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Languages at CISB


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CISB is an English language instruction school, which means all of our subjects are taught in English. The one exception is a second language, which includes Mandarin for our 3-year-old to Middle school students.

Chinese classes in Elementary are streamed in order to provide native speakers a more rigorous Chinese class. From Grades 6 – 12, the Chinese Language and Literature course is available for native Chinese speakers.

Starting in Grade 9, students have the opportunity to opt for French language. Mother tongue language classes are also available starting in Grade 11.

As part of our application process, all non-native English speakers will complete an English interview to assess the applicant’s reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills against grade-level expectations.  

Students who need extra support in this area join our Bilingual and multilingual learners (BMLs) program at the Primary / Elementary levels, and our English as an Additional Language (EAL) program in Middle/High.
This assessment will place the student on a scale of Level 1 (Beginner) to Level 6 (Fluent). Minimum English language proficiency levels are required for some grades:

  • Nursery to Grade 4 – no minimal overall level required
  • Grade 5 – 3.6 with min. Level 3 in reading & writing
  • (needed by end of the year to matriculate to Middle High)
  • Grade 6 – minimum overall Level 3.6 by May 1st of Grade 6
  • Grade 7 – minimum overall Level 4.0 by May 1st of Grade 7, with a minimum of 3.5 in both reading and writing components
  • Grade 8 – minimum overall Level 4.6 by May 1st of Grade 8, with a minimum of 4 in both reading and writing components
  • Grade 9 – WIDA overall score of 5.0, with a minimum score of 4.5 in reading and writing components by May 1st of Grade 9
  • Grade 10 to 12 – minimum overall Level 5

BML/EAL Proficiency Standards K-12

Bilingual and Multilingual Language (BML)

A BML teacher’s role is to co-plan (on a scheduled collaboration) and co-teach with the students’ Homeroom teacher during their Literacy/UOI Block every day. All BML students receive at least 80 minutes of in-class support per day. Our goal is to reach each child’s full Language potential as we make authentic links to the Homeroom class’ curriculum and provide a differentiated approach based on the needs of each student. Co-teaching looks differently depending on the lesson, individual student and class needs. BML Teachers also work with small groups of students to address specific needs with targeted Language skills (speaking, listening, reading, and writing).

Students who obtain a Level 1 through Level 5  in Grades 1-5 will be enrolled in our specialized in-school BML program that is designed to help students develop their English language skills.

Our BML program varies depending on the student’s current abilities and grade level and includes support from our BML specialist focused on developing particular English skills. Students are regularly re-assessed within the school year to ensure their BML level reflects their developing skills.

When our students achieve a BML Level 6, they are no longer required to take part in our BML program.

English as an Additional Language (EAL)

The English as an Additional Language (EAL) department at CISB uses a co-teaching model with an EAL teacher co-teaching regular content classes with a content teacher. This includes many Individuals and Societies (I&S) classes as well as some Science, Mathematics, and Design classes. The co-teaching model allows for two trained teachers to switch roles, purposively group learners, and provide needed support for all students from multiple perspectives. The EAL department focuses on long-term vocabulary retention and integration of language and content learning. Extensive collaboration time with the content teachers focuses on inclusion in classroom planning including scaffolding, individualized support, and sheltered instruction. EAL teachers often teach language acquisition or the content classes they are co-teaching in addition to EAL, providing specialized strategies with language learners in mind.

Chinese Language

Students from Preschool to Grade 8 will study Mandarin as their second language.  In our Preschool and Elementary programs, this includes one 40-minute period per day and, starting in Grade 2, is leveled based on the student’s ability.  In our Middle and High programs, Mandarin is taught as 1 of their 8 subject groups (usually seven 55-minute classes over a 10 day schedule).

French Language

As a Canadian school, CISB offers French language courses to high school students as well as through our after-school programs.

Additional Languages

CISB values the development of Mother Tongue languages and works to support continued learning through resources in our libraries to supporting Mother Tongues Self-Taught courses in our IB Diploma Programme.

Supporting this learning are after-school programs that develop French and Spanish skills that are available to both CISB students and our Parent communities.


How to register your child for CISB

Our online application makes applying to join our CISB community as easy as 1, 2, 3!

Call For Inquiry

(86-10) 6465 7788

01. Get in touch!

Our Admissions team is happy to answer any questions about learning at CISB or our application. Give us a call or email. If you're already in Beijing, come visit! We're happy to take you on a private tour of our beautiful campus.

02. Apply

Use our convenient online application to submit your information and the supporting documents we need.

03. Let's meet!

Once we've received your completed application, our Admissions team will be in touch to schedule English assessments or family interviews.

Together is Better!

Canadian International School of Beijing
38 Liangmaqiao Rd., Chaoyang District, Beijing, 100125, China

(+86-10) 6465 7788