This page could help you answer some of the frequently asked questions. Click on the question to see the answer.

What is the best way to learn a second language?

As every individual learns in a unique way, one cannot simply refer to "a best way". Experience has shown though that the more opportunity one has, being able to use/put into practice, that what you have learned the more successful one will become.

When is the best age to learn a second language?

At AIS the children are participating in the Partner Language Programmes from PreK –Grade 5. Generally speaking, the earlier a child starts learning another language the better. Many other factors also have an influence on how successful this learning takes place. Even though one can start learning a second language at any age, research has shown that the earlier one starts the easier it will be to become fluent in the target language. Children who are raised bilingually can learn two or more languages simultaneously. 

How long does it take to learn a second language?

Learning a language, whether this is a new and or additional language, or even your mother tongue, is an ongoing never-ending process. One will be able to master various levels at various stages in time pending on the learning circumstances and putting one's knowledge into practice. 

What are the factors that influence the acquisition of a second language?

There are many factors that will influence (language) learning. Some might be personal, physical, emotional. There are influences of the setting in which one learns, the environment, the group, the ability to use the acquired linguistic knowledge etc. Every individual learns in a unique way which needs to be recognized and accepted. Therefore the teacher’s support and parental stimulus (not force) contribute to becoming successful. 

How is learning a second language different from learning your mother tongue? 

When learning a second language you go through a similar process as learning your mother tongue. You will hear, recognize, store, and at one point reproduce sounds, words and sentences in a constant flow of action/reaction. When learning a second language you will be more aware that you are learning something new while your mother tongue is your reference for learning. Your brain will constantly try to make links with your mother tongue data. 

What is the difference between a written and spoken language? 

Written language is a way of communicating used when face to face communication is not possible at the time. Spoken language is more than just producing language. It also means that one receives extra information through intonation, facial expression, gestures, emotion and environment.

Which is more important: learning grammar or learning vocabulary? 

The German programme is an oral programme which focuses on listening to and reproducing language. Grammar, vocabulary and sentence structures are integrated in the activities.

What should I know about the vocabulary? 

Vocabulary is the foundation of a language. Studies have shown that certain words are used more often than others even when learning your mother tongue. The selections of words learned are carefully chosen to facilitate use of the target language and accomplishing success through positive experiences (think of asking for a pencil and receiving a pencil). Vocabulary can been seen as the bricks in a wall. Together they make the wall bigger and stronger.

What’s the difference between ESL GSL FSL? 

ESL, GSL and FSL are all language programmes. The difference lies in the target language and the goal of the programmes. GSL focuses on speaking and listening while ESL and FSL also focus on reading and writing. Especially ESL (now EAL) prepares children whose mother tongue is not English, to be able to integrate into the regular classes as best as possible.

Where can I find more info about the second language course? 

The team communicates via the bi-weekly newsletter on the programmes. This newsletter can be found on the website afnorth-is.com. Here one can also find more general information on the programme. One can also make an appointment with the teachers.

Where can I find more on how to help my child? 

One can always contact the language teacher for advice. Important to remember is that support should not become force or pressure. This will always have a negative effect. Positive feedback and showing genuine interest can stimulate the child.

What levels are offered? 

In the German programme the children in the younger age groups initially learn the language together at the same level. Differentiation is provided through the teacher’s approach in class. In the older groups a distinction is made between experience and knowledge in order to maintain and facilitate the progress. This process results in three levels beginners, intermediate and advanced. Please see your teacher for more information.

How old does my kid have to be to participate in the class? 

4 years and over.

Are the teachers native speakers?

The teachers are either native or near native speakers with an educational background varying from Kindergarten to Secondary Level.

Are certificates given upon course completion?

In the German programme certificates are issued upon completion of certain themes. The transient pupil population makes it difficult to “complete the course” as most children will be at AIS for a limited period of time.

How many hours a week are used for class? 

At the Elementary Level the US children have four 30 minutes classes per week. The UK/CAN ES children have five 30 minutes classes. The US ES children do not have Partner Language on Wednesdays due to the US early dismissal days.

According to which reference frame do students acquire an additional language (ESL and FSL)? 

The ESL and FSL class use the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The CEFR levels provide an indication of performance and ability to function in communicative contexts in a foreign language.

What is the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)?

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is an international standard for describing language ability. The descriptors specify progressive mastery of each skill, which is graded on a six-level scale (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2).

A1- Beginner 

A2- Basic Level

B1- Intermediate Level

B2- Upper-intermediate Level

C1- Advanced Level

C2- Master


At which level does my child study ESL and FSL? 

In the FSL class, most of the students start at the A1 level.  Students can change levels throughout the years, depending on their language abilities.