• MYP Language acquisition


    The study of additional languages in the Middle Years Programme (MYP) provides students with the opportunity to develop insights into the features, processes and craft of language and the concept of culture, and to realize that there are diverse ways of living, viewing and behaving in the world.

    MYP language acquisition is a compulsory component of the MYP in every year of the programme. All ninth and tenth grade students are required to enroll in sustained language learning in at least two languages for each year of the MYP.

    Language and identity

    Learning to communicate in a variety of ways is fundamental to students’ identity affirmation.

    What is the significance of language acquisition in the MYP?

    The ability to communicate in a variety of modes, in more than one language, is essential to the concept of an international education. The language acquisition course provides a linguistic and academic challenge for students in order to facilitate the best possible educational experience.

    Students are given the opportunity to develop their language skills to their full potential, as well as the possibility of progressing through various phases over the course of the MYP.

    How is language acquisition structured in the MYP?

    In this subject group, teaching and learning is organized into six phases. The phases do not correspond to particular age groups or MYP year levels. Students do not necessarily begin in phase one – they can begin at any phase, depending on their prior experiences, and may exit from any phase on the continuum. At Garner Magnet High School, student may take Chinese, French, or Spanish as a second language.

  • Key Concepts in Language acquisition

    Key concepts promote the development of a broad curriculum. They represent big ideas that are both relevant within and across disciplines and subjects. Inquiry into key concepts can facilitate connections between and among:

    • courses within the language acquisition subject group (intradisciplinary learning)
    • other subject groups (interdisciplinary learning).

    Below are listed the key concepts to be explored across the MYP. The key concepts contributed by the study of language acquisition are communication, connections, creativity and culture.

    Aesthetics Change Communication Communities
    Connections Creativity Culture Development
    Form Global interactions Identity Logic
    Perspective Relationships Systems Time, place and space
  • Related Concepts in Language acquisition

    Related concepts promote deep learning. They are grounded in specific disciplines and are useful for exploring key concepts in greater detail. Inquiry into related concepts helps students develop more complex and sophisticated conceptual understanding. Related concepts may arise from the subject matter of a unit or the craft of a subject—its features and processes.

    Accent

    Accent refers to the pronunciation of a language, usually in a geographical or socio-economic context in a first language. It encompasses spoken communication. In a target language, the first language accent may influence accent in the target language.

    Argument

    Argument refers to the coherent backdrop of reasoned text that may or may not involve disagreement, debate or persuasion.

    Audience

    Refers to whomever a text or performance is aimed at: the reader, the listener, the viewer.

    Bias

    Bias refers to a conscious distortion or exaggeration, which usually expresses prejudice or partiality.

    Context

    The social, historical, cultural and workplace settings in which a text or work is produced.

    Conventions

    Conventions are the characteristics of a literary or non-literary genre. These features may, of course, vary between languages. Each genre has recognizable techniques, referred to as literary or linguistic conventions, and writers use these conventions, along with other features, in order to achieve particular artistic ends.

    Empathy

    Empathy refers to an attitude of understanding, an emotional identification with a person, character, argument or situation.

    Form

    Form refers to the linguistic shape communication may take. It is the mould that is filled with linguistic content.

    Function

    Function refers to the purpose and/or use of communication.

    Idiom

    Idiom is unique to each language. It refers to a manner of speaking or to specific expressions whose meaning differs from the meaning of its individual components.

    Inference

    Information in a text that goes beyond what is first understood or apparent, to identify what may be thought, expressed or considered correct. It is the layer of text that is often referred to as “between the lines”.

    Meaning

    Meaning refers to what is communicated, by intention or by implication, using any range of human expression. It is sometimes referred to as “message”. Meaning includes “layers of meaning”, nuance, denotation, connotation, inference, subtext.

    Message

    A communication in writing, speech, verbal or non-verbal language. The message can also be an underlying theme or idea.

    Patterns

    Patterns refers to use of language and style, which can be functional, decorative or social. They reflect the unique characteristics of a language.

    Point of view

    The particular perspective brought by a composer, responder or character within a text to the text or to matters within the text. It also entails the position or vantage point from which the events of a story seem to be observed and presented to us. When exploring this concept, students will, for example, consider positioning, voice and tone.

    Purpose

    The purpose for communicating can be, for example, to entertain, to recount, to socialize, to inquire, to inform, to persuade, to explain, to instruct.

    In literary terms, the creator’s intentions in producing the text. This concept could also engage students in exploration of meaning, thesis/argument, gender, age, bias, persuasive techniques, function, critical stance, message.

    Structure

    Structure refers to the organization, pattern and elements of text, in any format. It promotes comprehension and effectiveness of communication. For example, this may involve an introduction, development and conclusion (as in some types of formal essay).

    Stylistic choices

    A creator makes choices about what they are going to describe and how to describe it in order to create effect.

    It is an umbrella term covering literary and non-literary features: linguistic devices (for example, rhetorical, syntax, repetition); literary devices (for example, symbolism, metaphor, simile); visual devices (for example, colour, texture, symbolism, foregrounding).

    Theme

    Theme refers to a dominant subject, thread or idea that is conveyed through a text form.

    Voice

    This concept relates to both a reader’s experience of a work of literature and a writer’s style when producing text. Voice is the characteristic speech and thought patterns of a narrator; a persona, which conveys his or her attitude, personality, and character.

  • Objectives for Language acquisition


    A. Comprehending spoken and visual text

    Comprehending spoken and visual text encompasses aspects of listening and viewing, and involves the student in interpreting and constructing meaning from spoken and visual text to understand how images presented with oral text interplay to convey ideas, values and attitudes. Engaging with text requires the student to think creatively and critically about what is viewed, and to be aware of opinions, attitudes and cultural references presented in the visual text. The student might, for example, reflect on feelings and actions, imagine himself or herself in another’s situation, gain new perspectives and develop empathy, based on what he or she has understood in the text.

    In order to reach the aims of language acquisition, as appropriate to the phase, students should be able to:

    1. listen for specific purposes and respond to show understanding
    2. interpret visual text that is presented with spoken text
    3. engage with the text by supporting opinion and personal response with evidence and examples from the text.

    B. Comprehending written and visual text

    Comprehending written and visual text encompasses aspects of reading and viewing, and involves the student in constructing meaning and interpreting written and visual text to understand how images presented with written text interplay to convey ideas, values and attitudes. Engaging with text requires the student to think creatively and critically about what is read and viewed, and to be aware of opinions, attitudes and cultural references presented in the written and/or visual text. The student might, for example, reflect on feelings and actions, imagine himself or herself in another’s situation, gain new perspectives and develop empathy, based on what he or she has understood in the text.

    In order to reach the aims of language acquisition, as appropriate to the phase, students should be able to:

    1. read for specific purposes and respond to show understanding
    2. interpret visual text that is presented with written text
    3. engage with the text by supporting opinion and personal response with evidence and examples from the text.

    C. Communicating in response to spoken and/or written and/or visual text

    In the language acquisition classroom, students will have opportunities to develop their communication skills by interacting on a range of topics of personal, local and global interest and significance, and responding to spoken, written and visual text in the target language.

    In order to reach the aims of language acquisition, as appropriate to the phase, students should be able to:

    1. interact and communicate in various situations
    2. express thoughts, feelings, ideas, opinions and information in spoken and written form
    3. speak and write for specific purposes.

    D. Using language in spoken and/or written form

    This objective relates to the correct and appropriate use of the spoken and written target language. It involves recognizing and using language suitable to the audience and purpose, for example, the language used at home, the language of the classroom, formal and informal exchanges, social and academic language. When speaking and writing in the target language, students apply their understanding of linguistic and literary concepts to develop a variety of structures, strategies (spelling, grammar, plot, character, punctuation, voice) and techniques with increasing skill and effectiveness.

    In order to reach the aims of language acquisition, as appropriate to the phase, students should be able to:

    1. organize thoughts, feelings, ideas, opinions and information in spoken and written form
    2. develop accuracy when speaking and writing in the target language.

Resources for MYP Language Acquisition

  • Key Concepts
  • Related Concepts
  • Objectives

  • Information on these pages is from the MYP Subject Guides and the MYP Project Guide. International Baccalaureate Organization. 2014. Print.