English Language Acquisition: Linguistic Learning in an Immersive Environment

Leysin American School has been a pioneer among international schools in providing language programs to help multilingual students succeed in preparing for life during and after high school. While we celebrate and encourage students to nurture their mother tongue and other languages, we also see a great deal of improvement among our students learning English. Our unique immersive environment, characteristic of an international boarding school, fosters this skill development, helping to facilitate linguistic growth and cultural exchange.

This linguistic growth is primarily developed through the English Language Acquisition (ELA) program. The ELA program has a dual focus on developing students’ academic and social language in reading, writing, speaking, and listening and their content knowledge in all academic subjects.

Students who are emerging multilinguals take English language (ELA) courses (in three levels) and sheltered content courses in social studies and science to help with concepts, content, and language until these students are highly proficient in English. While English remains an essential goal for LAS students as it is the global language, LAS aims to support students’ continued development of their mother or home languages as well, which is known as additive bilingualism.

At LAS, multilingual students acquire language through meaningful content. This means that students learn the language through studying other subjects like history, arts, math, and science, as well as through meaningful, enriching social interactions in their daily lives in dorms, faculty families, events, activities, and trips. When assigning roommates, we always aim to pair students from different backgrounds and cultures to enable cultural sharing and language learning, and we always see our students thrive in this environment!

Teachers at LAS encourage emerging multilingual students to explore content by initially reading, writing, and discussing new concepts in their own languages to access their prior knowledge and understanding. In addition, LAS offers the opportunity to maintain students’ mother/home languages through the IB Language A self-taught provisions and courses. LAS libraries provide students with an international collection of books containing reading materials in 23 different languages to help students maintain engagement in their mother tongues.

Leysin American School stands as a pioneer of linguistic acquisition, fostering an environment where multilingual students thrive. Through our ELA program and commitment to additive bilingualism, we empower students to not only master English but also develop other languages, including their mother tongues. In doing so, students develop the linguistic section of the brain, thus improving their English acquisition too. Our immersive approach, blending language learning with content studies and cultural interactions, cultivates holistic growth and deepens cultural understanding. Our diverse student body reflects the diversity of the world around them, and by nurturing language proficiency across different backgrounds, LAS prepares students for success post-LAS. Students will be equipped with the skills and perspectives needed to navigate an ever-changing global society.

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Leysin American School in Switzerland

Leysin American School in Switzerland

Located in the breathtaking Swiss Alps, Leysin American School has a history of nurturing talent and motivating students to succeed in education, sports, and the arts. The boarding school bring together students from around the world to create a campus community with a global perspective and a family atmosphere. LAS offers the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma, a comprehensive US university preparatory curriculum, and, for non-native English speakers, an integrated English Language Acquisition (ELA) program.

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