- Support IST
Language at the International School of Tucson (IST) appears in two forms - Language A and Language B. The distinction between the two programmes is purely in terms of the focus and purpose and not first language / second language, mother tongue / foreign language distinctions.
Language A is a literature-based programme meaning that students from programme graduates are able both to study the literature of the language in the language and also to study other subjects such as history, physics and art in the language. In order to do so, students must have a high level of fluency and a knowledge of grammar, semantics, philology, etymology and so on. IST's PS programmes and the main JS programmes are all Language A and JS students take two Language A programmes, each for half a day with a teacher specifically of and for that language.
Language B is a communicative programme meaning that programme graduates are able to live in a community of that language, read newspapers, watch television but are not necessarily able to study the literature or to follow academic programmes without extra study. IST students follow Language B programmes in J4 and J5 (although some students may choose to follow a third Language A if they already have communicative competence such as from speaking it at home). Please contact us for information on Language B (or third Language A) possibilities.
IST divides its curriculum into Contents and Skills (click here to go to the Curriculum main page). We believe that language is a set of communicative Skills, and as a result have relatively few Content areas in our Language curriculum. Contents come from the other Subject Areas; they essentially provide the vehicles for the acquisition, development and practice of the Language's communicative Skills.
The IST focus is on the productive skills - Speaking, Writing, Presenting - as these cannot generally be developed without assistance.
The IST Curriculum has three linguistic mileposts. The first is that the student will have conversational abilities in both his/her Languages A by the time of Junior School entry. The second is that the student will have reached an age-appropriate native-level competence by the time of Middle School entry in his/her Languages A, particularly in Written Communication, and a high level of oral competence in a third language (typically Language B, although some students will have a third Language A.
The third is that the student will be able to follow a programme of university study in both target languages by the time of graduation from High School, which pre-supposes a high level of cultural awareness of the worlds represented by the two languages, and thus the focus in the High School is on literary study. The student should also have sufficient competence in a third language as to be able to live and work in the places where that language is spoken.
The Pre-School Language A programme is full-immersion, with an emphasis on Oral Communication and in particular on speaking. Students spend the entire day immersed in the target language, and activities are designed so that students can quickly become comfortable and can begin using their new language themselves authentically. The only exception to this might be where a specialist teacher, visitor or administrator does not speak the target language and in this case, English will be used. For structural reasons, IST includes the Kindergarten class (“Foundation”) in its Pre-School section.
The Junior School Language A programme is dual-immersion, and the emphasis moves to Written Communication and in particular on writing. Students spend half of each day immersed in one Language A (typically English, although this is not required), and the other half in the other Language A. At lunchtime, they physically change classrooms, teachers, books, materials and activities so that each Session (AM and PM) is effectively full-immersion in its respective language. From J4, students also follow a Language B programme, although those who speak an additional language at home may elect to use this timetable slot for a third Language A.
For details on Middle School and High School programmes, please contact us.