International school of Lund - ISLK

Language Policy

The language profile of ISLK reflects the diversity of the local community.


The ISLK Mission Statement says:

ISLK is committed to creating an environment of equal opportunities that promotes understanding and respect, with a continuous focus on social responsibility and democratic issues. The aim of the school is to provide a quality curriculum, allowing students to realise their highest potential and gain a life-long love for learning.

Our mission is to educate all students in a supportive and challenging environment to become open-minded, life-long learners whose performance is a credit to themselves and society.

In order to achieve our mission, we see languages as resources that express cultures and identities. These are valuable assets for becoming open-minded learners. We believe that the learning and teaching of language at ISLK should encourage and give opportunity to all students to express themselves confidently and creatively in more than one language. As well as practising listening carefully to the perspectives of other individuals and groups. At ISLK all teachers are language teachers and are responsible for creating and promoting a caring community of language learners which encourages taking risks. Professional development for staff varies, when possible or when needed staff can receive either internal PD (provided by programme coordinators or subject leaders) or external PD (eg, IB workshop Multilingual teaching and learning). We provide education for international students with unique and diverse backgrounds, knowledge, learning styles, strengths and challenges. We see student diversity and individual differences of all kinds as opportunities for enriched learning and not as problems to be fixed. It is central to the development of international mindedness and intercultural understanding and respect.

Language Profile of the ISLK Community

The language profile of ISLK reflects the diversity of the local community. Lund is one of Sweden’s most international cities due to its university and companies that attract professionals and their families from all over the world. Students and staff at ISLK form a part of this multilingual community. The transitory nature of our student body results in an ever-changing language profile. The student body of ISLK represents approximately 45 different languages where a majority of the students are fluent in more than one language and the staff body represents 20 different nationalities. These exact numbers fluctuate from year to year, however they are usually similar to this. ISLK values and embraces our rich language landscape.


All staff at ISLK have a sense of shared responsibility and contribute through their different roles to ensure a positive, inclusive atmosphere and for each student to experience a sense of belonging and respect for who they are. We continuously value and celebrate our diversity such as cultural and religious diversity, learning diversity, and multilingualism.

ISLK encourages multilingualism in order to enhance the learning environment and promote the wellbeing of students. This entails affirming identity by “promoting a class and school environment that welcomes and embraces the diversity of languages, cultures, and perspectives” (Language and learning in IB programmes P. 31, 2014).

In accordance with these goals, the students have the opportunity to study their home and family language from PYP 3 to MYP 5. This is provided as Mothertongue (Modersmål) lessons provided by Lunds Kommun. We value and embrace all students’ home languages as a resource and support for learning as well as strong collaboration with parents to help establish an understanding of students’ home languages and contribute to affirming identity.

When applying to ISLK, families are asked to map out their child's language(s) and the estimated level of the language(s) in order for the school to know the student’s language background and prepare for adequate support and reception.

While ISLK values the diversity of languages, the language of instruction at ISLK is English. Through student agency, we aim for students to choose and develop a consistent variety of English, e.g. British or American. We strive to enable our students to access their education in English with the support of other languages and through immersion.

Swedish is the host country language. Therefore all students are required to learn Swedish at an appropriate level, PYP and MYP levels are described in programme specific areas below. ISLK continually engages with the Swedish community through cultural activities, field trips, visits to/from local businesses, and cooperation with local schools.

Language learning and teaching

Language learning and teaching span all disciplines and stages of development. The continuum of language domains at ISLK outlines the way we teach and learn literacy. It is based on Michael Halliday’s (1985) three strands (Language and learning in IB programmes, P 21, 2014):

  • learning of language (interpersonal and practical communicative skills)
  • learning through language (constructing meaning, synthesizing information,internalizing concepts)
  • learning about language (literary analysis, critical thinking, interpretations of texts)

These skills are interdependent and interconnected. Language learning requires the learner to work simultaneously with the different domains. Examples of the main skills are reading, writing, listening, speaking, viewing, and presenting. ISLK uses a variety of strategies to develop these skills, some of which are listed in Appendix 1.

In both the PYP and MYP we believe that every aspect of a student’s school experience is a valuable opportunity for the development of language skills. We use language to construct meaning, support conceptual development and develop critical thinking skills. Language and literacy skills are taught in a relevant, authentic context within the Units of Inquiry (PYP) and through all subjects (MYP), under the umbrella of the Approaches to Learning skills.

Learning and teaching at ISLK reflect a language-rich environment and provide meaningful reading and writing experiences. We aim for an integration of authentic literature and the teaching of different text types to support student inquiry. We use a balanced literacy approach to instruction including modelled reading, language experience, shared reading, guided reading, book discussion groups, independent reading, and writer’s workshops. Teachers use formative assessments and observations to guide language instruction and determine the students’ needs in strategy and skill development.

Language Support

English is the language of instruction at ISLK. The practice of the school is to immerse students in English-speaking classrooms with students of their own age. The goal is to support a speedy language acquisition process enabling the student to access the curriculum and participate in all aspects of school life as quickly as possible. Please also see the ISLK Inclusive Education Policy for inclusive practices to do with language.

Students are assessed upon their arrival and given support based on their needs. Both the MYP and PYP have a language acquisition scale adapted from WIDA. See Appendix 2. WIDA’s five developmental stages are used to document individual student progress towards the target language.


General - Languages in PYP

In Learning and Teaching (2018:86) we find ideals to strive for in language teaching, see Appendix 3. Teachers follow the IB PYP Language Scope and Sequences and ISLK PYP developed vertical alignments to plan language learning experiences.

Reading instruction in the PYP

Reading instruction focuses on five essential components: phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. PYP teachers believe that language and literacy learning is a developmental process. Therefore, we use flexible grouping in reading, writing, and spelling instruction to allow students to learn at their individual instructional levels and differentiate learning and teaching.

Language Support in the PYP

PYP students in need of English language support (ELS) are scheduled to have ELS lessons two times per week in a smaller setting with a specialised language support teacher. These lessons are back to back with Swedish lessons, as students who are new to English will prioritise learning English before they start learning Swedish. Some students will receive additional in-class or pull-out support as needed. Usually the PYP students will need at least one year of English language support lessons before they are ready to join the Swedish classes.

Swedish in the PYP

All PYP students participate in Swedish lessons unless they attend English language support (ELS). Swedish is taught as a separate subject by specialist teachers two hours per week. The Swedish classes focus on introducing PYP students to the Swedish language (conversational and ‘everyday’ spoken language), Swedish traditions and culture, and society and geography of Sweden. The Swedish lessons aim to allow students to explore our host country and develop international mindedness by making connections to their own languages and cultures.

A Swedish home and family language/near native lesson is available as an additional one lesson per week for students who are eligible. This lesson is to support students who have a native speaking parent and/or who are speaking/listening and reading/writing at near native levels.

The learning and teaching for PYP Swedish follows the IB PYP Language Scope and Sequence as it is interpreted in PYP vertical alignments: PYP Swedish learning outcomes. See To be Added, appendix 4.


General - Languages in MYP

Language and Literature indicates that the language is taught in a way appropriate for native speakers or near-native speakers. Language Acquisition indicates that the language is taught in a way appropriate for students who are not native or near-native speakers.

The aim for all students is to have at least one Language and Literature course and one Language Acquisition course, but it may be that a student for a certain period of time will be having two Language Acquisition courses instead, or one Language and Literature course and one English language support. All MYP students at ISLK are enrolled in English Language & Literature and supported within the program.

Language Support in the MYP

Some MYP students may need additional language support to supplement what is provided by the subject teachers. This is decided by the Learning Support Team (LST) in collaboration with the mentors and subject teachers. With the aid of a teacher or learning support assistant, these identified students may have small group tuition and/or in-class support to reinforce language skills and subject-specific material. Temporary adjustments may be made to the timetables replacing regular classes with English language support.

Swedish Language and Literature and Swedish Language Acquisition in the MYP

There are two MYP Swedish courses offered at ISLK: Swedish Language and Literature (Swedish LL) and Swedish Language Acquisition (Swedish LAQ). Swedish is a part of the MYP curriculum for all students with the exception for students whose timetables are modified for extra English language support depending on individual needs. All PYP students entering the MYP will participate in a placement test to determine the MYP level appropriate for the continuation of Swedish language learning.

Swedish LL indicates that the language is taught in a way appropriate for native speakers or near-native speakers of the Swedish language. In Swedish LL, Swedish is the language of instruction and students are expected to communicate with the teacher and with each other in Swedish at all times during the lesson. Swedish LAQ is for students who are in the process of acquiring the language and who are not yet at a native or near-native level. Swedish LAQ consists of 6 phases, spanning from beginners, phase 1, up to near-native level (phase 6). However, students who have mastered the requirements of phase 4 are usually deemed ready to transition to Swedish LL. The Swedish LAQ teacher is responsible for the placement of students in the different phases according to their abilities outlined in the Phase Rubric in Appendix 2. The language teachers and the MYP Coordinator decide when it is appropriate for a student to transition from Swedish LAQ to Swedish LL based on the assessment of the student’s level of the language with regards to the objectives and criteria for the two courses.

French and Spanish Language Acquisition in the MYP

Aside from Swedish Language Acquisition, French and Spanish are offered in MYP at ISLK. All students are required to have at least one Language Acquisition. Most students at ISLK have more than one Language Acquisition. Students in need of different kinds of support could occasionally be working according to a modified timetable where the Language Acquisition is not included. Language Acquisition consists of 6 phases, spanning from beginners, phase 1, up to near-native level (phase 6). The Language Acquisition teacher is responsible for the placement of students in the different phases according to their abilities outlined in the Phase Rubric in the Appendix 5. In order to move up to the next phase, the student must have reached most of the objectives of the previous phase or have been studying the language for two years. Adaptations will be made for students with learning needs. Students who arrive during MYP 5 with no previous knowledge of any of the languages offered at ISLK will not start a new language course in MYP5 with the exception of Swedish Language Acquisition. Students who arrive from another school and have studied French or Spanish will take a diagnostic test in order to be placed in the appropriate phase. Students are encouraged to continue learning the same Language Acquisition (French or Spanish) in each year of the MYP but exceptions may be made for a student to transfer to another language under special circumstances. Students who are native or near-native speakers of French or Spanish are usually not eligible for the corresponding Language Acquisition course. These students will be advised to take the home and family language course in that language provided by the municipality (Modersmål).

Appendix 1-5 available upon request, please contact PYP or MYP programme coordinator.


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