ESOL at UWC Thailand

The English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programme makes provision for the needs of non-native English speakers within the school. The support offered takes various forms, including scheduled classes and, in some cases, in-class support, and is delivered by specialist teachers of ESOL in small groups. Our initial aim is to foster the acquisition of survival language to enable students to cope with the practical aspects of class and school life and to function socially. Once basic structure and vocabulary are in place, our next aim is to assist students in acquiring the necessary spoken and written language to function fully in the mainstream school programme. The primary school ensures students have a sufficient level of English in order to participate in subject classes and everyday school life. The main aim in the middle school is to take students to the next level, which focuses on the skills required to have full access to the MYP and move towards academic proficiency. The programme is designed to be flexible and progressive, allowing students to advance through levels that focus on reading and writing, listening and speaking, and viewing and presenting from young learners to proficiency level.

Suitability and Placement

Our first aim is to identify all students who need to be placed in the ESOL programme. All applicants from Kindergarten and above who do not use English as their first language at home or at school will be given a comprehensive assessment to determine their level of English and to establish their specific language needs. This assessment is conducted by an ESOL specialist and will take the form of a writing sample, and/or an on-site written, reading and oral assessment appropriate to their age. In addition, students may be asked for a writing sample in their home language to help determine their potential to take on a new language. Other considerations include the main language spoken by the child, the principal language of both parents and the student’s educational background. Based on the assessment results and the age of the student, recommendations of suitability are passed to either the primary or secondary school principal. Non-native English speakers will not start another language unless they have achieved a pre-set level of competence according to age and desired year group.

ESOL Levels

There are six levels of attainment that are linked closely to the IBO Language Acquisition Phases. This allows students to advance through the levels providing continuity throughout their learning at the school. After the initial placement assessment, each student’s level of competence will be diagnosed using the following phases (in context with the child’s age and level of development).

Phase 1

Students who are assessed against the Phase 1 criteria are emergent communicators. They understand and respond to simple phrases, statements and questions, and can identify basic messages, facts, feelings, ideas and opinions expressed in oral, visual and written language. They are able to convey basic information in a limited range of everyday situations, using oral and written language appropriate to a very limited range of interpersonal and cultural contexts.

Phase 2

Students who are assessed against the Phase 2 criteria are emergent communicators who understand and respond to simple spoken and written texts. They identify messages, facts and opinions, feelings and ideas presented in oral, written and visual language. They are able to demonstrate their comprehension in short oral and written form, and can interact to share information in a limited range of familiar situations using basic language appropriate to a limited range of interpersonal and cultural contexts. They are aware that language varies according to purpose and audience.

Phase 3

Students who are assessed against the Phase 3 criteria are capable communicators who can understand and respond to a limited variety of spoken and written texts. They understand specific information, main ideas and some detail presented in oral, visual and written language, and can show comprehension in a limited range of oral and written forms. They engage in conversation and write structured texts to express ideas, opinions and experiences in familiar and some unfamiliar situations in a limited range of interpersonal and cultural contexts. They are aware that language varies according to audience and purpose.

Phase 4

Students who are assessed against the Phase 4 criteria are capable communicators who can understand and respond to a limited variety of spoken and written texts of a non-literary and literary nature. They interpret specific information, main ideas and some detail presented in complex oral, visual and written texts. They are able to draw conclusions and recognize opinions and attitudes. They engage in conversation and write structured text to share informative and organized information on topics of personal interest and global significance. They can communicate substantial information, develop ideas and justify opinions. They identify aspects of format and style and speak and write with a clear sense of audience and purpose.

Phase 5

Students who are assessed against the Phase 5 criteria are proficient communicators who analyse specific information, ideas, opinions and attitudes presented in oral, visual and written language. They draw conclusions, infer information and recognise implied opinions and ideas. They respond to ideas in a wide range of spoken, written and visual texts of a non-literary and literary nature, can engage in conversations in social and some academic situations, and contribute substantial information containing relevant ideas that are substantiated with examples and illustrations. They are able to effectively and clearly organise and express information on topics of personal and global significance. They are able to interpret and use a variety of register and style to suit the context of the task. Students who successfully meet the criteria of this phase are capable of moving to Language A.

Phase 6

Students who are assessed against the Phase 6 criteria are proficient communicators who are able to express, evaluate, respond to and understand information, details and ideas presented in spoken, visual and written language in social and academic contexts. They analyse information, draw conclusions and make inferences about ideas, opinions and attitudes in a wide range of spoken, visual and written texts of a non-literary and literary nature. They engage actively in discussions in social and academic situations, contributing substantial information and detailed analysis. They organize information logically and effectively and can express themselves to a wide range of audiences.

Students will not be eligible to access an additional language until they have been assessed as competently communicating at Phase 4.

Learn to Speak English

Course Outline

Specific focuses:

Reading and writing (including grammar and vocabulary)

Speaking and listening (including phonology and function)

Viewing and presenting

UCLES Cambridge Language examinations are used to test each student’s understanding and are administered at the end of each term.

ESOL in Primary

Students have in-class support as well as scheduled classes in small groups that follow the Young Learners English curriculum, and is linked as much as possible to the homeroom PYP units of inquiry. It provides opportunities for authentic communication in both academic and social settings within the school and community.

At this level, the emphasis is to generate interest, build confidence and to equip students with the ‘building blocks’ of language.

ESOL in Secondary

In Grades 6 to 10, students receive help in all areas of language acquisition in order to reach a high level of English language proficiency and achieve full participation in the MYP curriculum. The content and methodology of the ESOL programme reflect and relate as much as possible to the core IB subjects.

The programme is progressive and allows students to advance through the phases.

IEP in Secondary

We also provide an Intensive English Programme (IEP) in Secondary; a short-term programme that is catered to support students with limited language skills, but with clear language potential. Our approach, teaching methods and materials are designed with the specific needs of these students in mind. It provides individual language support so students become more independent in academic routines and more confident in their social life.

The programme may be offered as an individual programme or in a small group depending on numbers. The nature of the course is Intensive English. However, students might also study other subjects such as P.E, The Arts, Technology, and possibly Mathematics. As the student’s English improves, they will be integrated into other core subjects such as Science and Humanities.

Attending the IEP will not guarantee entrance to the IB Diploma programme and students will need to perform well in the assessments.