Language is a form of communication central to every student’s intellectual, social and emotional development. Language plays an essential role in all learning areas and is the major connecting element across the curriculum.
Tesla Education is committed to the development and daily use of multiple languages throughout the student educational experience. We believe multilingualism enhances cognitive skills, creativity, problem-solving, and self-identity, in addition to supporting intercultural communication and global awareness.
In conjunction with our integrated curriculum, Tesla School aspires to provide an integrated approach to language development. We blend the research-based theories of additive bilingualism and translanguaging to provide a learning environment that is cognitively appropriate and progressive. Our goals are to ensure that new languages do not replace the native tongue and provide an environment for students to acquire new languages naturally and in context with their prior knowledge of the world around them.
Language learning at Tesla Education is underpinned by the following principles:
– Language is used to construct meaning, deepen our understanding of the world and is the major connecting element across the curriculum.
– Maintaining a student’s mother tongue promotes successful academic and cognitive development.
– Promoting multilingualism is research-based best practice and preserves the culture and tradition of our diverse learning community.
– The acquisition of an additional language should be in conjunction with a learner’s cognitive development across all content areas.
– Language can be seen to develop along a continuum of learning from the earliest stages of language acquisition through to high level proficiency as a “native speaker”.
– Every student has individual needs that are dependent on a large range of factors (native language proficiency, age, exposure to English, previous education, etc.) and the rate or progression of English language development can be widely variable.
– Students learn best when they are actively involved in listening, speaking, reading and writing in authentic contexts using meaningful and engaging language tasks.
– The four dimensions of activating prior learning, scaffolding meaning, extending language and affirming identity promote learner participation and engagement in all subject areas.
– Learning Vietnamese, the language of our host country, is required for all students as a means to successfully interact with the wider community, extend thinking and communication skills as well and demonstrate respect.
Three core drivers underpin language use on campus or at any Tesla Education event/activity as follows:
1. Languages of instruction are English and Vietnamese. Students have access to the curriculum in both languages (Note: this is with the obvious exception of any other language classes which will be taught in the target language).
2. Community language evolves from Vietnamese to English as students cognitively develop and acquire appropriate literacy skills. As students transition from lower Primary (K – 2) to upper Primary (G3 – G5), the common language in social contexts shifts to English in preparation for the MYP program. The community language in secondary school is English.
3. Additive bilingualism, and the promotion of a healthy student self-identity, is consistently supported across all aspects of the educational experience. Tesla Education celebrates the diverse linguistic profile of our school and the use of additional languages other than English and Vietnamese are encouraged as a means to promote learning and enhance inclusivity.
In practice, our Early Years (EY) and Primary (PYP) programs promote dual common languages of Vietnamese and English with a gradual shift toward the latter in upper primary, Grades 3 – 5. In secondary school, the common language on campus is designated as English in order to properly prepare the students for the rigors of the all-English IB Diploma Program in the final two years of high school.