught in English.
Non-Vietnamese students will experience an immersion model in the humanities subjects (Language, Social Studies) and a bilingual model in the other MOET core subjects (Math, Science, Art, and Technology).
Throughout MYP, students not enrolled in a native level Vietnames language class are required to take Vietnamese as an Additional Language (VAL) in all Grades 6 – 10 in order to meet the IB language acquisition requirements.
Key features of the research-based English as an Additional Language (EAL) program include
1. Collection, organization, analyzation, and dissemination of relevant student information to monitor progress and target individual student needs.
2. Integrated instructional approach in the primary years (K – 5):
– A bilingual model in core subjects (Math/Science) provides the means for students to experience the same learning outcomes in both Vietnamese and English to enhance their contextual understanding of the concepts.
– Specialist classes (Art, Technology, UOI) provide English instruction utilizing a translanguaging approach that allows students to acquire conceptual understanding through communication in their native tongue if needed but requires them to demonstrate understanding in English.
– Co-teaching between content teachers and EAL specialists as a means of promoting the translanguaging approach. Traditionally known as a push-in model.
– Dedicated EAL classes, or pull-out model, focused on developing the fundamental reading, writing, and listening skills necessary for success across all content areas.
A person who is bilingual is able to use two languages with equal fluency (In 2021 the research showed that 43% of the world population was bilingual).
The goal of bilingual education programs is to enable English language learners to become competent in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in the English language through the development of literacy and academic skills in the primary language and English.
Bilingual education develops important cognitive skills such as problem solving, logic, critical thinking and creativity because it exercises your brain and forces you to think about how you can express and effectively convey your thoughts with the vocabulary you possess in each language.
Studies show that being bilingual has many cognitive benefits. According to research, speaking a second language can mean that you have a better attention span and can multitask better than monolinguals. This is because being bilingual means you are constantly switching from one language to the other.
A successful bilingual program develops students’ language and literacy proficiency, leads them in successful academic achievement, and nurtures sociocultural integration. The level of language and literacy development for each language will depend on the goals of the program.
If a job opening comes down to candidates of equal experience and education, but one is fluent in more than one language it’s most likely the bilingual applicant that’s getting the position. Even as early in the hiring process as when you submit your resume, being bilingual makes an impression.