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BIS Hanoi Focused on Raising the Standard of their Students’ English

07 September 2018

Mastery of English is a focus for the secondary school this year

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Today, we enjoyed a fun and informative assembly presented by Duc Tuan (Year 11) and Ha Ngan (Year 13). Duc Tuan and Ngan had attended the Nord Anglia New York UNICEF Summit, this summer. Their presentation demonstrated that they had enjoyed an enriching experience. Collaborating with students around the world, within an inspiring setting, had generated some deep learning. Duc Tuan and Ngan advertised  their commitment to share their learning with other students through their UNICEF Global Goals ECA, which opens in the week beginning 17th September.

Duc Tuan and Ha Ngan presented to nearly 500 students, confidently. Their blend of rhetoric, humour and carefully designed visuals was evidence of their growing mastery of the English language and how to adapt it to different audiences. Mastery of English is a focus for the secondary school this year, and student-led assemblies is one area where students can practice and measure their progress as English language users.  

BIS Hanoi Teachers Hone their English Language Teaching Skills, too

Presently, whilst ECAs are being planned, our teaching teams have additional time for professional development. On Wednesday night, I dropped in on two excellent training sessions, which provide further evidence of our commitment to raising the standard of our students’ English.

TESMC at BIS Hanoi  

Ms Rojas was leading a new cohort of teachers through the Teaching English in the Mainstream Classroom (TESMC) course. This course helps mainstream teachers of Science, Mathematics and other disciplines adapt their lesson content to learners of English. We have found the course helps teachers meet the language learning needs of our students more effectively. The course will run for 2 hours per week throughout term 1.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, Ms Wilson, Head of English, and Mr Tchakov (EAL teacher) led a training session on intensive marking of written English. The session supported teachers to identify spelling, grammar and punctuation errors using a tool developed by Ms Wilson’s English department. The group of teachers from a range of subjects including PE, Science and Humanities found it really useful. The tool’s focus on encouraging students to identify and self correct grammar errors is a strong feature of its success.

Translanguaging at BIS Hanoi

BIS Hanoi students must learn to think in at least two languages, if they are to pass the IBDP, successfully. To support this we will be structuring some thinking time in class, which will be described as translanguaging. Translanguaging describes a structured and time specific period of learning when students are allowed to explore a concept or topic in their home language. This proceeds the next stage in their learning, when they begin transforming their home language thoughts into the medium of English language. However, we will always insist that English is used primarily in the classroom, hallways and dining hall, as English is the one language that binds us together in our increasingly diverse British international school.

Tim Webb

Head of Secondary