As more international students flocked to SCIS over the years, the school knew language programmes must be more rigorous to not only help students communicate with each other, but prepare them for a wide range of disciplines.
Alison Roberts, a language acquisition expert, stepped in to make this possible. Upon joining, Roberts implemented more comprehensive classes –– many of which had a strong focus on the Humanities to prepare international students for Language and Literature lessons. Today, her support has benefited a range of disciplines.
“One year I spent a lot of time with the science department, especially with EAL students,” she explains. “That’s a difficult class because there is so much vocabulary they may not be familiar with. There is a lot of vocabulary for native English speakers, and it can be quite overwhelming if you are an EAL Language Acquisition student.”
Roberts is also keen on helping students become confident. She believes that no student should ever be afraid of reaching their full potential. When they feel like the best versions of themselves, they often feel inspired to encourage others to achieve the same. For Roberts, it’s a relationship-based approach to educating that sparks these transformations.
“I’m the middle school student counsellor teacher sponsor because I am passionate about seeing a sense of community grow within the student population,” she says. “Naturally I tend to gravitate towards the students who have higher language needs because they need the most support. I had a student who came in with absolutely no language and this would impact their self-confidence.”
Roberts has spent the last three years working with this student one-on-one. Today, this learner is a master at overcoming challenges independently. Their sessions still take place, just less frequently. “Learning English is a long haul,” Roberts explains. “However, at SCIS, it’s very hard to do anything halfway or even 90% –– especially when it comes to providing for a child’s future.”
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