Visitors to the school frequently comment on how easily our students, even from an early age, can switch between English or German explanations depending on their audience.
OBS is a learning organization, we always keep up-to-date with latest research in Bilingual Education. We work closely with Claudine Brohy a renowned expert in Bilingual Education from the University of Freiburg. OBS is part of the Bilingual Way.
Successful true bilingualism requires that both languages themselves are the medium of instruction, not just the subject of instruction. At OBS we live our bilingualism through our daily programme. Equal emphasis is placed on both languages with mother tongue classroom teachers and specialist subjects taught by a balance of English and German staff.
We know there are many advantages in learning more than one language early in life. Children educated within balanced bilingual programs develop linguistic, cognitive and social skills that distinguish them from their monolingual peers.
Bilingual education leads to advantages in brain function that last into old age. Studies show that bilingually educated children readily embrace new challenges, are demonstrably more socially tolerant and display more creativity in problem solving skills than their monolingual peers.
We have carefully considered how best to integrate bilingualism into our forward thinking educational programme. The students are immersed in OBS's bilingual process as they develop knowledge and skills
There are small differences in the way that each department in the School structures bilingual teaching, adapted to best serve the age-appropriate development needs of the students.
In Prekindergarten English and German teachers work alongside each other in the classroom providing simultaneous language teaching and encouraging our youngest students to develop a broad everyday vocabulary.
Kindergarten and Primary School children are taught one week in English and the other week in German. In this way they are immersed in both languages.
In the Upper School students are taught by subject specialists, to continue to support language development we aim for a balance of 50/50 between English and German teaching. This immersion process places high demands on knowledge of vocabulary, as well as listening and reading comprehension, but importantly also allows for mother tongue speakers to develop at a normal pace.
Professional and educational advantages belong to those who can express themselves with native-level confidence in more than one language. Within the German-speaking part of Switzerland, 50% of people working in academic institutions and management positions use both English and German every day within their workplace. In choosing bilingual education for your child, you not only access educational benefits but you give your child an advantage in the increasingly competitive workplace.