Language Policy Junior



Since language is crucial for academic and cognitive growth, a strong emphasis is placed on enhancing the development of the language of instruction (English), the host country language (Bahasa Indonesia), and supporting the mother tongue of students at GMIS Bali.


Language is the vehicle for inquiry, for creative and critical thinking, and this document aims to be a working document that exemplifies to the school community the practices which GMIS, Bali aims to follow to achieve its language goals – to produce internationally-minded, caring, inquiring, multilingual students with a strong command of oral, visual, and written English. In the PYP, language is to be taught through the relevant, authentic context of the unit of inquiry (UOI), and to give fuel to its application throughout a trans-disciplinary programme of inquiry (POI). Stand-alone classes will also be taught to cater for more specific lexis, grammar and literature that may not be covered during the POI.


Teachers as teachers of language

Since language is central to all learning, all teachers and administrators are to view themselves as language teachers who teach the language of their subject  and, as stipulated in their contracts, must be prepared to undergo further professional development to enhance their linguistic skills and understanding. This will include learning how to practice favorable skills to optimize learning a language such as drilling, scaffolding, and examining linguistic theories and practices. Teachers are also expected to intricately link their lessons to the school library, the language laboratory, and the IT centre – resources that are fundamental to building on the students’ holistic learning experiences.


Language of instruction

Language of instruction will be English, and by providing students with an atmosphere that fosters interest and curiosity, the need and necessity to learn the target language is generated. Learners will be guided through various oral, visual, and written genres, including – but not limited to – recounting, instructing, persuading, reporting, debating, narrating, viewing, and presenting. Along with transparent rubrics, learners will also regularly be given chances to develop their talents in: guided oration, spelling bees, creative writing, and handwriting competitions in both English, Bahasa Indonesia, and where possible in their mother tongue. Via themed morning assemblies (such as French Day, Mandarin Day, and Hindi Day), various international cultures will be exhibited and promoted throughout the course of the year at GMIS Bali. Due to the trans-disciplinary nature of the PYP curriculum, many of the English lessons will be integrated with the Unit of Inquiry, and during these classes, students may use their mother tongue in the right context. The remaining English language content that cannot be covered in integrated English classes will be taught as a stand-alone English subject.



GMIS Bali has a stock of various literary classics that will be read throughout the year and the teaching practices of language will aim to stress: more reading for meaning rather than decoding for accuracy; more reading and research using multimedia resources rather than proving print-only resources; a wider range of assessment methods including conferencing, miscue analysis, response journals, and portfolios. The planning, teaching, and assessing of language will be seen as an interconnected process and assessment will consist of both formative assessments (continuous throughout the UOI), and a final summative assessment that directly tackles the central idea of the UOI and will be used to provide feedback to students.


English Language Support

GMIS Bali has created an English Language Support Unit in order to support students whose level of English is considered to be too low. The concerned students are given peer support through a reading and buddy programme or are removed from some normal class lessons in order for attention to be given to their specific English language needs in small group situations by a qualified native EFL teacher. In order to identify these ESL students, the GMIS Bali admission policy specifies that incoming new admissions take a mandatory English language test which in turn will be graded by a qualified member of staff. Further information will be required to be given by legal guardians or parents during the admission process to help the school build up a language profile of all students in the Junior School. This language profile will include factors such as the percentage of students who speak English as a first, second, or third language, and what the mother tongue is of the students. The school is to then act on this by sourcing relevant resources and then planning assemblies and lessons.


Host Country Language

The host country language (Bahasa Indonesia) also has a distinct role in the education of GMIS Junior School students. From age five upwards, Bahasa Indonesia will be taught via Units of Inquiry and stand alone classes by qualified Indonesian teachers who will follow the philosophy of teaching language, teaching through language, and teaching about language. GMIS Bali’s local teachers not only strive to promote the host country language but also its cultural awareness amidst the school community.


Mother Tongue

Upon initial survey it was found that 20% of Junior School students speak English as a first language, 73% as a second language, 6% as a third and just 1% as a fourth language. It was also discovered that the majority mother tongue in the Junior School is Bahasa Indonesia (55%), followed by English (20%), then Balinese (7%), Hindi (5%), Mandarin (4%), Japanese (3%), with Russian, Tagalog, German, Korean, Romanian, Italian, French, and Swedish among the rest of the students. Since the development of the mother tongue is crucial for personal identity, cultural heritage, and cognitive development, GMIS Bali strives to promote and encourage the mother tongues of its multinational students. To support mother tongue the school resources need to be regularly updated to include picture dictionaries, bilingual dictionaries, literature in various languages, and translated texts. Students are encouraged to bring books to school written in their mother tongue and add them to the class mini-libraries, whilst parents will be invited to share their language and culture in classroom presentations. By enhancing conditions that affirm identity, the self esteem and positive bilingualism of learners will in turn be enhanced.


Due to the nature of international education at GMIS Bali, learners are encouraged to express themselves throughout various languages, and for this reason, after school classes in French, Mandarin, and Hindi are available on an optional basis for students aged six plus. Again, the school library also contains a regularly updated collection of Mandarin, Hindi, and French literature to support our learners.


We appreciate that due to the vast background of many students at GMIS, Bali there will be some students who have had significantly less exposure to English language than others. Since developing self-esteem and coherent conceptual understanding relies partly on good communication and comprehension skills, there will be circumstances whereby these students are encouraged to do their learning activities and presentations in their mother tongue.


GMIS Bali aims to promote the mother tongue and connect that to international mindedness. We also want to encourage students to maintain their mother tongue both orally and in writing. With this said, as of August 2015 we will introduce a ‘Mother Tongue Diary’ for each student. The student will carry the diary with them and teachers will set periodic writing exercises in them; for example a field trip reflection, a persuasive writing, etc. The Homeroom Teacher will check that students are maintaining their Mother Tongue Diaries and communications will be sent to parents asking for the parents to read, correct and sign the students’ writing. The Mother Tongue Diaries will be for students whose first or second language is neither English nor Bahasa Indonesia.  We will also use some exemplary writings selected from the students’ Mother Tongue Diaries and put them on a ‘Mother Tongue’ board in a public place.


Reviewing and communicating the policy

Communicating the policy will be achieved in the following ways: publishing the policy via the School’s  website; discussing the policy amongst members of staff and with parents.


The language policy will be reviewed and revised at least every two years and concerned areas will be updated having been discussed with the school community, administrators and the principal.


Next review; December 2015




From the IB: Subject Guides

Learning in a language other than mother tongue in IB programmes (IBO, 2008)

Guidelines for developing a school language policy (IBO, 2008)

 Bilingualism in International Schools, M. Carder, Multilingual Matters Clevedon, UK, 2007

Language Policy: Hidden agendas and new approaches, Elena Shohamy London , 2006