Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme and Diploma Programme
Guidelines for school self-reflection
on its language policy
© International Baccalaureate Organization 2012
Guidelines for school self-reflection on language policy
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Introduction
It is a requirement for IB schools to have a language policy that reflects specific standards related
to language and learning. These are explained in the stance document Language and learning in
IB programmes (2011.
A school language policy is dynamic and therefore needs regular review. These guidelines for selfreflection are designed to assist schools with this process and help identify points for development.
The IB stance document provides detailed guidelines on developing a school language policy. This
self-assessment is aligned with those guidelines and it is suggested that they be used together.
Guidelines for school self-reflection on language policy
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Establishing and maintaining a language policy steering committee
Guiding questions
Answer: Yes
Answer: No
What is the evidence?
What actions are planned?
Do you have a language policy steering committee?
Does it include representatives for all the
stakeholders (teachers, librarians, administrators, IB
programme coordinators, parents, students, other
members of the school community)?
Is the steering committee responsible for overseeing
the procedures needed to develop the language
philosophy and policy of the school?
Is the steering committee responsible for gathering,
presenting and collating the views of this
community?
Does the steering committee communicate
effectively and regularly with those it represents?
Guidelines for school self-reflection on language policy
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Writing a school language philosophy
Guiding questions
Answer: Yes
Answer: No
What is the evidence?
What actions are planned?
Is the school language philosophy clearly expressed
in the language policy?
Is the school language philosophy incorporated into
the language policy?
Is the language philosophy informed through wide
reading including the relevant documents published
by the IB?
Does the school language philosophy reflect the
interests of the whole school community?
Is this data gathered (informal discussions,
questionnaires, observations, interviews with
students and other members of the school
community)?
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Reviewing the current language situations and practices and compiling a school
language profile
Guiding questions
Answer: Yes
Answer: No
What is the evidence?
What actions are planned?
Is the diversity of language needs for students
following the IB programmes met?
Are the languages of teaching and learning clearly
identified?
Are the languages of communication used in the
school and outside of the classroom identified?
Are mother tongues and other languages in the
community identified and promoted?
Are there any legal requirements resulting from
government legislation?
Are effective practices relating to language teaching
and learning in place?
Is there continuing professional development (CPD)
for all staff on effective practices relating to
language teaching and learning?
Guidelines for school self-reflection on language policy
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Are time and opportunities for planning language
pathways in place?
Are referencing, bibliography and spelling protocols
identified?
Are there rules and expectations about language
use around the school?
Are beliefs about language teaching and learning
explained clearly?
Are other policies that relate directly to language
teaching and learning identified?
Do data-gathering exercises involve activities such
as
informal
discussions,
questionnaires,
observations and student interviews?
Are all members of the school community invited to
reflect on and give input about their thoughts and
practices regarding language in the school?
Is the resulting language profile scrutinized for any
areas of mismatch, contradictions, and omissions in
practice, ambiguities and other issues to be
addressed with regards to the language policy?
Have the previously identified
investigated and resolved?
matters
Guidelines for school self-reflection on language policy
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Has school-based inquiry related to language policy
been identified as a need or been initiated?
Are the library and media resources linked to
teaching and learning with language as a focus?
Have alternative models for developing
maintaining mother tongues been considered?
and
Have alternative models for addressing the needs of
those learning in a language other than their mother
tongue been considered?
Is there a process for keeping a developmental
language profile for each student?
Does the school review the processes used to
identify the language needs of each student?
Does the school monitor the effectiveness of
differentiation strategies for students with specific
language-learning needs?
Is there a language continuum scope and sequence
based on IB documents?
Guidelines for school self-reflection on language policy
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Further considerations: PYP
Guiding questions
Answer: Yes
Answer: No
What is the evidence?
What actions are planned?
Does the language policy promote inquiry-based
authentic language learning?
Does the language policy focus on
transdisciplinary nature of language learning?
the
Does the language policy incorporate the teaching
and learning of language into the programme of
inquiry?
Does the language policy interrelate the skills of
listening, speaking, reading, writing and media
literacy?
Does the language policy provide for the teaching of
additional languages?
Does the language policy promote consistency of
practice in the teaching and learning of all
languages where more than one language of
instruction is used?
Guidelines for school self-reflection on language policy
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Further considerations: MYP
Guiding questions
Answer: Yes
Answer: No
What is the evidence?
What actions are planned?
Does the language policy promote practices for the
effective provision of languages A and B?
Does the language policy promote the integration of
the learning of languages with learning in the subject
groups?
Does the language policy promote the integration of
language learning with interdisciplinary planning?
Further considerations: DP
Guiding questions
Answer: Yes
Answer: No
What is the evidence?
What actions are planned?
Does the school offer well-resourced special request
and school-supported self-taught options in group 1
to maintain mother-tongue development?
Does the school offer a range of languages at
various levels?
Guidelines for school self-reflection on language policy
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Review process
Guiding questions
Answer: Yes
Answer: No
What is the evidence?
What actions are planned?
Are details such as those relating to timing and
responsibilities associated with a review process
stipulated in the policy?
Are new practices being implemented as a result of
the research findings of the language policy?
Does the review procedure include roles and
responsibilities for the evaluation of
the
effectiveness of the language policy as a working
document?
Guidelines for school self-reflection on language policy
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Linking the language policy to other documents
Guiding questions
Answer: Yes
Answer: No
What is the evidence?
What actions are planned?
Is the language policy explicitly linked to other
working documents such as those related to
assessment, admissions and special educational
needs (SEN) policies?
Is the role of student language profiles considered in
admissions?
Is the role of student language profiles considered in
formative and summative assessment?
Is the role of student language profiles considered in
reporting on
language development, early
intervention and differentiation strategies for SEN
students?
Communicating the policy
Guiding questions
Answer: Yes
Answer: No
What is the evidence?
What actions are planned?
Is the whole school community regularly informed of
the policy process and how they might make
contributions?
Guidelines for school self-reflection on language policy
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Guidelines for school self-reflection on its language policy