Nord Anglia Education
WRITTEN BY
Nord Anglia
05 October, 2020

Our EAL Students Thrive

In reality, those of us fortunate enough to grow up in bilingual environments probably had it tough from the get-go but perhaps haven’t realised how lucky we are!
Our EAL Students Thrive Though it is longer than I care to admit, I remember walking into my reception classroom in Sydney with not a single word of English. It was daunting, stressful, and uncomfortable. 008A0319ajpg

Though it is longer than I care to admit, I remember walking into my reception classroom in Sydney with not a single word of English. It was daunting, stressful, and uncomfortable.

By Maria Pantasoulas, Head of Secondary EAL

Years later, with English under my belt, and now in a Greek high school, the teacher commented to a two-time repeater of the class, “Even Maria is doing better than you!” I felt insulted! Of course I was! And why wouldn’t I be? I might not have spoken the best Greek, it might have taken significantly more time to understand the lessons in a language I had only shared at home with my family, but I was a strong student academically.

While many of us have hopefully not had such experiences, as an international community, there are few amongst us that don’t speak additional languages or who don’t have English as a second or even third language.

Many times, we associate being an English additional language (EAL) speaker with a stigma; we connect it with students lacking in academic ability. This, however, could not be further from the truth. In reality, those of us fortunate enough to grow up in bilingual environments probably had it tough from the get-go but perhaps haven’t realised how lucky we are!

Following are some of the benefits associated with multilingualism:

  • People who learn another language do significantly better in standardised tests.
  • Managing more than one language requires attention control, cognitive skills, and a larger working memory.
  • Multilingual people manage multitasking more efficiently and are better at solving problems.
  • Learning a language means learning its culture, therefore, multilingual people show greater empathy.

Our EAL students at BISS thrive, with many of them achieving 40+ at IB. Take a look at these students who, in the past two years, chose to study their mother tongue at IB and English as their second language:

42% of students achieving 40+ in 2019 were in English B!

  • Jinheon Choi 40
  • Ebba Jarnekull 43
  • Seokwon Jeong 43
  • Sungjin Kim 41
  • Minwoo Lee 40
  • Roy Pinhasi 43
  • Minwoo Sung 42
  • Chansik Yoon 43

40% of students achieving 40+ in 2020 were in English B!

  • Kai-Yun Jiang 41
  • Minseo Kang 42
  • Jinho Lee 40
  • Hsin-Tao Lin 41
  • Kyungtaek Roh 40
  • Yuna Sung 42

We could not be prouder of them. So, no matter how hard the journey, I’ll always take being a polyglot to a monoglot. And if you are at the other end and English is your mother tongue, it’s time to start speaking another language!