English as an Additional Language (EAL)
VIS provides support to students who are in the process of acquiring English through the English as an Additional Language (EAL) Programme. The programme is based on a "Sheltered Immersion" model, which research has shown to be most effective in language development. The Sheltered Immersion model means that students with limited English attend classes with their English speaking peers so that they can be immersed in the English Language. Shelter is provided through withdrawal classes and in-class support given by specialist teachers. While the schedule of support looks different in Primary and Secondary, the model is the same, with the EAL specialist teachers assisting the student to be successful in the mainstream classes.
The principal goal of the EAL programme at VIS is for students to acquire sufficient competence in English to succeed in their studies at levels comparable to those of their non-EAL peers. The programme provides essential support to students from non-English-speaking backgrounds.
High Level/Low Level Support
Students will typically receive high level specialist support for several years while acquiring English. High level support attracts an additional fee. After students demonstrate a level of proficiency they will receive low level support for a continuing period. Low level support does not attract additional fees. A typical student will take 5-7 years to acquire full fluency in another language.
EAL in the Primary Years Programme
For primary students there is no minimum English language requirement for enrollment. There are limitations placed on the number of students within the EAL programme in each grade level to ensure that appropriate support can be provided. Potential EAL students are assessed before their enrollment in school, after which the EAL teacher in conjunction with the homeroom teacher, schedules language support that will best benefit the student. EAL support may be conducted individually or in small groups in the classrooms and in the EAL room. This support is given at different levels and also during foreign language lessons.
EAL in the Middle Years Programme
For Secondary students there are increasing requirements for English proficiency through the grade levels. Students must have sufficient English proficiency to be successful within the level of EAL support provided.Limitations are placed on the number of students in the EAL programme in each grade.
EAL in the Diploma Programme
Students in the Diploma programme require English proficiency. The EAL specialist are available to assist students, however the level of EAL support in the final two years of school is very limited.