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Madinat Khalifa Secondary Headlines | Monday 20 November

20 November 2017

  • Paul M newsletter

English Language Acquisition – Set The Challenge!

Our Secondary school community is becoming familiar with the Compass Model for Success and how, if applied consistently, great things will happen.

Last week, staff from our four schools in Qatar, came together at Rayaan Campus for an extended staff training session. The main focus of the session was how our students learn English language skills when it is their second and, sometimes, third language. We compared the structures of the English language when compared to other popular first languages we have within our school community. With Arabic being the most popular ‘mother tongue’ at CISD, we explored that, even within this colourful and vibrant language, you have formal, national and even regional dialects that are present in our school every day.

You have given your children a wonderful opportunity by choosing CISD to educate them but we, parents and teachers, must have a strong focus upon the use of English as the ‘common’ language within our school environment. We explored current thinking on how English language can be nurtured over time and what is needed to ensure students make improvements in every lesson. There is a simple and obvious correlation between the more English spoken, the less time it will take to learn essential skills related to reading, writing as well as increasing functional vocabulary. The more opportunities you have to speak English, the quicker you learn.

In assembly last week, I shared this information with Years 7, 8 and 9 students and challenged them to only speak English in their lessons. We do appreciate that it must be difficult to resist the temptation to slip back into your mother tongue when you are surrounded by people who speak the same language.  Furthermore, many may find the English language challenging to understand. If your child listens to others and always speaks English, their understanding will improve much quicker leading to more progress and greater attainment.

Our teachers encourage and ask for English to be used in every lesson as they find it wonderful to observe the students’ progress. We are always amazed at how quickly English language skills can improve when students embrace the challenge, listens and works hard.

If a student is motivated and commits the time to improve, then they will find success – it’s a fact!

Paul McConnell

Head of Secondary