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Learning English

Students who arrive at ICS with limited English skills are supported by the 'English as an Additional Language' (EAL) programme. This provides a caring, flexible and supportive environment to help students integrate socially and become successful academically.

EAL support is provided to help your child succeed in the mainstream classroom. EAL teachers and assistants help your child develop the language skills, learning strategies and cultural awareness needed to be successful at ICS.

EAL in the Primary School

The Primary School EAL department aims to meet the specific needs of students for whom English is a second or additional language.

In addition to promoting cognitive growth, language is an important factor in maintaining a student's cultural identify and in developing inter-cultural understanding. English is the language of instruction at ICS, and therefore developing skills in English takes particular priority in our language programme. Upon joining ICS, students who are non-native English speakers are assessed by an EAL specialist who both determines their specific needs and designs a programme of support. Understanding that language acquisition is a developmental process that takes place over a number of years, we strive to provide a customized support programme that may include both in-class assistance and small group lessons outside of the regular classroom as needed.

The EAL curriculum focuses on the development of oral communication (both listening and speaking), as well as reading and writing skills in English. Students learn both social and academic language in these lessons, allowing them to interact socially with peers and be successful in their classes.

EAL in the Secondary School

EAL specialist teachers assess new students’ English language skills in order to decide on an appropriate level of support. The support options are:

- classes in English as an Additional Language (EAL) or English for Academic Purposes (EAP)
- Sheltered Humanities classes
- Sheltered English classes
- In-class support in certain subjects such as science.

EAL students are encouraged to show their knowledge and understanding in mainstream subjects by completing modified activities and assessments while still developing their academic language skills. This may include them carrying out adjusted tasks, or being given extra time or individual support. The EAL department also offers Homework Support after school so that students can have one-on-one assistance.

Mother Tongue Support

The school encourages students to maintain and develop their mother tongue language. ICS will help in finding teachers and offer advice to any language group wishing to set up a mother tongue maintenance course at any Grade level. Please note: mother tongue classes can only be scheduled outside school hours. Any tutor or group wishing to use the school’s facilities for this must comply with the formal application process. Details are available from the school office.

The school will reimburse 50% of the cost of recognised and approved mother-tongue classes for Secondary students up to a maximum of CHF 600 per student per school year. Such support can only be given if the details are discussed and agreed with the school in advance of the tuition. Reimbursements will be paid directly to parents at the end of the school year, when they present the official invoices for the tuition. Please note that this does not apply to classes in German or English, as we have comprehensive provision for both languages within the school.

Want to improve your English..?

Many websites can help you learn English as an Additional Language. Examples:

The BBC Skillswise website offers you help with English and Maths.

Connect with English offers 15-minute teaching videos for students of English.

Do puzzles and quizzes, read grammar and practise vocabulary at the Activities for ESL Students website.

Visit Dave's Cafe for games, quizzes, stories and pronunciation practice.

The Guide to English as a 2nd Language has quizzes and tests at different levels.

There are stories, jokes and games at the EnglishCLUB site.

There are skills practice opportunities and many activities on the English Page site.

For listening practice, visit Randall's Listening Lab.

A great place to learn more about writing and grammar is Purdue University's Online Writing Lab.

ICS Inter-Community School Zurich
Strubenacher 3 | Postfach | 8126 Zumikon | Switzerland
+41 (0)44 919 8300 |
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