Language Learning

As our driving mission, ISB is dedicated to developing skilled, independent learners equipped to be successful in a working world without borders. We are equally dedicated to developing international citizens with a strongly developed sense of empathy for others and an openness to multiple points of view.

On both counts, our language programmes (which are founded upon the Common European Framework for Languages) are central to our work and one of our defining features. We have three types of language learning at ISB:

English Language Development Modern Languages Home Language

English Language Development (ELD)

English is our main language of teaching and learning. While the majority of our students speak a different language at home, English is the language of communication at school. We offer a complete programme at all levels, from the literacy continua of the First Steps programme in the Early Childhood Centre and Elementary School to the stimulating, challenging courses of language and literature in the Middle and High School, leading to external examinations in the International Baccalaureate Diploma and Advanced Placement programmes.

Each year some children arrive with little or no English. These students join the English Language Development (ELD) programme.

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Modern Languages

ISB is dedicated to developing skilled, independent learners equipped to be successful in a working world without borders. We are equally dedicated to developing international citizens with a strong sense of empathy for others and openness to multiple points of view. Our Modern Languages and Home Language programmes serve both purposes.


French

French is a global language, an official language in Belgium, and the language of the Commune of Watermael-Boitsfort, where the school is located. French is taught at every level in ISB, from the complete beginner to the proficient native speaker:

In the ECC, from Kindergarten through to second grade, the language is taught daily, according to students’ levels, and emphasis is on oral acquisition.
In the Elementary School, children are placed according to their listening, speaking, reading and writing needs. French is offered at a range of levels, from beginner to fluent. By sixth grade, capable students may take social studies in French.
In the Middle School, French is offered at 5 levels, from beginner to fluent. Motivated and capable students may also take Science, Social Studies and / or Art in French.
In the High School, French is offered to all levels, from beginner French to French Literature A (native level) in the IB Diploma Programme.


Dutch

Dutch has gained in popularity at ISB in recent years. It is Belgium’s most spoken language, and that of the country’s important neighbour to the north. For native speakers, Dutch is offered in the ECC and the Elementary School instead of French. In the Middle School it is offered as both a native and second language. Students taking Dutch in the Middle School may also take French. In the High School, Dutch is offered as a native language and a foreign language in Grade 10. In the IB Diploma Programme, we offer Dutch A Language and Literature (native level) and Dutch B (non-native level). The Dutch Programme is affiliated with the foundation of Dutch Education Abroad (Stichting NOB).


Spanish

Spanish as a second language may be taken as an elective in the Middle School, eventually leading to Spanish B in the IB Diploma Programme in High School.


Japanese

Japanese is taught to native speakers in the High School – in Grades 10 and as part of the IBDP in Grades 11 and 12 – either as a class or through our IB Tutored Language Programme for native speakers.


Home Language Programme

In addition to the above languages, ISB is offering an expanded range of languages as part of our home language programme after school. The home language programme is designed to support students in maintaining the language and culture of their home country.