As the demographics of international schools change, so do possibilities and expectations for English language learning. To answer the global call for a more robust English language curriculum, ISS launched the World Language Initiative (WLI) and a three- course certification program for English as an Additional Language (EAL). In the spirit of additive multilingualism, ISS is collaborating with schools around the world to offer a new research-based pedagogy and methodology, along with the opportunity to transform how we teach English Language Learners in international schools.
Today, host country national students represent 80% of international school demographics, and the modern international school classroom faces two basic expectations:
- To foster high English achievement across all areas of the school, giving students a trajectory aimed at admission to and success in an English-medium university
- To support students in maintaining and flourishing in their mother tongue, creating an environment of ‘immersion’ language education
In the past, many international schools perceived EAL as a deficit program. However, with the above values in mind, ISS sees it is one of enrichment. We believe in considering both English and the student’s mother tongue in EAL instructional delivery, not only to encourage a culture of respect, but to lay the foundation for an outstanding, world-class education.
NCPA: The Catalyst School
Nansha College Preparatory Academy is a private, co-educational, U.S. curriculum boarding school in Guangdong, China. Nearly all of its students are Chinese nationals and non-native English speakers. NCPA’s first cohort of students entered Grade 9 with an average Grade 5 reading level in English. During their four years at NCPA, students studied under an immersion program based on the Common Core standards and guided by the WLI EAL. The Class of 2016, the first graduating class , was made up of 64 student graduates.
100% of NCPA graduates received college acceptances from colleges and universities in Australia, Canada, Switzerland, and U.S.A.; with an average of 5.6 offers per graduate.
NCPA Results for the First Graduating Class in 2016
- AP Scholar Awards 2016
- 18 AP Scholars
- 6 AP Scholars with Honor
- 18 AP Scholars with Distinction
- 12 AP Courses offered: Biology, Art, Calculus AB&BC, Chemistry, English Language, Environmental Science, Macro/Microeconomics, Physics, Statistics, Human Geography
- 145 students sat for 334 exams
- Mean AP test score across current programs was 3.41
- 72% of examinees earned 3 or higher
- 86.2% earned 3 or higher on at least one AP exam
- 29% earned AP Awards
According to metrics published in The Washington Post, the NCPA Class of 2016 scored an impressive 5.20 in the Access to Rigorous Program category, which measures the number of tests per number of graduates.
- NCPA would rank:
- #3 in Illinois top 20 high schools
- #10 in New York’s top 20
- #18 in California’s top 20
- #174 of 2300+ schools in the US
The WLI EAL certification program will:
- Identify language-learning targets that are aligned with content-learning targets, at each grade level and in each subject area
- Leverage the native cultures and languages of English learners, understanding that students' home languages are not interferences, but entry points
- Use diagnostic, formative and summative assessment data to guide instructional practice
- Employ scaffolding and differentiation strategies to help all students – regardless of language proficiency level – progress towards grade-level expectations
- Encourage students to become independent interpreters and producers of complex texts
Teachers are free to take the courses offered separately or as part of the broader program offered over two years at their school and online – both options lead to an EAL certificate from ISS and a richer language experience for their students.
ISS is very excited to work with the world-renowned Dr. Gini Rojas, faculty member for the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), co-creator of the WLI EAL program and primary instructor for the ISS EAL Certificate program. Dr. Rojas specializes in backwards design curriculum modeling that helps strengthen English learners’ second language proficiency. She provides professional development trainings, job coaching and demonstration lessons and conducts linguistic audits of EAL (English as an Additional Language) programs. Dr. Rojas has worked with school districts in the US, Canada and 300 international schools around the world. She is also the author of Strategies for Success with English Language Learners: An Action Toolkit for Classroom and ESL Teachers (2007) and Educating English Language Learners: Connecting Language, Literacy, and Culture (2010).
All Teachers are Language Teachers
If language is the currency of learning, international schools are especially prosperous. With this in mind, Dr. Gini Rojas and ISS have created three cutting-edge courses in EAL instruction:
Course #1: Teaching English as an Additional and Academic Language (TEAAL)
This course redefines current approaches to EAL instruction in international schools away form a learning-support program to a language-immersion program and emphasizes the difference between a 'fixed- vs. growth-EAL mindset' as a way of daily instructional life.
Branksome Hall, Jeju Island, Korea: February 10-13, 2017
Course #2: Curriculum and Assessment for English Language Learners (CAELL)
This course is offered online and offers participants an opportunity to practice planning and teaching a standards-driven and evidence-centered curriculum model implemented collaboratively by mainstream and EAL teachers (either in or out of the class).
Online: February 13 - April 28, 2017
Course #3: English Language, Linguistics, and Learning in International Schools (ELLIS)
This course explores how applied linguistics can be used to address important issues specific to international schools. Teachers analyze how language and learning interact and ultimately present an action plan research proposal on a selected issue from their schools.
Nansha College Preparatory Academy (NCPA), China: June 11-15, 2017
Through a blend of theory and practice based on Stanford University’s Six Key Principles For ELL Instruction, these courses create schools that are fluent in language-immersion philosophies and practices. Enrolled educators are given the resources and specialized guidance they need for a high-challenge, high-support foundation to EAL instruction.
Upon successful completion of a WLI EAL course, students may apply to SUNY Buffalo State to receive graduate credits for an additional fee. WLI EAL courses do not need to be taken sequentially.
"The WLI EAL program is exactly what International School teachers have been waiting for! This program is specifically designed for our context, marrying best practice theory and practical classroom application. Unpacking ELL Principles (Stanford, 2013), exploring myths, targeting teaching and learning that honors inclusive education are all at the heart of this course.
- Anissa, ESL Program Leader
The WLI EAL program facilitates a culture wherein all teachers are language teachers. It requires educators to intentionally reflect on our beliefs, "baggage" and daily practices. The WLI EAL provides a myriad of cooperative learning, differentiation and assessment strategies, along with the opportunity to collaborate with teachers around the world.
Dr. Gini Rojas's expertise, passion and more than forty years of research and insights in the field of EAL has culminated into the WLI EAL program. In three comprehensive modules, this course puts a stop to "Groundhog Day" and ensures Gini's legacy of ELL advocacy becomes a reality for all students at school."
Having completed all the three courses along with my colleagues here at International School Manila, the program not only benefited me professionally, but also impacted our mainstreaming ESL program school-wide. We have adopted the Co-teaching Planning Template, along with other strategies for collaboration and differentiation in our co-taught classes. Gini Rojas' recommendation with regards to where we can improve as a department is one of the focus goal last year, and something we continue to work on this school year.
- Jacky, ESL TA Coordinator, High School
Personally, I greatly appreciate all the updated readings and viewings on current research in language learning. It makes sense to me, as I align my classroom planning on pedagogical foundations based on best practices of teaching and learning. Excellent resources have been added to my bookmark bar, I am grateful that there are additional resources and tools for every learning experience I can think of! The instructor, Gini Rojas, is not only a veteran in the field, but the best in EAL instruction. For her to be my mentor, allowed me to be more reflective on my approaches to teaching and learning in general.
Ready to transform English language learning at your school?
In addition to our online course offerings, ISS provides WLI EAL courses on site for schools around the world. The outcomes for for schools who have elected to host WLI courses have been dramatic and long lasting – particularly for those who encourage teachers to continue in the program and receive their certification. For more information about hosting a WLI EAL course at your school and transforming your EAL instructional practices, contact Bruce McWilliams, ISS Executive Vice President.