Considering that every subject possesses a language of its own, and the fact that we cannot do anything without language, it seems to me that the role of Language Acquisition in MYP goes beyond “the foreignness” of its nature. As the subject in which understanding and communication in a foreign language is built from scratch, and considering that meticulous scaffolding is needed in order to help students to witness how the architecture of their language is evolving, language acquisition has a lot to offer to all MYP subjects.
MYP is not a stand-alone program; there is an inherent interconnectedness among all subjects that can be maximized through Interdisciplinary Unit planners. Yet, while learners (teachers included) will always be cognitively capable to engage with a subject, there will be times when their language development will not allow them to share what they know and how they can transform information. We must, therefore, look for opportunities to support our students’ language progress both cognitively and developmentally.
At present I am part of a school in which several students need EAL support in order to cope with the information and learning in the rest of the subjects. Thus, I have become interested in observing which aspects, processes or tools in my subject can be of further support to other subject groups when trying to engage learners with the stimuli or resources we provide them.
As a result of this observation process, I have noticed that the way students are encouraged to respond to criteria A and b questions, strand 2, can have impactful uses in other subjects if teachers want students to refer to a resource they are using. You can download the resource I shared with teachers below.
Likewise I have noticed that strand 1 questions in criteria A and B tasks involve a variety of factual question structures, and that we can use a variety of sentence starters to encourage students to answer this type of questions or to employ when they are trying to include factual information in a text. You can download the resource I shared with teachers below.
When we talk about subjects supporting subjects and teachers being aware of how learning is taking place in the community, I believe it is a good idea to capitalize on the efforts being made in other subjects, for we can easily benefit from the skills students are developing in each of them.
Every time that I reflect on how I can enrich the learning processes in my subject, I end up realizing that I need to be unfaithful to my subject and hang out with other subjects in order to receive positive influence. One of the ATL skills is transfer, and I am pretty sure it will never take place if we encapsulate learning within the walls of our subject.