What makes learning a language, especially the French language, a success? Primary Vice Principal of Canadian International School (CIS), DR XIOMARA CRUZ, shares her expert insights on the school’s French-English bilingual education programme.
What sets your French-English bilingual programme apart?
Speaking a language without understanding its cultural context has very little real-world value. CIS integrates cultural aspects into learning, so students can communicate from a place of understanding, not just say or repeat the words.
Just recently, our Grade 6 students celebrated International Dot Day by learning about the spirit of kindness and French art history including the Pointillism technique, before describing a related artwork’s composition and colours in French.
Students also celebrate and learn from all Francophone countries, so they understand how French unites many cultures around the world and develop a global mindset. During Francophonie Week, for example, students create exhibits to share about the arts, music and dance of various Frenchspeaking countries like Senegal and Belgium.
The bilingual education programme involves inquiry-based learning; what does that look like in the classroom?
Canadian International School teachers create purposeful learning experiences to help students connect with and understand the French language. Our inquiry-based lessons take place in authentic settings, where they can use the language in a real-world context such as immersive hands-on activities like quizzes, plays and cooking.
For instance, one lesson at our learning kitchen saw students read recipe instructions in French, while communicating in the language. When we celebrated la Chandeleur (2 February), they learnt about French culture through food by making French crêpes.
What should parents look for when choosing a bilingual education programme?
Consider how the programme will develop your child holistically and the experiences that the school can provide. At CIS, our fantastic group of educators work together to create a rigorous academic programme that facilitates language learning. Using the best research-based practices, our highly qualified teachers and language experts plan and deliver a well-balanced curriculum that’s both engaging and academically rigorous.
In your view, why should parents consider the CIS bilingual education programme for their child?
Learning a second language benefits a child in many ways, from cognitive to academic. As an IB school, bilingual students of Canadian International School experience true international education that develops their French and English language skills, and also promotes their academic and social emotional development.
What inspired your passion for bilingual education?
I’m from Puerto Rico and I grew up speaking Spanish while learning English at the same time. From there, I became interested in how children learn languages.
To date, I have 15 years’ experience in education. During this time, I’ve been a consultant to bilingual schools in South America and Hong Kong, and have led bilingual programmes in Spanish, Chinese and now French.
You’re invited to Canadian International School’s French Carnaval on 23 November!
The CIS French-English bilingual programme is the only one in Singapore fully aligned to the IB Primary Years Programme – it’s designed to help students become successful bilingual, biliterate and bicultural global citizens. At the French Carnaval, experts will share the school’s unique approach that sees children becoming fluent communicators in both languages. There will be French-inspired activities such as cheese tasting, dining in a French café run by CIS students, and the chance to build your own miniature Eiffel Tower. From 9am. Register at cis.edu.sg/french-carnaval
Canadian International School
- 7 Jurong West Street 41 | 6467 1732
- 371 Tanjong Katong Road | 6345 1573
This article first appeared in the November 2022 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy! Also check out our expat’s guide to neighbourhoods in Singapore and guide to international schools reviewed by parents.