IB Language And Literature | Halcyon International School London

IB Language
and Literature

Observations within classrooms consistently noted engaging and insightful discourse where different perspectives were explored or where learners were being asked to view problems through a certain lens which encouraged developing skills of empathy and understanding.

NEASC, 2018

Grade 6 Reading Challenge
classroom case study

Through our ‘Choose Your Own Reading Adventure Challenge’, our Grade 6-8 students are striving to take their reading to a higher level every day. Exploring a range of literary works varying from The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon to Lord of the Flies by William Golding, our students can select a new challenge after they finish books across the course of the journey.

Reading throughout all stages of an IB education is an important part of nurturing a culture of investigation, inquiry, and curiosity.


Language and Literature

Language and Literature provides International Baccalaureate students an opportunity to “develop critical, creative and personal approaches to studying and analysing literary and non-literary texts”*. Through their studies, students will hone their listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing and presenting skills with the aim of investigating and understanding how texts are used in their world.

Middle Years Programme

In the Middle Years Programme, learners will analyse and produce a range of texts to understand language “as a vehicle for thought, creativity, reflection, learning, self-expression, analysis and social interaction.”

Diploma Programme

Diploma Programme students may choose to study Literature or Language and Literature, and through the study of texts will gain, “an appreciation of the different perspectives of people from other cultures, and how these perspectives construct meaning.”

The International Baccalaureate obliges teachers to integrate diversity into the curriculum, and Halcyon ensures that a variety of translated texts are included in English subject units. Our teachers are also committed to ensuring that Middle Years Programme students engage equally with studies in both language and literature, as required by the International Baccalaureate.

Language Acquisition

Language Acquisition is a compulsory part of both the IB Middle Years Programme and Diploma Programme, providing students with the opportunity to “gain proficiency in an additional language while supporting the maintenance of their mother tongue and cultural heritage.” At Halcyon, we offer a choice of Spanish or Mandarin as MYP Language Acquisition subjects to our students at different ‘Phase’ levels to accommodate all abilities, with French and additional acquisition languages available at Diploma level.

Middle Years Programme

In the Middle Years Programme, students develop their knowledge and understanding of either Spanish or Mandarin, enabling them to “recognize and use language as a vehicle of thought, reflection, self-expression and learning in other subjects.” Students who speak French at home or who have attended a French school may also enrol in French Club to prepare for taking French at Diploma Level, which is also offered at Halcyon.

Diploma Programme

In the Diploma Programme, students further develop this “awareness of the importance of language in relation to other areas of knowledge” in Spanish, Mandarin, French, or a separate language acquisition option; providing them with “a basis for further study, work and leisure through the use of an additional language.”

Our teachers build our students’ achievement through activities that require learners to comprehend, create and respond to a variety of spoken, written and visual texts.

*Quotations are taken from the International Baccalaureate Subject Guides. Read more:
MYP Curriculum
DP Curriculum

Further student work examples

Grade 11 Virtual Poetry Seminar

During our remote learning period, Grade 11 led an in-depth discussion on Margaret Atwood’s poetry by sharing their screens on Google Meet and highlighting quotations as they worked through the text together – a student-run online seminar.

Our students’ personal and creative approaches to analysing their chosen poems showcased exemplary communication and leadership. We were pleased to see that our students have utilised their collaboration skills in their studies of language and literature throughout online learning.

IB Language and Literature Enrichment

Mother Tongue Languages

Our Mother Tongue Programme offers our students a way to connect with their linguistic heritage and home culture as they take their reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills to a higher level. In small classes – often 1 to 1 – students engage in a range of bespoke tasks including translation, conversation practice, and analysis of literary works: often in preparation for taking their Mother Tongue language at SL (Standard Level) or HL (Higher Level) as an option in the Diploma Programme. We currently offer a range of over 10 Mother Tongue languages including French, Swedish, and Japanese – we can adjust these options in response to students’ needs. Read more here: Mother Tongue and English Plus.

Competitions (COBIS)

As an international IB World School, Halcyon is an accredited member of COBIS (the Council of British International Schools) and enjoys participating in the annual COBIS poetry competition. Through this competition – based on themes such as ‘Connections’ – our students can choose from a variety of poetic forms to explore their ideas and question the nature and meaning of the theme.

Guest blogs

We welcome our students to share their ideas and showcase their sharp critical thinking skills by contributing a guest blog to the Halcyon App. Our students have submitted articles spanning a range of topics and subject areas including the ‘nature vs nurture’ debate and antimicrobial resistance.

IB Language and Literature enrichment

Clubs, support, and super-curriculars

-English Plus Programme
-Halcyonite Magazine
-Featured Student Blogs on the Halcyon App
-Annual Argentinian exchange
-Cuenca Trip
-China/Taiwan Trip
-Mother Tongue Programme
Work Experience, University and Careers Counselling

IB Language and Literature Facilities

Halcyon Library

An IB education supports students in developing the project management and research skills that will help them thrive at university and beyond. Our students can practice their research methods through our school library resources: using our expansive online resources and our physical collection, students can develop ideas for their Personal Project or Extended Essay, explore a personal interest, prepare for an assessment or simply engage in further fiction reading.

London Trips

London offers our students an opportunity to explore the vibrant, dynamic culture of sites that have inspired the literary works of playwrights and authors across the course of the centuries. Enjoying access to the world’s best museums and theatres, our students can also enjoy an enriched languages education by viewing plays in Spanish and Mandarin.

Global Trips

Our annual trips to China and Spain enhance language education for our students, providing opportunities for learners to develop their comprehension skills in speaking, writing, reading, and listening.

China Trip

Our students visited a range of urban and rural destinations on their most recent trip to China!

Subject groups:

Languages and Literature

We invite you to explore the full range of subject areas in the IB Middle Years Programme (IB MYP) and the IB Diploma Programme (IB DP), including language acquisition, literature, mathematics, science, the IB core, and more. You can also review students’ subject options at both Higher Level (HL) and Standard Level (SL) in the Diploma Programme, which may help your family think about a subject combination at our IB World School that will provide a good foundation for a range of courses at universities and colleges around the world.