There are many international schools in Singapore. But there is only one that offers a French-English bilingual programme that is fully aligned to the IB PYP framework. The Canadian International School Lakeside campus is launching a new French-English bilingual programme in August of 2018 for kids in Grades 1 and 2. Albana Bertin, CIS French teacher for the bilingual programme, explains the reasons why CIS is launching this new programme.
How will CIS be teaching these languages?
All learning will be done through inquiry. CIS is not a big fan of teaching language through textbooks. Instead, we try to use authentic materials – such as songs, stories, TV and websites – as much as possible and engage students in active, hands-on activities like acting out plays, cooking and participating in quizzes. We also place a strong focus on creating authentic experiences where learning mirrors real life activities. We will not be translating. All learning will be done through immersion.
There aren’t many French-English bilingual programmes in Singapore. What is CIS hoping to accomplish?
We want to educate students to become bilingual, biliterate and bicultural in both French and English. We feel this will provide them with many cognitive advantages, such as improved concentration, mental flexibility and problem solving capabilities. We also believe it will give them a competitive edge in tomorrow’s job market.
Five years ago, we successfully launched a Chinese-English bilingual programme for students in kindergarten to Grade 6. After that, we developed a reputation as offering one of the best bilingual programmes in Singapore. We now believe we are well placed to offer an additional bilingual programme, this time French-English.
Tell us about a few key features of the programme.
Each class has two qualified teachers – one English speaker and one French speaker. Instruction is inquiry-based and fully aligned to the international Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP). Students also have equal exposure to both languages – classes are in English one day and French the next.
How long have you taught French?
I have been teaching French to school children for over 15 years in different parts of the world such as Kosovo, Angola, Australia and now Singapore. My husband and I are both French, and we have three children. I have a French master’s degree in Communication from the Sorbonne and completed a course at the Institute of Oriental Languages in Paris to teach French as a second language. I love learning languages and can also speak English, Italian, Spanish and Albanian. For many years, I worked closely with the Alliance Française and prepared students for the official language exams. For the past five years, I have been teaching French within the International Baccalaureate framework.
What do you love most about teaching?
I love accompanying my students through their learning and seeing them progress. Watching how a new language offers them new ways for understanding the world around them is very fulfilling. I love helping them to understand each other better. It gives me hope that they will be more tolerant adults, world-savvy and culturally-sensitive.
Written in collaboration with:
Canadian International School
7 Jurong West Street 41 (Lakeside campus)
6734 8088 | cis.edu.sg
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