The International Stream: Primary (InSP) provides a high quality, authentic international curriculum path, for children aged 5-11, largely delivered in English, with some distinctive, high quality Azerbaijani components. Instruction in local language and history is delivered on a more intensive basis to host country nationals who attend the InSP, with alternate provision offered to expatriate students.
Classes progress through lessons in a range of curriculum subjects (see The curriculum subjects and our approach to teaching and learning below) pitched at a level similar to (or above those) experienced by students at top independent (private) schools in an English-speaking country.
Students who attend InSP receive an excellent holistic education, enabling them to excel later on in their secondary education whether they intend to continue their studies at MTK International School or within other high quality local curriculum schools.
The core language of the classroom / other languages used
English is the language of instruction used in lessons. Classrooms aim to provide an English-immersion environment, created by positively encouraging students to use InSP’s shared language.
Classes progress through lessons in twelve main curriculum subjects (see The curriculum subjects and our approach to teaching and learning below) pitched at a level similar to (or above that) experienced by students in an equivalent private school in an English-speaking country.
Our students are a blend of host-country nationals and expatriate children and young people; many speak English as a second or additional language. Use of our shared language is always achieved in a sensitive, age appropriate and non-punitive way - i.e. teachers will use phrases such as “and what is that word in English?” or “...can you now explain that to your friend now in English since he doesn’t speak Russian?”. Teachers avoid reprimanding students for speaking another language in class, while making expectations of the use of English as the shared language clear.
Assistant teachers who possess skills in Azerbaijani, Russian (or other languages which are students’ non-English mother tongue) use this in a positive way to support learning, for example, translating some key vocabulary in lessons or creating dual language resources to which some students can refer.
Induction of students who are new to English / have EAL needs
We provide a focused ‘English as an Additional Language’ (EAL) induction programme for students who are new to speaking English and learning in the English language. At first this involves EAL induction students learning together with their peers during more practical and less language-focused subjects (e.g. Maths Art, Physical Education, Music), while at the same time receiving specific instruction tailored to their language level (i.e. separate lessons) in English, Science and Global Perspectives.
The precise blend of separate learning in EAL classes and supported learning within a mainstream class that is appropriate, depends on the child but as a rule, it is our aim for students entering the school with emergent English to be fully accessing an age appropriate international curriculum in English within 1.5 - 2 academic years of their enrolment.
The above relies heavily on an effective home-school partnership being in place and a family’s willingness to accept that this is a vital pre-entry requirement of the InSP, even more so for EAL entrants. If you wish to enrol a child in to our Primary International Stream, we require the following:
Since the school day is relatively long, particularly if students attend extra-curricular activities from 15.30 until 17.00, we do not generally recommend substantial additional English language homework or further formal lessons for primary students during term-time. Weekly tuition as a bare minimum is especially helpful during the summer however, when the long holiday can result in academic and English-language regression. In this way levels of achievement are maintained.
Families planning to students in InSP should also consider that the AzSP and RuSP (Azerbaijani and Russian Steams: Primary) provide eight lessons a week instructed in English and that, dependent on their intentions for their child’s secondary and university education, these streams may also be an excellent choice for their child. Another possible path into the InSP for native Azerbaijani and Russian speakers (aged 5-7) is to enter AzSP or RuSP initially and then consider transferring to InSP later, for example in Year 4 (for 8-9 years).
Class sizes and adult to children ratios
Classes in the International Primary Stream have a maximum of 18 students (see below for precise class sizes for each age group) and every class / lesson is supported (as a minimum requirement) by both a teacher and an assistant teacher.
Often a higher level of adult support is provided, depending on the subject and the general ability and English language level of the students.
All of the above are offered by the International Stream: Primary for the 2018-19 academic year.
All children in the International Stream: Primary are assigned to a particular class (home room) teacher who teaches the majority of lessons to that group of children, with the exception of some specialist-taught lessons. Further details of how this system functions are explained below in The curriculum subjects and our approach to teaching and learning.
The curriculum subjects and our approach to teaching and learning
Children attending the International Primary Stream study the following subjects:
The International Stream: Primary uses the Cambridge Primary Curriculum as the core curriculum document guiding the delivery and assessment of English, Mathematics, Science and Global Perspectives. A blend of Azerbaijani and other international curricula is used to structure the delivery of the remaining subjects.
Although various international and Azerbaijani curricula are combined to create our distinctive curriculum path, the use of successful, tried and tested and modern teaching strategies across all of the subjects ensure consistently high levels of quality and student achievement.
Students in the International Stream: Primary experience a blend of traditional and modern teaching; collaborative learning, tactile and kinaesthetic learning and frequent opportunities to use technology as a learning aid are key elements of this.
According to educational research, children are capable of passively listening and concentrating for their chronological age + 2 (i.e. an eight-year old can do this for around 10 minutes with optimum effectiveness) ; in recognition of this, we blend lively, teacher-led sessions, lasting approximately 10 minutes, with opportunities for independent, paired, group and project-based learning, in order to optimise student engagement and attainment.
This approach ensures that high standards of literacy (reading and writing), numeracy (mathematics) and basic social skills are reached by students, who are at the same time developing skills of communication, collaboration and creativity in a 21st century context. These transferable skills are essential for achieving personal and professional success in a fast-paced, ever-changing world. Opportunities for students to use computers and other devices and to have some input into how they will learn (and about what) they wish to focus on in the learning, are woven into the fabric both of the curriculum and of extra-curricular provision.
Assessing student progress / examinations
Students studying in the International Stream: Primary are assessed by a blend of summative testing and teacher assessment. At the end of each term (in December, March and May) children complete standardised Cambridge Progress Tests, administered in core subjects of English, Mathematics and Science. Students in Year 6 also complete Cambridge Primary Checkpoint examinations, marking their completion of primary school education.
In addition to completing standardised termly and annual tests, students are regularly assessed (using a range of methods) upon completion of learning units (weekly or monthly) in order to ensure that they are making progress and to enable teachers to optimise lesson planning.
Examinations and other forms of assessment are administered in an age-appropriate and positive way, with the aim of identifying and addressing any gaps in learning and fostering a ‘growth mindset’ in our students; we also aim to support students in developing the examination skills that they require in order to succeed in their further studies.
All students in the InSP are assigned to a particular class and class teacher who teaches the majority of lessons to that group of children, with the exception of specialist-taught lessons. Each primary child’s class teacher is the key adult within school who is responsible for their learning and personal development.
10-11 year old students in the science laboratory
6-7 year old students carrying out measuring work in a group using markers and multi-link cubes
7-8 year old students learning collaboratively on an ipad
Students are served breakfast around the start of the school day, lunch and a snack mid-afternoon.