The Importance of Language Learning
The Importance of Language Learning
After a successful SEC MYP language week, it may be a good moment to reflect on the paramount importance of language especially in our international school context. At this moment, we have students from 65 countries enrolled at BBIS. We do not have detailed data but roughly one third have English as their home language, one third German – and the last third a diversity of other home languages!
Being bi-cultural and thus often being bi-lingual is more the norm at international schools. As it is worldwide, data from UNESCO indicates that only 40% of the world’s population are monolingual. This is something that can be improved and we/your children are working on that every day.
Long gone are the myths which expressed fear that the bilingual brain would respond to a second language by developing schizophrenia. Conscientiously we have replaced the word “mother-tongue” by home language or dominant language. Research is robust now in showing that children growing up bilingual develop a more agile and more connected brain through synapsis growth.
We constantly encourage families where two languages are spoken to use this gift and to speak in both languages with the children. That form of early language acquisition is the most powerful and cannot really be replaced by the formal learning in later years.
So, if you are a Primary parent and hear from your child that their teachers were out yesterday or today, it was for the good reason of (even) further training in the awareness of languages – we had two experts here at BBIS.
If you want to learn more about our approach and future plans, please join me at the upcoming “Director’s platform evening” on Tuesday 19:00 in the Primary Aula (sign-up here: https://goo.gl/forms/rc5K83zBzeRWadXq2) – as usual, an opportunity to ask all questions you might have.
Lastly, we have a wonderful new short film that captures the magic of BIMP (Berlin International Music Project) below as well as a student reflection from Eszter Magyar on their 8 years of participating in BIMP.
Language is not only a tool that helps us to connect and communicate with others, it is also vital for us as humans to express our thoughts and feelings. Studying several languages is something we encourage all of our students to do, and many of them not only speak their home language, English and German, but also study French, Spanish or Mandarin. Why do we put so much effort into language development at BBIS?
We know that the more languages we are able to speak the richer our experiences become, the more easily we learn about other cultures, and the more prepared we are to see things from a different perspective. Every year, we celebrate language learning with a special Language Week, during which students present what they have studied in a creative or artistic way.
Ms Montaraz is the Head of the Modern Foreign Languages Department at BBIS:
“Over the past few years, the Fête de la Francophonie, Fiesta de la Hispanidad and Chinese Week have grown into a celebration of the many languages and cultures of our French, Hispanic and Chinese friends. It has now become a well-established tradition at BBIS to celebrate the richness of these cultures.
Throughout the week we enjoyed a Salsa Workshop, a football game where France played against Spain, Petanque games, a fantastic culinary experience, where typical French, Spanish and Chinese dishes were prepared and sold by students with all funds being donated to Habitat for Humanity. Students also performed with a Latin Jazz Band as a result of an Interdisciplinary Unit with Music. The week culminated in a colorful Living Art Museum. The Living Museum, in which students had their faces painted to enact paintings they had studied, was a spectacle and we need to thank both the Art and Music departments for collaborating so well with our Language department. Their collaboration across grades and subjects really enhanced this hands-on learning experience.”
It feels like we are hurtling towards the end of the 2016-17 academic year. This is, of course, also the time for closing of a significant chapter in the lives of our graduating students. It’s a time I greet with mixed emotion. While it is always sad to farewell the students, it is also exciting as I contemplate the potential of each person as he or she moves on to the next stage of life, however that may play out.
While things are being completed, so much remains to be done and in so little time.
"The hours creep on apace"
Final Grade 12 Examinations
The Grade 12 students have been taking their final examinations over the past two weeks. The examination session ends, with a sigh of relief I’m sure, on Friday 19 May. The examinations remaining are:
Physics (Monday 15 and Tuesday 16 May)
Spanish (Tuesday 16 and Wednesday 17 May)
Geography (Wednesday 17 and Thursday 18 May)
French (Thursday 18 and Friday 19 May)
BBIS Graduation 2017
Arrangements for the 2107 BBIS Graduation are being finalised on a daily basis. Students have already begun to pick up their gowns, caps and tassels. BBIS Diplomas have been printed, signed and are ready to be presented. The recipient of the ECIS Award for International Understanding has been decided and will be announced during the graduation ceremony. The student speakers and guest speaker are crafting their speeches. The graduation orchestra has been rehearsing. As well as performances by graduating students, two Grade 12 music student compositions will be premiered. The graduation ceremony will be followed by a well-earned celebration at an elegant venue in Berlin.
There is a palpable sense of excitement in the air! By using the hash tag #BBISGraduation2017 you can share your excitement as we near this very special day. Perhaps you could share the choosing the graduation clothing, or the arrival of family and friends who will join us on the day; anything which builds the sense of anticipation, pride and joy.
Grade 11 Biology Slapton Trip
While 82 students are coming to the end of their time at BBIS, and for some, this has been their only school, for others it’s business as usual. The Slapton Trip for Grade 11 biology students has been taking place this week. Students have been immersed in a field-based research station, with six teachers / professional biology researchers to guide them. The content of the IB Biology course is targeted, specifically, but the work also provides excellent preparation for future study in the sciences. Involvement in the field work of professional biologists allows students to develop their skills in an experiential learning environment; something that cannot be achieved to the same degree in a classroom The report generated by this research work counts for 20% of the final grade in Biology.
Grade 11 Examinations
The Grade 11 examinations will run from 29 May – Friday 2 June. The students will be examined on any material covered in the first year of their courses. Please be reminded that IBCP students take three IB Diploma courses as part of their programme so these examinations are significant for all Grade 11 students. Apart from the formal assessment aspect, very importantly, these examinations provide a diagnostic tool to see where students are in terms of their current academic standing as well as their potential to complete the IBDP or IBCP qualification successfully. Decisions about whether a student should continue or take alternative pathways are based, to a significant degree, on the outcome of these examinations.
Good News re Acceptance of the IB Career-Related Programme (IBCP).
It is encouraging to note that more tertiary institutions are accepting IBCP students into their programmes, especially in the United States. The link, below, will take you to a study which
examines the patterns of higher education enrolment, destinations and persistence of all CP graduates from secondary schools in the US between 2013 and 2015.
While BBIS has always appreciated the value of the IBCP, the data provided in the study makes us eve more convinced that for a number of students, the IBCP is a better choice of programme than the IBDP.
Dear BBIS community,
The student charity group ‘Slankets’ would like to share a most gratifying event which took place over Spring Break. Ms. van der Pol delivered a box of 20 hand-decorated journals with BBIS colour pencil gift sets and 10 student sewn Slankets to the Berlin children’s charity organization, Berliner Herz. As one can imagine, our gifts were very well received.
The students of the Slankets group work hard at transforming IKEA blankets into Slankets and decorating journals. These hands-on tasks, however, seem relatively easy compared to the nitty gritty of a charity, namely fundraising and outreach. Through trial and error, and now with more expertise, students have spent many sessions on writing emails and running campaigns. In all, we are very proud that with patience and diligence, we have been able to deliver useful gifts for children undergoing medical care and we certainly will continue.
It is with sincere thanks that we would like to recognize the PTA for awarding a grant to Slankets to purchase 2 new sewing machines. In addition, thanks go to all members of the community who donated their old 2016 calendars; as you can see the images make for wonderful journal covers. Keep us in mind for the 2017 calendars!
Last, but definitely not least, we wish to thank all parents and community members who have remember Slankets when at IKEA. Every week we have received a few colourful blankets. Slankets are made from IKEA blankets (picture above), since from experience, these particular POLARVIDE blankets are of the quality that best suits the making of Slankets. So, please remember Slankets the next time you visit IKEA.
Please drop your donations off at room 3332 or in the Slanket box in the Atrium of house 3.
All the best from us at Slankets and thank you for all your contribution!
Every year BBIS makes music together with many other schools in choirs, orchestras, and Jazz ensemble in the middle of March!
I have been part of the Berlin International Music Project (BIMP), since its start.
This year I participated for the 8th and sadly last time—as I am graduating from BBIS.
Although I enjoyed singing solos many times and helping with repertoire choices, the best aspect of BIMP for me was the joint team work. In the past years BIMP invited visiting groups from other parts of Germany and from abroad for the big BIMP weekend. It was magical seeing how the already eclectic group from 12-14 local schools who practiced for several months together previously--became one, united group when the visiting musicians joined us. During the weekend the entire ensemble became one, loving group of young musicians working toward a common goal.
BIMP 2017 was one of the best performances so far, with a wide ranging, interesting musical repertoire, although I think many of the previous concerts also brought quality music and fun to BBIS.
Being a part of BIMP has been an incredible experience and I wish all the best for the upcoming BIMP concerts!