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MYP Language Acquisition 2020: What to expect?

Exciting developments are underway in the Middle Years Programme (MYP) language acquisition subject group. Curriculum Manager Mercy Ikua–Mink at the IB shares the five new changes you should look out for.

The changes in the Middle Years Programme (MYP) language acquisition subject group will reflect the latest findings on how students learn languages and reinforce the course’s aims.

‘‘Communicating in a variety of modes, in more than one language, fosters international mindedness by enabling students to ‘reflect on their own perspective, culture and identities as well as those of others” (International Baccalaureate Organization, 2019).

You can expect to see many enhancements in the new language acquisition course but here are the top 5 changes to look out for:

The 5 Changes for MYP Language Acquisition

  1. Developing critical and competent communicators: The enhancements of the MYP language acquisition guide will develop the students as effective communicators and help them achieve the subject group aims.
  2. Change in the assessment experience: By changing the assessment method from ePortfolio to on-screen, students will be able to have an immersive, authentic and engaging experience. Furthermore, the oral exam will take place in schools. This means that the speaking component of the assessment can be integrated within the school’s curriculum, internally managed and externally assessed.
  3. Use of multi-modal text in the language acquisition classroom: Students will be able to demonstrate their listening, reading, writing and speaking skills across a variety of modes and multimodal stimulus e.g through a combination of text, images, animations or videos. Multimodal texts act as scaffolds and assists student to successfully use the target language.
  4. A clear and cohesive guide: The new language acquisition guide will make it easier for teachers to structure their daily teaching and learning and has distinct objectives to assess all the four communicative processes (listening, reading, writing and speaking).
  5. Revamped teacher support material (TSM): The new teacher support material includes general guidance on designing tasks and using multimodal texts in teaching and learning in MYP language acqusition. Samples of assessed student work will be added following the first live assessment session.

What teachers think about the new language acquisiton course?

When we asked teachers what they think about the new course, Alison Ya-Wen Yang, an MYP Coordinator at KIS Bangkok and language acquisition teacher for Mandarin,  said ‘‘In my mind, multimodality is an interdisciplinary strategy that not only requires students to interact and interpret texts with different modes, but it also requires students to synthesize knowledge from different subjects to analyse the texts. For example, the poster will require knowledge from arts (colour theory), language (word meaning), and design thinking (layout, audience, title, visual element, etc).”

Barbara Gondek-Błaszków, an MYP language acquisition English Teacher at the International Schools ”Paderewski” in Lublin, Poland said ‘‘Six phases independently assessed have been replaced by criteria based on three competency levels, which, I would say, allows for more consistency with eAssessment exams as they are offered at the same levels. Moreover, it does allow for smoother progression between phases. There was a big gap between expectations for phases 3 and 4 in the previous guide, hence why some teachers struggled with registering the students in the right phase for ePortfolio. Now, the new objectives and their strands make it possible for students of all levels to establish higher-order thinking”

How can you get involved in the implementation of the new language acquisition course?

We will be running a trial of the new eAssessments in November 2020 and invite interest from schools who wish to participate. This opportunity will provide students and teachers with invaluable first-hand experience of the new assessment model, and it will prepare them for the first live assessments in May 2022. To register your interest please contact [email protected] indicating the language, level (emergent, capable or proficient) and the number of candidates. 

Becoming an IB MYP examiner or author also offers unique professional development opportunities and an insight into the assessment process. For open vacancies please visit our website or contact [email protected] for further details. 

Are you interested in participating in the Subject-specific seminars? Click here to sign up and let us know in the comments section what you are most excited to see in the new language acquisition course👇🏼

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