Bilingual streams

Bilingualism is defined as the regular use of (at least) two different languages or dialects. At SISD, we currently offer two bilingual programmes from KG2 to Grade 10: English/French and English/German. Our bilingual programmes are not limited to listening and speaking but also include challenging requirements in reading and writing. For native English, French or German speakers, the competences in the first language are thereby enriched rather than compromised. 

We are committed to early immersion, which research has shown to be a suitable tool to allow children to have command of more than one language at a highly functional level. The principle of immersion teaching means that English, French or German are not solely "language courses" but instead are the languages of instruction in all subject areas taught with equal attention given to both languages per subject area. In other words, all teachers are language teachers. The aim of immersion at SISD is the development of two or more languages, as well as the appropriate knowledge of the subject content and intercultural competence. The language input is age-appropriate, comprehensible, and lexically and structurally rich. Language contact is action- and content-oriented.

In support of learning host country language and in alignment with UAE legislation, all learners attend Arabic lessons from Pre-KG to Grade 10 inclusive, either as a mother tongue or as an additional language.

Qualified native speaking teachers and language teaching assistants are working together to build a multilingual school community. The SISD Language department, headed by Dr. Christine Jacob, evaluates all students’ language needs to ensure they participate fully in the programme and are able to reach their full potential. Our qualified language teachers help teachers tailor their lessons accordingly and provide support if necessary. 

Teaching and learning across the grades (as of school year 2016/2017):
  • Pre-KG: English as the main language; Native English speaking teacher & native French or German TA in the classroom; play-based teaching (i.e. exposure to the additional language through play situations).
  • KG1: Native English speaking teacher & native French or German TA in the classroom; one daily lesson of French or German & exposure to the language in classroom activities.
  • KG2: Native English-speaking teacher & native French or German speaking teacher in the classroom, teaching both languages on a daily basis. Arabic lessons on a weekly basis.  
  • Primary School: one week in English and one week in French or German. All core subjects (Language, Maths, Science and Social Studies) are taught in both languages, with a rolling process to avoid repetition. Testing is done in both languages through collaborative planning.
  • Secondary School: Students move from a weekly bilingual cycle to a discipline-based model, where certain subjects are taught in English and others in French or German by native-speaking specialists. Students in the bilingual streams study both English and French or German at Languages and Literature level. 

Assessment methodology: 
The two teachers assess the children in each of the two languages of instruction. As the English and the French or German speaking teachers collaboratively plan the six week long units of inquiry, they also plan the ongoing assessments taking place in their class.

How well a child can cope with the bilingual system when entering our school will depend on the individual circumstances. Competences in one’s mother tongue, nursery languages, exposure to an additional language, the ability to adapt to new situations, schooling background and, last but not least, individual cognitive ability and personal development all play an important role.

Admissions requirements:
Pre-KG to Grade 1: the child must be fluent in one of the two languages of instruction.
From Grade 2: the child must be fluent in one of the two languages of instruction and have good knowledge in the other language.
Admission will be subject to assessment results.