Life at HIS: Using the language of you’re learning


When we come to school, we only have a very limited time to interact in the language of our learning. At HIS, the language of instruction is English, except for our Japanese language classes. At school, we need to use the language of instruction – an important choice for language learners (which is everyone).

In our units of inquiry, we are all learning through language. For example, if we are learning about optical art, we use English to develop our understandings of this type of art form, including its specific academic language such as the related vocabulary. English is also used to demonstrate our understanding in assessment tasks. For this reason, we need to use English in the classroom during the learning process. If we don’t, academic language proficiency will not develop. The same applies to Japanese class. If you only spoke English in Japanese class, it would be little surprise that your academic Japanese would just not improve, no matter how many Japanese classes you attended.

We are all learning language, and especially for students who are learning in an additional language (i.e. English is not the first language) interacting in the language of instruction is extremely important and it involves a student choice, because English may not be the easier option. Yet you need to force yourself to use English in class. Teachers can only control student conversations to a degree. If you want to improve your academic language proficiency – you need to make a conscious decision to use the language of instruction.

HIS is committed to developing bilingual learners, but it will not happen magically.