Diverse Language Options

Language learning is very important at the Western International School of Shanghai. With a community of over 50 nationalities with around 40 languages spoken, we endeavor to support students in not only learning a new language but also in maintaining their mother tongues. Recognizing the significance of mother tongue language development, WISS continually explores opportunities to work with cultural and embassy groups to offer as many mother tongue programs as possible. Mother tongue is defined as the language you would speak as a ‘native’ of your home country, but of course we know that our families are multi-cultural and may have a less well-defined set of language needs. For more information on languages at WISS, or if you would like to try and set up a mother tongue language program, please contact our Head of Language Acquisition, Colin Mosher at cmosher@wiss.cn.

English Language

WISS offers a curriculum that takes into account each student’s individual needs. Each student will work through a step by step continuum of learning goals. Equality of access to the curriculum for all students, including those who learn English as an Additional Language (EAL), is ensured by both direct language support from specialist teachers and a whole school approach in the daily classroom. Additionally, we aim to ensure that all EAL pupils are able to:

  • use English confidently and competently
  • use English as a means of learning across the curriculum
  • where appropriate, make use of their knowledge of other languages
Our EAL specialist teachers have had extensive experience working with children learning English as an additional or second language. The EAL teachers work closely with the main classroom teachers to identify the particular learning needs of English Language Learners. Children are taught English both within the classroom and in small groups working with the EAL specialist who uses resources specifically geared to second language enhancement. Where English is not strong enough to access the curriculum, Chinese or another second language will be replaced by extra English until the level of proficiency increases.

Chinese Language

In this ever evolving and changing world, with so many people becoming globally mobile, the need for bilingualism is paramount. At WISS all students may study Chinese as an additional or native language. The language program will be further enhanced through school assemblies, performances, presentations, and field trips around Shanghai. Chinese is the only language other than English that is offered at every ability level from Nursery through to G12.

Additional Language Programmes

Korean language courses are offered in Grades 9 through 12; namely during the last two years of the MYP and within the DP/CP years. These are mother tongue courses in Korean Language and Literature and are aimed at fluent speakers who wish to maintain and enhance their native tongue.
German, Spanish

These languages are taught in the Secondary School at various ability levels and across a number of grades. They may also be available as Afternoon Activities in Early Years and Primary School and as After School Activities in Primary and Secondary Schools.