We are very fortunate to have so many teachers and students who see the real, tangible benefits of bilingual education in BVIS. Empowering these bilingual students and normalizing bilingualism in BVIS is an area that set us apart from many other international schools around Vietnam and one that we are building upon each year. As an integral plank in our staff professional learning, at the beginning of the school term, we welcomed two PhD students (Gladys Aponte and Khanh Le) from the City University of New York who helped us to better understand the pedagogy surrounding translanguaging. This professional development provides us with the necessary tools and strategies needed within our classrooms. It also allowed teachers the opportunity to reflect on the approaches being used and areas that can be developed further still to assist emerging bilingual students.
This first half term, thanks to Ms. McKie and Ms. Giang Tran, the school took part in translating the book, “All the broken pieces”, an award-winning novel that took us on a journey of a Vietnamese boy named Matt Pin seeking to accustom himself to America after the war.
This week, we hosted Bilingualism Week in the Secondary school and, goodness me, was it a tremendous success. Monday saw a Trilingual Scavenger Hunt which had clues in one of three languages (Vietnamese, Korean and English) and a quiz of origins. As an after-school ECA, we welcomed a group of deaf children from Nhan Chinh School where our students interacted with them using the sign language previously taught to them. Throughout the week, various other activities included just a minute verbal translation (adapted from a radio game show in the UK), designing slogans for t-shirts in both languages and a bilingual spelling bee. It also gave us the opportunity to celebrate some of the many languages that are spoken in the school learnt through lessons taught by both students and teachers (French, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese). It was wonderful to see the energy and enthusiasm displayed by our students and we hope it will inspire them to take up more languages in the future.
This year, the EAL department has introduced a new Q Skills program for all our Key Stage 3 students. The program has started off really well with students being given many opportunities to think critically – and indeed empathically – in a second language. All of these activities take the students beyond bilingualism into the deeper real of biliteracy through improving their academic reading, listening, speaking and, the most challenging area for many students, writing skills. The various other opportunities for Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 students to develop their academic English have escalated and we have no doubt that the students’ drive and motivation will go from strength to strength as the year goes on.