Subject Overview: Language acquisition


The ability to communicate in more than one language is essential to the concept of an international education that promotes intercultural understanding, and is central to the IB’s mission. At Impington all year 7 students study a language and have the opportunity to learn French, German and Spanish. The study of additional languages in the MYP provides students with the opportunity to develop insights into the features, processes and craft of language and the concept of culture, and to realize that there are diverse ways of living, behaving and viewing the world. 


Acquiring an additional language and exploring and reflecting on the cultural perspectives of our own and other communities: 


  • is central to developing critical thinking and international-mindedness 
  • provides an intellectual framework to support personal development, cultural identity and conceptual understanding 
  • greatly contributes to the holistic development of students and to the strengthening of lifelong learning skills 
  • equips students with the necessary multiliteracy skills and attitudes to communicate successfully in various global contexts

The aims of MYP language acquisition are to encourage and enable students to: 


  • gain proficiency in an additional language while supporting maintenance of their mother tongue and cultural heritage 
  • develop a respect for, and understanding of, diverse linguistic and cultural heritages 
  • develop the communication skills necessary for further language learning, and for study, work and leisure in a range of contexts 
  • develop multiliteracy skills through the use of a range of learning tools 
  • develop an appreciation of a variety of literary and non-literary texts and to develop critical and creative techniques for comprehension and construction of meaning 
  • recognize and use language as a vehicle of thought, reflection, self-expression and learning in other subjects 
  • understand the nature of language and the process of language learning 
  • gain insight into the cultural characteristics of the communities where the language is spoken 
  • gain an awareness and understanding of the perspectives of people from own and other cultures 
  • develop curiosity, inquiry and a lifelong interest in, and enjoyment of, language learning.

Assessment criteria 

Each language acquisition objective corresponds to one of four equally weighted assessment criteria. Each criterion has eight possible achievement levels (1–8), divided into four bands with unique descriptors that teachers use to make judgments about students’ work. 


Criterion A: Comprehending spoken and visual text 

Students interpret and construct meaning from spoken and visual texts to understand how images presented with oral text interplay to convey ideas, values and attitudes. 


Criterion B: Comprehending written and visual text 

Students construct meaning and interpret written and visual text to understand how images presented with written text interplay to convey ideas, values and attitudes. 


Criterion C: Communicating in response to spoken and/or written and/or visual text 

Students develop their communication skills by interacting on a range of topics of personal, local and global interest and significance, and responding to spoken, written and visual text in the target language. 


Criterion D: Using language in spoken and/or written form 

Students recognize and use language suitable to the audience and purpose (for example, home, classroom, formal and informal, social, academic contexts). Students apply their understanding of linguistic and literary concepts to develop a variety of structures, strategies and techniques.


Year 7

Students will learn how to describe their family life and local area, explore blogs about different cultures, engage with customs, habits and traditions from other countries, write to a pen pal and plan a trip.