International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme » Language Acquisition

Language Acquisition

Nature of Language Acquisition

The ability to communicate in a variety of modes in more than one language is essential to the concept of an international education that promotes multilingualism and intercultural understanding, both of which are central to the IB’s mission.

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.

The acquisition of the language of a community and the possibilities to reflect upon and explore cultural perspectives of our own and other communities:

  • is valued as central to developing critical thinking, and is considered essential for the cultivation of intercultural awareness and the development of internationally minded and responsible members of local, national and global communities
  • is integral to exploring and sustaining personal development and cultural identity, and provides an intellectual framework to support conceptual development
  • 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, enabling them to communicate successfully in various global contexts and build intercultural understanding.

To assist in achieving these broader goals, this guide provides both teachers and students with clear aims and objectives for MYP language acquisition, as well as details of internal assessment requirements.



The aims of all MYP subjects state what a teacher may expect to teach and what a student may expect to experience and learn. These aims suggest how the student may be changed by the learning experience.

An overarching aim of teaching and learning languages is to enable the student to become a critical and competent communicator.

The aims of the teaching and learning of MYP language acquisition are 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 student’s communication skills necessary for further language learning, and for study, work and leisure in a range of authentic contexts and for a variety of audiences and purposes
  • enable the student to develop multiliteracy skills through the use of a range of learning tools, such as multimedia, in the various modes of communication
  • enable the student to 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
  • enable the student to recognize and use language as a vehicle of thought, reflection, self-expression and learning in other subjects, and as a tool for enhancing literacy
  • enable the student to understand the nature of language and the process of language learning, which comprises the integration of linguistic, cultural and social components
  • offer insight into the cultural characteristics of the communities where the language is spoken
  • encourage an awareness and understanding of the perspectives of people from own and other cultures, leading to involvement and action in own and other communities
  • foster curiosity, inquiry and a lifelong interest in, and enjoyment of, language learning.
IBMYP Courses
Chinese 1
Chinese 2
Japanese 1
Japanese 2
Spanish 1
Spanish 2