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Transitioning to mainstream international education with the Intensive English Language Programme

Updated 20 Feb 2024

Established in 1993, the International School Ho Chi Minh City (ISHCMC) holds the distinction of being the first international school in Ho Chi Minh City. With a legacy spanning over three decades, ISHCMC has become synonymous with excellence in international education, offering a dynamic learning environment that nurtures young minds and fosters a spirit of global citizenship among its students.

As the first International Baccalaureate (IB) World School in Vietnam, ISHCMC provides a rigorous curriculum that challenges students to excel not just academically, but also personally and socially, preparing them to thrive in an increasingly interconnected world. To effectively transition students to a mainstream international education, ISHCMC developed the Intensive English Language Programme (IELP) to address the challenges facing non-English speaking students.

Challenges facing international students

At the heart of ISHCMC's inclusive and forward-thinking educational approach is the IELP, designed to bridge language gaps and empower students for whom English is not a native language. The programme is lauded by parents for its comprehensive framework, providing robust support to students who are not yet ready to transition into mainstream education fully.

For many students, who are not native English speakers, enrolling at an international school where lessons are taught in English can be a challenge. From entry exams to science lessons or conversations with classmates from other countries, it can feel daunting for a beginner English student to adapt to school life. ISHCMC believes that every child should have an equal chance to learn and thrive, every day. This thinking underpins the Intensive English Language Programme.

What is the Intensive English Language Programme (IELP)?

Teacher assisting students in class

The IELP is an academic programme, designed to prepare students to succeed academically and among a student cohort of more than 60 different nationalities at ISHCMC. The programme aims to aid students with beginner-level English proficiency in adapting to the rigorous academic environment at ISHCMC. Through an intensive 20-week or 40-week programme, students learn to fully engage with an IB-style curriculum covering Maths, Science, Language Acquisition and Humanities while strengthening their fundamental English skills in reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

The IELP programme is set apart from what is on offer at other international schools because it aligns with the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP). This ensures that while the instruction is tailored for varying English language proficiency levels, the content of each lesson remains at the same high standard found in mainstream classes. 

This content-rich programme is inquiry-based and project-driven, offering students a comprehensive educational experience. Outside academic subjects, students also get the chance to engage in Physical and Health Education, Arts & Design, and Positive ISHCMC initiatives, developing the whole child and preparing them for a smooth transition into ISHCMC’s mainstream MYP classes.

The impact of the IELP programme

Parents of IELP students speak volumes about the programme's impact. They appreciate the detailed content and the personalised follow-up each student receives, ensuring that their unique educational needs and learning pace are catered to. Emphasising the programme's importance for her daughter, Mio, a parent from Japan, explained, 'We believe that her growth was fostered by both her language progress and the power of non-verbal interactions she had with mainstream students. The detailed content and follow-up of the programme were beyond our expectations.'

The integration of the IELP within the ISHCMC secondary campus is one of the aspects of the programme that is warmly received by the parent community. It provides IELP students with a valuable opportunity to interact with their peers in the mainstream educational setting, fostering a sense of community and belonging. 

This integration is instrumental in facilitating a smooth transition for students as they progress in their English proficiency and academic journey. "Having transferred from Korea, the IELP was a great programme for taking the first step towards attending an international school. The experience has undoubtedly contributed to my son’s development, not only as a language learner but also as a young individual" remarked a parent, highlighting the inclusive and supportive learning environment fostered by ISHCMC.

The programme's location within the secondary campus promotes continuous interaction and integration with the entire ISHCMC community. This sense of community and the constant feedback from parents with children enrolled in the programme has been instrumental in shaping the future direction of the IELP.

The IELP at ISHCMC is more than just an English language programme; it lays the groundwork for a wider spectrum of educational and personal growth opportunities for children for whom English is a second language. As one parent eloquently stated, 'The IELP at ISHCMC doesn't just teach English; it opens doors to a world of opportunities for our children.' This statement encapsulates the essence of the IELP – to unlock each student's potential and prepare them to become active, confident participants in an internationally minded community like that of ISHCMC.

To gain further insights into the IELP programme and witness its transformative impact, ISHCMC warmly invites parents to the upcoming webinar on Friday, March 15, 2024, at 2.30 PM (ICT). The session will delve into the programme's methodologies, successes, and the vibrant community it nurtures. To register for ISHCMC’s IELP Webinar, click here.

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