Frequently asked Questions
- How will my child manage with no English?
- Should I speak English with my child at home?
- Will my child be expected to do homework?
- How do you cater for “gifted” students?
- How do you assess students?
- How do you grade students?
- How easily will my child make the transition back into her home country system?
- Will there be religious education at ISA?
- Where are the school’s diplomas recognized?
- What qualifications do you require your teachers to have?
- Can we compare your approach with that of a local state school?
How will my child manage with no English?
Many young children learn languages very quickly, especially if they are surrounded by the target language. The rate at which new ISA students will learn English will vary depending on a number of factors including age, personality, level of mother tongue fluency and previous language experience (for example, students whose mother tongue is closely related to English may find it easier than those who speak more distantly related languages).
Although many children begin to speak English within a few weeks of joining our school, it takes several years before they become fluent. It may take as many as eight years for them to reach native speaker level. As students are learning English they need continued support and enrichment in their mother tongue; explicit teaching of the structures and vocabulary of English and lots of meaningful opportunities to use their new language.
It is difficult to predict how fast any child will acquire a new language. Parents and teachers need to be sensitive and patient.
Should I speak English with my child at home?Generally, the answer to this question is “no!” You are your child’s primary mother tongue role model. During the day your child will hear a lot of English and German. It is important that you continue to read to your child in your own language and to ensure that his/her vocabulary and fluency in the first language(s) develops. For very young children in particular, this will have a positive influence on English language learning.
Will my child be expected to do homework?The purpose of homework is twofold: to help children to develop a sense of responsibility for their learning and to keep parents informed regarding this learning. In the Primary School homework should take between 15 minutes (Grade 1) and 30 minutes (Grade 5). In general, students should be able to complete their homework independently. Homework will increase in quantity and level of challenge as the child progresses through the school. There will be no homework at the weekends in Primary School.
In the Upper School it is expected that students take responsibility for completing the homework assigned. Failure to complete homework may result in detention. Please see here for further information about homework.
How do you cater for “gifted” students?It is our belief that all students are gifted in some way and that all need support in some areas. Children who have been diagnosed “gifted” in other systems often succeed very well at international schools. This is because of the open-ended nature of teaching and learning, the acknowledgement of a range of learning styles, the challenging nature of the programme and the positive and familiar atmosphere within the school.
How do you assess students?Assessment is an ongoing and integral part of teaching and learning. Good teachers assess their students as they work with them (formative assessment) and after they have completed work and learned concepts (summative assessment). At ISA teachers will use a variety of assessment tools, both formal and informal, including tests, quizzes, interviews, student self-reflections and observations by parents and teachers). In the Upper School there is an increasing emphasis on written tests and students will be graded according to the IB criteria.
How do you grade students?Learning in the early years of school is a developmental process. Children need time to accomplish the skills, concepts and knowledge required to become independent learners and to move on to Middle and High School. Early Years and Primary School students are not awarded number or letter grades for progress. Instead, both students and parents receive regular written and verbal feedback, which describes student learning in detail. In Middle and High School the 1-7 grading system of the IB Diploma will be used.
How easily will my child make the transition back into her home country system?Transition from one international school to another generally happens easily. Students transitioning to other school systems will receive lots of support. Teachers will keep themselves informed of the expectations of receiving schools, especially those in the locality and we will do all we can to ensure that your child makes a successful transition.
At ISA your child will learn how to be a good learner for life and will love learning. He will develop the ability to reflect on his own progress and to set new goals for himself. He will learn strong social skills. Children who develop these skills transition well into other school systems. There may be some “gaps” and some “overlaps” in skills and knowledge, but if your child has developed a love of learning, resilience and confidence he will quickly overcome any initial difficulties.
ISA is an “Ersatzschule”, therefore German children should be able to transfer successfully into the Bavarian school system. There are many factors to consider, including language. We cannot guarantee that your child will transition easily into another system, but we promise to provide all the support we can.