Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

FAQs on language development

The following provides answers to typical questions CP students have in regards to language development.

Image: Morter, Emily. Unsplash, 2017.

How do I choose the best language for me?

Your school will provide you with advice and outline your options for study at the beginning of the CP. When deciding which language to study, you might like to think about the following factors:

  • language of the host country if you are living overseas

  • language of another culture with your future ambitions in mind

  • a language that supports one of your DP courses

  • a language that will be useful for a component of the CP core (e.g. an overseas trip for service learning)

Does language development have to be a modern foreign language?

No. There are a range of other languages that can be chosen for your language development. These include sign language, classical languages or braille. Sign language, for example, might support your aspirations connected to the study of health and social care or nursing. It could also support a service learning activity such as volunteering in a local hospital or care home.

Are CP students taking an IB Diploma group 2 language required to complete language development?

Yes. All CP students must devote a minimum of 50 hours to language development and complete a portfolio, but this can be an extension of the group 2 language course. For example, a student studying Spanish ab initio may choose to use their 50 hours to extend their Spanish. If they also take business management, a language course that specifically develops business Spanish would enhance and support both areas of study.

A word of caution, however, you must take care not to repeat material from your DP course. It has to be a separate theme or topic.

What are language phases?

The IB has mapped out different stages of language acquisition. At the start of your language development course, you can establish your starting point on their framework and a target for where you hope to be at the end.

There are six phases:

  • emergent communicator (phases one and two)

  • capable communicator (phases three and four)

  • proficient communicator (phases five and six)

These phases identify competencies in the four key areas of oral communication, visual interpretation, reading comprehension and writing, and explain what you should be able to do in each skill at the end of each phase. For example, if you are a complete beginner, at the end of phase one, you will be able to understand and respond to simple phrases and questions. By phase five, you will be able to analyse specific information, ideas, opinions and attitudes in oral, visual and written language. You can use these language phases to help track your own progress.

How often should I meet my supervisor?

Each school will organise this differently, but your supervisor can track your portfolio on ManageBac and give you feedback accordingly. Be proactive in asking for guidance when you feel you need it, particularly if you are doing an online course independently and working alone. Evidence your progress by regularly uploading screenshots of quizzes and test results and record yourself giving verbal answers. This will help your supervisor to guide you.

How is language development assessed?

There is no formal examination for language development, rather it is assessed continuously during the two-year programme. The IB does not assess the language development component of the CP, and your school will determine its own assessment and reporting process. Your supervisor will evaluate whether you have satisfactorily completed language development and report this to the IB.