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fully supported by a program like the Identity Language Program, which gives them greater agency in choosing and enhancing their language of study. According to Ms. Razeto, it also provides a“sense of belonging”crucial to a fulfilling school experience.
For Grade 9 student Julian Morasch, his chosen language, Italian, was “passed on” throughout his family and he was intent on familiarizing himself with this aspect of his heritage. Julian’s course of study was then designed by Ms. Razeto in conjunction with a tutor to find appropriate resources with which to create the structure for meeting his language goals. This highly individualized learning does not mean that students within the class are disconnected from one another. They often complete projects that give them an awareness of the culture that is linked to their language, and by presenting this information to their fellow classmates, all members of the class gain insight into other customs and tongues.
Unsurprisingly, the assessments for these students are as varied as their studies. “Some students get assessed through their online course, some from their tutors and some are working toward a language certificate (e.g. the Common European Framework of Reference for Language evaluation or the Chinese Proficiency Test for Mandarin) and are assessed on these building blocks,” explains Ms. Razeto. The aforementioned projects on more cultural-based content are also assessed along with regular reflections and a daily language learning portfolio.
  Students often complete projects that give them insight into the culture that is linked to their language, and by presenting these projects to their fellow classmates, all members of the class gain awareness of other cultures and tongues.
The program currently has 12 students who are studying a collective four languages: Dutch, Mandarin, Swedish and Italian. Next year, however, the program is poised to double both those numbers. This is both welcome and unsurprising news to Ms. Razeto as she has witnessed the benefits of the class firsthand. In a mid-semester reflection, one student shared a sentiment that mirrored Ms. Razeto’s observations: “I think this course helped me a lot with my self-confidence and I had a lot of success in this class.”
With the adoption of this course, those words shared over the dinner table, those expressions said with a smile at community events, those phrases serving as reminders of cherished places and people, can be heard and celebrated in the Identity Language Classroom – providing our students with a deeper sense of who they are and our community with a greater connection to one another.
Katie Thieme FIS Parent
  June 2022 FIS World 7

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