Leadership for Languages: Do you know what is happening in your language classes?

June 4, 2019

 

 

School leaders have a big job, by any measure. In international schools this can be compounded, as they often have other duties alongside traditional leadership duties. Nonetheless, approaches to teaching and learning fall firmly within the duties of a school leader. Languages are at the centre of international education, and need to be given leadership from the top down, from language policy to classroom pedagogy. I've blogged before about what I perceive to be the all too frequent gap between leadership and languages. A reader asked me how they could make sure they know 'what they need to know' about languages in their school, so I've created this (short - could be much longer!) leadership checklist.

 

Leadership for languages checklist:

 

1. Do you know the language ecology of your school, through the data?

a. The number of students who have English as an additional language (or other school language) - and what these numbers represent?

b. The home languages of your student body, in groups (actual, not by passport country!)

c. The number of students who have the host country language as home language

 

2. Do you know the curriculum/curricular approach being used in languages, and is it aligned with your school approach to teaching and learning? 

a. EAL provisions (stand alone and integrated)

b. Home language provisions 

c. Host country language provisions

d. World languages (MFL)

 

3. Do you know the pedagogical approach being used in languages, and is it aligned with your school approach to teaching and learning? 

a. EAL provisions (stand alone and integrated)

b. Home language provisions 

c. Host country language provisions

d. World languages (MFL)

 

4. How is language development tracked in an integrated way across all languages a student uses? Is there a system in place for understanding home language development? Is there a clear system in place for monitoring and assessing EAL? 

 

5. Are all of the above clearly aligned with your school language policy? 

 

I firmly believe that all international school leaders should have at least this minimal level of knowledge about how languages are dealt with in their school - it's an important part of an international school ethos to have languages at the centre, and the school leader needs to put them there!
 

 

 

 

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