Plus Groups

How many pupils participate in each course?

A total of 284 pupils divided into seventeen groups currently participate in plus group lessons or ILS (Independent Language Studies), ensuring much smaller groups than for regular lessons.

The graph shows that currently more students in both languages are taught at the Plus 2 level (advanced level). There are higher numbers of participants in German because, in case of doubt, German support is always a priority given that all subjects are taught in German.

How do I encourage my child to be motivated to participate in plus lessons?

DSL is a school with international pupils, who enrich school life and teaching with their multilingual backgrounds. However, many of our bilingual, trilingual or multilingual students are not bilingual academically in English and German, which is completely natural. Even native speakers have to work on acquiring the language of education.

It is also quite normal for most of our students to feel stronger or more at home in one language - their “heart language”. Rather like footballers who have a stronger and a weaker foot. The plus lessons should help to further strengthen the currently slightly weaker “language foot”, just as a good footballer trains his twofootedness.

Please note that the plus lessons do not increase the number of hours per week, since the lessons are taken from the regular German and English lessons. Language support lessons are now available for all students in the morning.

Why is my child not participating in ILS?

Currently eleven pupils (less than 4% of the total group) participate in ILS after two of them switched back to the plus system.
In order to participate students must be fully bilingual on an academic level, extremely proficient in written language, highly motivated and have a strong ability to work independently. ILS is a contribution to the promotion of our particularly linguistically gifted pupils.

A teacher will recommend whether a child should switch to this talent programme, but the class conference has the final say, as is the case for all important transition decisions.

How did the assignment to groups on the recommendation of the language teachers work?

After a few changes within the first three weeks of the school year, all plus groups remained stable over the first six months. This is important because the pupils’ performance and attitude in these courses is noted on the report.

After the first exams German and English teachers suggested one or two changes after the first half year and some parents or pupils themselves also advocated a change. In total however only eleven changes took place on 30 January 2018, indicating that more than 96% of the students were being taught in the appropriate course.

How are changes made?

As a rule, switching plus group during a school year happens only at the end of the first half year. The plus lessons coordinator requires applications for possible switches before the report conferences and checks with subject teachers whether individual pupils’ needs have changed. German, English and support teachers decide together whether a switch will take place.

How is feedback on the performance of pupils in the plus groups given?

In future all remarks on German and English lessons will be summarised in the bilingualism comment box in the report to highlight the importance of language support and the DSL’s efforts in promoting pupils’ bilingualism. Comments also remark on participation and performance in the plus class and assess the level of English.

Why don´t plus groups deal with the same material as regular lessons?

Plus lessons do the groundwork for regular lessons, but concentrate more on language training, focusing on strength, flexibility and endurance, rather like training in a gym. Plus lessons examine linguistic structures in the competence areas of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Plus lessons integrate with regular lessons thematically or by examining linguistic structures needed for a specific test in regular lessons (for example, pluperfect for the report essay).