English Language Learners (ELL)
ASOY believes that language is central to all learning so it is expected that teachers at the American School of Yaoundé (ASOY) accept the responsibility for teaching language. As a school that serves a culturally diverse population, it is expected that the teaching, learning, and assessment process takes into account the linguistic needs of all students. Students who do not speak English proficiently will receive support in both social and academic language. Language learning is promoted through inquiry, allowing students to make connections with context, to explore, and to investigate the world around them.
Equally important to the school is the belief that each student should have the opportunity to maintain and develop his or her mother tongue(s) because good language skills in the mother tongue language(s) increases self-esteem and can enhance the rate of English and other language learning. Parents and students are encouraged to use their mother tongue in their homes and to work with the school to arrange for mother tongue classes after school.
Students entering ASOY with limited or no English language proficiency will be considered for admission on an individual basis. Admission decisions will be determined by the Director in collaboration with the Elementary School Principal, ELL Coordinator, and Counselor based on an admissions assessment(s), previous school records, English language proficiency, a student interview, and decision with regard to the appropriateness of ASOY’s program for meeting student needs. Students will be given a language proficiency assessment (WIDA MODEL) and information gathered from this assessment will be used to determine the level of ELL support needed.
In keeping with the IB philosophy, ASOY is committed to supporting a multilingual, multicultural environment and believes it is fundamental to building international-mindedness in students. Therefore, qualified students will be admitted to all grade levels, class size permitting. Students with no English proficiency will be accepted through to Grade 10.
What Does ELL Support Look Like?
After evaluation during the admissions procedures, students in Grades 1 through 10 with limited English language proficiency receive support from the ELL department. A progress report and Internal Student Support Plan (ISSP) are created for each student to establish goals for the academic year and to track their progress. At the end of each semester, the ISSP is updated to document goals achieved and to identify any new goals.
Students are individually evaluated to determine their readiness for the grade level program, or their need for additional support. When there is an identified need for ELL support, the amount and type of support will be determined by the ELL coordinator in collaboration with the classroom teacher. ELL support may be any combination of the following:
- Small group push-in support in the classroom
- Individual push-in support in the classroom
- Small group pull-out support in the ELL classroom
- Individual pull-out support in the ELL classroom
Since ASOY recognizes that all teachers are language teachers, active support for professional development both in and out of school is offered to teachers to ensure that they are able to offer in-class support to students in the ELL program. All teachers at ASOY must be able to effectively integrate ELL learners into their class through the use of teaching strategies such as providing vocabulary lists, using graphic organizers, providing language scaffolding, and incorporating other effective teaching strategies.