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Language, Identity, the WIS People Principle, and Welcoming the New Ambassador of Portugal in Namibia

Dear Community,



On Thursday, WIS welcomed the new Ambassador of the Embassy of Portugal in Namibia, His Excellency Rui Carmo. The delegation also consisted of Joel Alexandre Campos Coelho who heads the Instituto Camoes in the region of Southern Africa. The PLC Auditorium and the language block of classes are the result of a 2001 agreement between WIS and the Government of Portugal, and this occasion was a reaffirmation of the desire for WIS to be a beacon of multilingualism and multiculturalism in the region. 


Many WIS  students presently studying Portuguese had the opportunity to meet with the new Ambassador, and the photo captures this occasion. In his address, HE Ambassador Carmo noted that Portuguese is the most spoken language in the Southern Hemisphere, the ninth most spoken language in the world, and an integral part of the history of our school. 


Language is closely tied to identity, and WIS is presently exploring ways we can promote the growth of our Language Acquisition programme alongside the maintenance and development of the very many mother tongues able to be spoken on our campus. We are proud to be able to offer French, Portuguese, and German as language acquisition courses in Primary and through the MYP, and the addition of Spanish Ab Initio in the IB Diploma Programme. Just like with our Global Alliance student exchanges, learning a new language and exploring a new culture opens up the world. It helps our learners acquire what the IB calls “International Mindedness”. It also aligns to our WIS People Principle. 


Drawn from our school’s foundational documents and informed by community conversations and educational research, the WIS Principles summarise our values, inform our decisions, and serve as a means of measuring the integrity of our policies, practices, and approaches to teaching and learning. The full-text document of our WIS Principles is linked here and the abbreviated version is on our website along with a link to our school policies. The WIS People Principle reads as follows: 


We view WIS as a community, rather than an institution because we believe that relationships are the most powerful influencer on learner success. At WIS, we learn from those around us and we know that our differences make us stronger. We are proud of our diversity of culture, language, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, belief, tradition, ancestry, and socio-economic status. We want our learners to cultivate a strong sense of self. We recognise that each person holds multiple identities and has a unique personal story to tell. 


In Practice: 

This principle means that every person at WIS is safe to be themselves. We recognise that it is our individual and collective responsibility to ensure that all members of the school community are welcomed, included, and treated fairly. When concerns or conflicts arise, we have respectful face-to-face conversations directly with the people who are involved. Any decision must balance the needs of the one with the needs of the many, so there are times when it is necessary to regulate our behaviour and self-expression for the good of others. We value people’s right to express views and opinions respectfully; however, discrimination on any basis is unacceptable. We utilise a curriculum that is anti-racist and anti-discriminatory. We listen attentively to different perspectives. With humility, we understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right. 


Questions:

  • Does this action value all people in our community with equal dignity?

  • Do I seek to understand before being understood?

  • Am I open to changing my mind?

  • Am I being a good teammate?

  • Do others feel cared for in my presence and through my actions? 

  • Is WIS a better place because I am here?


Our Principles are as follows:














Sincerely,

Ethan Van Drunen


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