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Language B (English, French, German, Norwegian, Spanish)


Language B is an additional language-learning course designed for students with some previous learning of that language. It may be studied at either SL or HL. The main focus of the course is on language acquisition and development of language skills. These language skills will be developed through the study and use of a range of written and spoken material. Such material will extend from everyday oral exchanges to literary texts, and should be related to the culture(s) concerned. The material is chosen to enable students to develop mastery of language skills and intercultural understanding. There is a common syllabus at SL and HL (with literature as an additional component of the HL course). The differences between levels are determined by the assessment objectives, the depth and breadth of syllabus coverage, the assessment details, the assessment criteria, literature coverage and suggested teaching hours.


Prior learning

Many factors determine the group 2 course that a student should take: the student’s best language, the language(s) spoken at home and at school, and any previous knowledge of the language of study. The degree to which students are already competent in the language and the degree of proficiency they wish to attain by the end of the period of study are the most important factors in identifying the appropriate course. The main consideration is that the language B course should be a challenging educational experience for the student, offering not only the opportunity to learn an additional language but also the means of learning, appreciating and effectively interacting in a culture different from the student’s own. Language B is for learners who have 3-5 years experience of the target subject.

Difference between SL and HL

The courses Language B courses give students the possibility of reaching a high degree of competence in an additional language while exploring the culture(s) where that language is spoken. The courses aim to develop the students’ linguistic competence and intercultural understanding. There is a common syllabus at SL and HL (with literature as an additional component of the HL course). The differences between levels are determined by the assessment objectives, the depth and breadth of syllabus coverage, the assessment details, the assessment criteria, literature coverage and suggested teaching hours.

Syllabus outline

Language B is a language acquisition course developed at two levels—standard level (SL) and higher level (HL)—for students with some background in the target language.

The core (topics common to both levels) is divided into three areas and is a required area of study.

  • Communication and media
  • Global issues
  • Social relationships


In addition, at both SL and HL, students study two of the following five options:

  • Cultural diversity
  • Customs and traditions
  • Health
  • Leisure
  • Science and technology
Also, at HL, students read two works of literature chosen from authors on the prescribed list of authors (PLA) in the language studied.

Assessment


Student learning is continuously assessed in the forms of activities that focus on language acquisition and development through listening, speaking, reading and writing, as well as bi-annual examinations.

The final assessment from the IB consists of the following components:

The internal assessment component is assessed by subject teacher and moderated externally by the IBO at the end of the course. This component makes up 30% of the final grade and consists of an individual oral examination and interactive oral activities.

The external assessment component consists of a written assignment and two examinations focusing on receptive and written productive at the end of the course.

Adapted from the IB Language B guide © International Baccalaureate Organization