We aim to support the maintenance and development of the home languages of our students.
The International School of Western Australia actively supports our international students and their families during their time in Australia by assisting them to adjust to a new language, learning environment and culture. We value the variety of languages that are a part of our school.
We understand that:
- Students attach new languages to their home languages and dialects, therefore it is important that the home language be maintained.
- Moreover, research states that maintenance of the child’s first language or dialect is of significant importance in maintaining a sense of self and supporting linguistic development.
- Students will learn languages at a different rate depending on their prior experience, home language, and the new environments in which they are learning it.
- Bilingual students may appear to underperform initially but eventually, they will start to outperform their monolingual peers.
The International School of Western Australia aims to foster students’ home languages in a variety of ways, by:
- Allowing students to use their home language in the classroom and the wider school environment to clarify their understandings of new language and concepts.
- Giving students opportunities to think about learning in their home language.
- Giving students opportunities to compare and contrast their home language and the new language.
- Encouraging parental and community engagement to create reciprocal relationships.
- Recognising and celebrating our community of diverse language groups through activities and events such as Harmony Day and Languages Week.
- Providing access to online bilingual language dictionaries, translation tools and devices, such as:
- World Book Online: Encyclopedia available in many languages
- Encouraging the use of the bilingual fiction and non-fiction books available at the library
- Clickview: Clickview TV allows students to watch episodes of SBS news, which has foreign language news programs in 37 languages
- World Stories: Stories available in many languages
- International Digital Childrens Library: Range of books read in a variety of languages and is categorized by age groups, length of book, fiction or non-fiction
- Eduscapes Audio Stories: Audio stories read in multiple languages for a range of ages
- Online Public Library: One website that contains many websites to support language development, with some audio stories provided in a range of languages
- Mamemi Audio Stories: Many audio stories available in a range of languages
The International School of Western Australia promotes the use of independent language programmes that are incorporated into our co-curricular programme.
Currently the home languages that are supported in this way include:
- Dutch, offered by LanguageOne Dutch School
- French, offered by Alliance Française
- Italian, offered by ISWA
- Spanish, offered by ISWA in collaboration with Instituto Cervantes and the University of Western Australia
- Mandarin, offered by ISWA.
Parents are encouraged to foster their child’s home language development and may like to utilise the following ideas:
- Speaking with their child in their home language
- Reading with their child in their home language
- Providing reference materials in their home language to support concepts covered in school
- Discussing concepts covered in school in the home language
- Participating in the diverse cultural activities offered at school
- Organising social events with other families who have the same home language.