Language learning at VSA promotes international-mindedness and cultural awareness, and we are proud of the fact that all of our students will graduate from our school as bilingual and biliterate learners of Chinese (Putonghua) and English.
In the Primary Years Programme, all of our students have two class teachers, one teacher of Mandarin Chinese and the other English. Lessons are co-taught to support dual language immersion from Years 1 -5. Students are encouraged to use both languages in both their written and oral communication throughout the programme.
In the Middle Years Programme, the language of instruction is English, with the exception of Chinese Language and Literature and Chinese as Additional Language classes. As a bilingual and biliterate school, we enroll all of our students in both Chinese Language and Literature and English Language and Literature classes. Through our commitment to bilingual education, our Language and Literature departments understand the importance of nurturing a love of reading through the careful selection of course texts, library programmes and award-winning visiting author workshops. These things are therefore an integral part of both our Chinese and English programmes and provide opportunities to develop the skills that will enable them to be responsible and articulate users of both languages.
Our student body reflects VSA’s setting in a vibrant, cosmopolitan city and we are cognisant of the diversity of language skills and experience that our students bring to our community. In recognition of this, we endeavour to provide a range of language pathways within the MYP, that offer the most appropriate provision in our inclusive school context. In addition to their studies of Language and Literature in Chinese and English, all of our MYP students will be enrolled in a third language class. In consultation with our teachers, students will be supported to select one of the following 6 options:
- Chinese Additional Language
- Chinese Additional Language (Language Acquisition)
- English for Academic Purposes
- English for Academic Purposes (Language Acquisition)
- French (Language Acquisition)
- Spanish (Language Acquisition)
The additional language classes in Chinese and English afford our students the opportunity for further enrichment in the language and for the development of language skills which will support their ongoing progress in our rigorous Language and Literature programmes.
For students who excel in both English and Chinese, they can take the linguistic challenge through taking the additional language classes in French and Spanish from scratch. There are entry points for beginner learners of either language in Years 6, 7 and 8 of the MYP. Those students who commit to the learning of French or Spanish throughout the MYP have the opportunity to continue their study as a Language B student in the Diploma Programme.
In the Diploma Programme every student will take two or three languages which can include French or Spanish. It is the expectation that all VSA students will have the language skills to enrol in both English and Chinese Language and Literature courses. Students entering into the Diploma Programme will receive appropriate counselling on course selection choices, with university admissions in mind.