IB Language Policy

Northumberland Regional High School

Language Policy






As an International Baccalaureate World School, Northumberland Regional High School has developed a written language policy which includes provisions for second-language teaching and mother-tongue language support that meet the needs of students and reflect the principles of the IB programme. This policy also outlines the philosophy and aims of language teaching and learning, and defines our support for learning mother-tongue languages.


Philosophy and Aims


At Northumberland Regional High School we believe that the foundation for all learning is language. Language is the primary means of communication and is fundamental to lifelong learning. In order for students to be successful learners, they must be able to use language appropriately, accurately and confidently both orally and in writingin a variety of contexts for a variety of purposes. Language enables students to become inquirers as well as develop critical thinking and social skills. Furthermore, languageproficiency enables students to acquire knowledge related to all areas of the IB Diploma Programme curricular framework. Language acquisition is a life-long process; therefore, all teachers are considered language teachers. Finally, language is taught through context and relates new information to existing knowledge.


The mission of Northumberland Regional High School, where excellence is the standard, is to develop lifelong 21st century learners who meet the demands of a global society. In partnership with parents, students, teachers, and community members, Northumberland Regional High School will provide instruction that encourages both diversity and unity, develops integrity and character, and promotes initiative and collegiality among our students. Therefore, we understand that students must become both culturally and linguistically proficient in a second language. Accordingly, language learning is not limited only to the acquisition of a second language, but also includes the importance of cultural understanding and sensitivity, and fosters international understanding.


Language Profile


The majority of the students at Northumberland Regional High School speak English which is their mother tongue: our students are categorized as English speaking students with limited or no language B experience, English speaking students with prior language B instruction and a few bilingual students who speak their mother tongue (French) in addition to English.

However, other languages are spoken by international students who attend our school for periods of time varying from one month to a full school year. Languages spoken by these students are often Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin/Cantonese, Korean, German, French, Dutch, Arabic etc. Most of our international students have some ability to understand and function in English.  This diverse population allows all students to be exposed to those who speak a language other than English which encourages cultural appreciation and understanding.


The language of instruction at Northumberland Regional High is English with the exception of our language B classes where instruction is conveyed in the target language. Students enrolled in the IB Diploma Programme began their language acquisition in elementary school  and continue to progress through the French Immersion, Integrated French or Core French programs through grade 10.  Language B offered at Northumberland Regional High School Diploma Programme is French at both higher and standard levels as appropriate to the individual student need.


Language A

English A1 Higher Level is the only classroom-based opportunity for Language A offered at

Northumberland Regional High School. We currently offer Language A: Literature and follow the prescribed course requirements as set out in the IB Language A: Literature Subject Guide. Students are encouraged to value the artistry of literature and to develop an ability to reflect critically on their reading. Students study works in their literary and cultural contexts, through close study of individual texts and passages, and by considering a range of critical approaches. The response to the study of literature is through oral and written communication, thus enabling students to develop and refine their command of the language (IBO, 2011). Students are assessed according to IB Diploma Programme policies as described in the Language A: Literature Subject Guide.


Language B

Our belief at Northumberland Regional High School is that as students study other languages, they also  acquire an appreciation of other cultures while coming to the realization that other people, with their differences, can also be right (IB Mission Statement). Because every student learns at different rates and has had different second language learning experiences, they are provided with the option of studying French at the standard or higher level of Language B French.  We are prepared to offer French abinitio to students who have never studied French before however, to date, this has never been the case.  Our desire is for each student to reach his/her highest proficiency and literacy level in a second language. Students are provided with varied, differentiated instructional strategies in an effort to accommodate different learning styles. All formative and summative assessment is assessed using the Diploma Programme criteria. Additionally, the content in these courses is taught in the framework provided through the Areas of Interaction, Extra-Curricular Language and Culture Opportunities.


The following clubs are available to all Northumberland Regional High School students to enrich experiences in second languages with the aim of increasing cultural and international-mindedness:


Interact Club

International Buddies

Cultural Diversity Festival (annual school event)

Language Exchange Programs


Mother-Tongue Instruction


Northumberland Regional High School understands the importance of students preserving their mother-tongue language. It is important to encourage students to continue to use their mother-tongue language skills because this allows them to enhance their personal identity and highlight their cultural heritage. As our only students for whom English is a second language are our international students, we provide an ESL course to foster the development of their language skills in English (their primary motivation for studying at our school) as well support their learning in other courses such as History, Mathematics, Drama, Biology etc and assisting them as they acclimate to a new culture.  Our subject teachers collaborate with the ESL teacher to ensure that instructional strategies are appropriate and facilitate their learning.  Their

teachers regularly review accommodations for assessments which are modified so that students can demonstrate their knowledge and skills. The ESL teacher collaborates with all staff on a continuous basis to provide them with modifications and remediation information regarding our non-English speaking students that are struggling as well as being supported by our Program Planning Team. Also, information about the various languages represented at Northumberland Regional High School will be presented to the faculty each year. It is also the expectation that teachers will seek out opportunities to highlight these cultures and languages in their daily lessons as well as in other school activities.



The Language Policy will be posted on the school website, made available in hard

copy form in the main office and provided to all students and parents. The School

Advisory Council will also be provided with electronic and hard copies of the policy.


Language Policy Review


The IB Diploma Language Policy will be reviewed by IB staff and school administration at the beginning of each academic year. When deemed necessary, students and parents will be surveyed as the language policy continues to serve the needs of our school and

district. It is the responsibility of the IB DP Coordinator to ensure the success of the Language Policy Review. 






The following resources were consulted in the creation of this document:


IB publications:
Guidelines for developing a school language policy (April 2008)
Language and Learning in the IB programmes (September 2011)
Learning in a language other than mother tongue in IB programmes (April 2008)

Towards a continuum of international education (September 2008)

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