Mother Tongue

ISPP’s Philosophy of Mother Tongue

The International School of Phnom Penh believes that it is vital that all students have the opportunity to maintain and develop their Mother Tongue (the main language that the student uses at home) wherever feasible. The following extracts are recommendations from the IB.

The research relating to mother-tongue maintenance and development (Cummins and Danesi, in Baker and Prys Jones, 1988) is particularly significant. This research indicates that students following a mother-tongue maintenance and development programme receive the following benefits:

  • They avoid language loss and the resultant negative effects, for example, subtractive bilingualism (where the development of a second language is detrimental to the first language).They perform at least as well (often better) in mainstream subjects (science, humanities, etc) as monolingual students.

  • They perform at least as well (often better) as second-language students who don’t maintain their mother tongue and are schooled wholly in the second language.

  • They retain a positive attitude toward their mother tongue and cultural background when the school shows acceptance of the mother-tongue language, accounting for increased self-esteem and its resultant benefits.

Based on educational research, ISPP believes that students with a strong mother tongue, and those who continue to develop, are far more successful in learning and functioning in another target language. Therefore ISPP is continuously looking for innovative ways to facilitate the maintenance of your child’s Mother Tongue.

The Mother Tongue Programme – Not a Foreign Language Course

The purpose of the programme is to provide the opportunity for all students to develop appropriate skills in their mother tongue according to their age level. The Mother Tongue Programme is not a foreign language course.  Therefore children should be fluent speakers in a language that is spoken at home with at least one parent. The school may determine if a particular student meets the requirements to join a Mother Tongue class.

Please see Mother Tongue information for the Middle Years Programme, and the Diploma Programme below.

SECONDARY MYP (GRADES 6-10)

SECONDARY DIPLOMA (GRADES 11-12)

SECONDARY MIDDLE YEARS (GRADES 6-10)

If students are entering into Diploma and the Language self-taught option (see the Diploma section), it is important they maintain their Mother Tongue language acquisition. There are four possible ways of doing this:

OPTION 1 – scheduled during a normal timetabled day in lieu of Language B instruction

The student takes Mother Tongue lessons during the Language Acquisition (Foreign Language) timetabled slot instead of a foreign language. This would involve the School and parents finding a suitbable teacher/tutor who is available at the same time slot as the Language Acquisition lesson. The School will help to find someone if feasible. The school provides Language Acquisition French, Khmer, Mandarin, Spanish or English within the current tuition and fee structure so parents need to negotiate and pay the cost with the teacher/tutor separately. The school would provide a room for the lessons to take place and some in-service training for that person in the MYP programme and methodologies. This would count as a normal part of the school day and would earn credit towards their transcript. A school report will be issued. ISPP will pay for the tuition of students in any Mother Tongue language where a group of 5 students share that language. Groups may come from Grades 6/7, Grades 8/9 or Grade 10. Currently ISPP supports both the Elementary and Secondary Schools with Khmer, plus Korean in Grades 6-12.

OPTION 2 – scheduled during a normal timetabled day as part of the Wednesday Activities programme

The student takes Mother Tongue lessons during the Global Citizenship Programme (Friday afternoon - 80 minutes). This would involve the parents finding a teacher/tutor who is available at the same time slot as the Language Acquisition lesson. The school will help to find someone if feasible. This would count as a normal part of the school day, but would not earn credit towards their transcript. The student can opt for this possibility for all three rotations or for only one or two of them. If a student does all three rotations, at least one of the rotations will have a service aspect to it.  It would be the responsibility of the parent to pay for the teacher. Upon request, a school report may be issued.

OPTION 3 – after school

The student studies Mother Tongue after school with a recognized teacher/tutor of the school’s choosing. The number of lessons would be negotiated between the parent, tutor and school. The school would provide rooms and resources where applicable. Again it would be the responsibility of the parent to pay for the teacher. This teacher/tutor would need to be aware of the MYP programme and methodologies and in-school training is provided by ISPP. This option is recognized by the MYP and can be recorded on the final MYP certification. A school report will be issued. It does not count as credit as the student will still be doing another Foreign Language in school.

OPTION 4 – tutoring at home

The parents tutor their child at home, but inform the school of the tutor’s name. The tutor would be invited to the school and provided with an overview of the MYP programme and methodologies and any other support we are able to offer them.  This would not have a report and could not count as credit.  However, it will be recognized by the MYP and can be recorded on the final MYP certification.

For questions dealing with the Mother Tongue Programme for MYP students, please contact Ms. Bego Mesa, IB MYP Mother Tongue Programme Coordinator (begomesa@ispp.edu.kh) or Mr. Andy Pontius (andrewpontius@ispp.edu.kh) , IB Middle Years Programme Coordinator

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EAL and Mother Tongue

For students who receive English as an Additional Language (EAL) Support in Grades 6-10, some levels of support include compulsory Mother Tongue language instruction. See Secondary EAL section of the website here for further information.

SECONDARY DIPLOMA (GRADES 11-12)

In the Diploma (Grades 11 & 12) students may opt to study their mother tongue as a Self-taught Language A: Literature course.  This is available at standard level (SL) only and the course may be chosen by both IB and ISPP Diploma students.  Students opting to follow a self-taught course must be competent language users and should have a keen interest in studying literature.  The works studied are chosen from the IB’s Prescribed Lists of Authors for each language and the IB’s generic Prescribed Works in Translation.  The choices are made with the assistance of an English A Literature specialist who will offer advice and ensure that all course requirements are met.  Students who follow self-taught courses are responsible for finding a suitable language tutor who can provide them with guidance and support in their mother tongue.  ISPP will offer assistance in finding such a tutor but does not pay for or appoint the tutor. The tutor will be expected to provide feedback to the school regarding the student’s progress and performance levels throughout the course.  To this end, the tutor’s name and contact details must be given to the Diploma Coordinator and the English teacher supporting the self-taught students.  Parents will be asked to sign a letter confirming their son or daughter’s competence in the mother tongue.  Some of the student’s weekly scheduled time for the self-taught lessons will be spent with the English A Literature teacher, who will provide guidance and advice on the expectations of the various course components.   

Students who opt to follow Self-taught Language A: Literature course will also need to take an additional language subject (Language A or Language Acquisition). Whatever their choice, they will be eligible for a Bilingual Diploma.

For questions dealing with the Mother Tongue Programme for Diploma students, please contact Ms. Julie Shaw, IB DP Self-taught Coordinator (julieshaw@ispp.edu.kj) or Mr. Simon Underhill, IB Diploma Programme Coordinator (simonunderhill@ispp.edu.kh)

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