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The PYP recognises that the developments of children’s first and subsequent languages are fundamental, to all school learning. Without the necessary language skills children cannot understand and develop new ideas and concepts. The process of disciplined talk/ classroom discussion and the transference of this talk to paper, thinking on paper. demand a mental effort that is the basis of the educational process. (The mental activity involved in this process, through talking, listening, thinking and writing, can only take place with the use of language.) The implications in terms of PYP classroom practise is clear: there must be time for disciplined discussion, for writing lists, for grouping and ordering ideas, for drafting and redrafting, for rearranging ideas and refining thoughts. These activities, take place not only in language classes but also in social studies, science, mathematics, physical education and music, across the curriculum. Language development is central to educational progress. All teachers are language teachers; all students learn through language.
In addition to learning how to use language to learn, children also learn about the language. The PYP encourages children to experiment with language: to write for a variety of purposes and for a variety of audiences, adjusting the style accordingly. As well as personal expressive writing found in all elementary schools, PYP develops factual and explanatory writing. Awareness and increasingly accurate use of the conventions of written language, that is grammar, sentence and paragraph structure, spelling and punctuation are an important part of the PYP language programme. The PYP recognises the importance of mastering these conventions and also recognises that they are most successfully taught in the context of meaningful communication rather than in isolated practice drills. Children learn to read and write in the same way they learn to speak, naturally and slowly, in meaningful contexts, using increasingly accurate approximations of adult norms.
The PYP is also aware of the special role language plays in international schools. Increasing facility in the mother tongue maintains cultural identity, emotional stability and creates a sense of belonging. The acquisition of more than one language, English as a Second Language (ESL) and/or Bahasa Indonesian as the Host Country Language, enriches personal growth and encourages understanding of other cultures.
The PYP also emphasises the need for children to be brought into contact with quality literature. By reading, and listening to books being read, children’s imaginations are developed. They can explore ideas and feelings that they may be unable to experience first hand, and they are made aware how ideas and images are created by language.
|Decreased Emphasis On||Increased Emphasis on|
|language as isolated strands||integrated language development|
|language as a separate discipline||language as a transdisciplinary element|
|skill-drill texts and workbooks||a literature-based approach|
|decoding only for accuracy||reading for meaning|
|teacher-imposed writing||student initiated writing|
|writing primarily for accuracy||writing for meaning|
|writing only as a product||writing as a process|
|using language for rote learning||using language for creative problem solving and information processing|
|print only||multi-media resources|
|Students are:||In Language|
|Inquirers||They use language as their prime medium of inquiry to learn through and about language.|
|Thinkers||They use language precisely and skilfully in the context of higher level thinking.|
|Communicators||They are confident users of oral and written language forms in a variety of situations.|
|Risk-takers||They attempt to read, write and speak in situations where they may not feel totally competent.|
|Knowledgeable||They understand the internal structures of language and the various influences on its development. They have experience of a wide range of literature.|
|Principled||They are aware that language is powerful, that it can have a profound effect, and that it must be used responsibly.|
|Caring||They show responsible, caring attitudes towards the use of language and they value literature for the insight it gives into the feelings of others.|
|Open-minded||They respect differences and similarities between languages and dialects. They are aware of the use of language as an expression of bias and strive to maintain an objective stance.|
|Well-balanced||They are aware of the need for an educated person to be an effective communicator. They use literature for learning and for leisure.|
|Reflective||They reflect upon their own levels of language development in their mother tongue and other languages. They consciously work at improving their language proficiency.|
The PYP recognises that language, humans’ major means of thinking and communicating, is fundamental to learning, permeating and underpinning the whole curriculum. International schools have a special responsibility to recognise and support their students in the learning of the host country language. The acquisition of the host country language enhances cognitive growth; enriches the personal experience of living in the host country, allows students to communicate and socialise with their host country schoolmates and in their local community; gives a deeper awareness of cultural values and traditions and of social norms different from their own.
Learning another language also brings greater awareness and understanding of one’s home language and how it works and of one’s own culture and cultural identity. The primary focus of the Bahasa Indonesian as the Host Country Language curriculum is to facilitate student understanding and the use of spoken Indonesian. Reading and writing Indonesian are also taught but the emphasis of the program is on confident, fluent oral language use. Listening, speaking, reading and writing are taught in an integrated and interactive manner.
Learning Indonesian as the host country language can be broken down into the following areas:
a) Learning how to use Indonesian in everyday situations, for social interactions and in leisure activities. Topics will include: making friends and visiting, shopping and money, clothes, weather, the seasons, food and eating out and leisure time activities;
b) Learning about Indonesia and Indonesian culture, its customs, traditions and holidays, literature history and geography;
c) Learning about the Indonesian language and how it works compared to other languages;
d) Learning through Indonesian about the personal, social and scientific worlds in close collaboration with the School’s transdisciplinary Program of Inquiry.
We want children to understand that the sounds of Indonesian are different from the sounds of English and other language. Children become familiar with the sounds of Indonesian and develop a feeling for them. At first they will begin to understand key sounds. Some children will imitate the teacher or their friends and gradually use single words or sentences they have heard often. Their development of Indonesian will proceed just like the development of their mother tongue.
The Home Connection for Indonesian the Host Country Language
When learning Indonesian as a foreign language, it is important for a child to feel supported at home. By setting a positive example, parents can demonstrate how important they believe success in learning Indonesian to be. Parents often take lessons of their own which may relate to what is learned in the classroom. You may take your child to the local library, where appropriate Indonesian books can be borrowed. To aid understanding, it is advised to visit local museums, see movies in Indonesian, and watch Indonesian television (especially cartoons), join a local sports club or team sport, and encourage your child to make an Indonesian friend in your neighbourhood. Invite Indonesian friends from school to visit your home and accept invitations for your child to visit their homes.By making language learning a valued aspect of living in Indonesia, your child will be more able to acquire the host country language with relative ease and speed.
How Indonesian is Taught to Children in the Early Childhood Classes
EC children have Indonesian two times a week. EC children learn most effectively in a stable peer group. Consequently the classes are not separated into native / non native groupings. Rather, the students remain in their class groups and learn from the Indonesian teacher and each other. Formal language instruction would be age inappropriate for children at this age. From the Student’s perspective the lessons are playful and informal. Students engage with Indonesian through stories, drama, finger plays, arts and crafts. They learn by listening and doing.