The provision of an international education to children of all nationalities, and the promotion of intercultural understanding, are at the core of our mission. The acquisition of proficiency in languages is therefore essential. Language promotes internationally minded understanding and is crucial to personal and intellectual development, as well as to cultural identity. Language learning–be it that of the language of instruction (English), the host language (Norwegian), modern foreign languages, or the student’s mother tongue–is central not only to success of our school curriculum, but also to the student’s ability to participate in a linguistically complex world.

Learning English

English is the primary language of instruction at OIS, and English language learning is a key element of our school’s academic programme. Our diverse make-up means that ongoing language development is the shared responsibility of all teachers, parents, and students. Separate English language tuition is provided to students with low proficiency levels across all year groups.

Learning Norwegian

In addition to English, all students from Years 1-10 learn the host language (Norwegian). Three different learning levels are available to students in each year group, ranging from complete beginner to native speaker. For those students in the native speaker classes (Norwegian A), participation in the Norwegian National Tests is compulsory in Years 6, 8 and 9.

Additional modern languages

All students in Years 8-10 choose either French or Spanish as an additional language and are encouraged to continue learning these in the Upper Secondary. To further promote these languages (as well as Norwegian as a foreign language), the Lower Secondary arranges an International Language Day each year, and Year 10 students spend a week in France or Spain or exploring Norway. The purpose of these trips is for students to use their acquired language in real-life settings, experience the culture of the country and meet students of their own age. Students going to Spain or France live with host families and so get fully immersed.

Special language support

For students whose mother tongue is neither English nor Norwegian, language support is offered through the channels available within the IB Diploma Programme structure–namely the School supported self-taught option, or the Special request language option. In addition–whenever possible–OIS forms partnerships with external language teachers to deliver the Language A course in the student's mother tongue.   

Language courses offered by ASAP

The After School Activities Programme gives both parents and students access to an exciting selection of languages. We currently have English (for parents) and Hindi on offer, as well as Spanish and Norwegian at both beginner and intermediate levels. With such a broad range of nationalities at our school–and with three independent ASA seasons–additional language classes are added according to demand during the year.

Knut Sørlie