International School Manila

Integrity - Service - Merit

English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL)

The ESL program serves students from Grades K-10 who require additional language support to help them fully access the mainstream material. Students who may require language support are identified in the Admission process and referred for further assessment. Placement in our sheltered immersion program is based on a range of data collected through the Admission process.

Program Overview

Learning both content and language is a formidable challenge for all language learners.  With specialized instruction in the English Development Classes (EDP) in ES and English for Academic Purposes (EAP) classes in the Middle School and High School. The ESL program at ISM is designed to help language learners acquire communicative and academic English skills required  to successfully access the grade level curriculum.? face this challenge and help them succeed.  

ESL instruction at ISM is an integral part of each grade level from Kindergarten to Grade 10 and supports a sheltered immersion model.In this model of teaching and learning, language specialists work alongside classroom teachers and content specialists to deliver a curriculum that is accessible to all language learners.  Teachers work together to ensure that students develop both the language and skills they need to be a successful learner in the classroom.

At ISM we recognize the importance of maintaining and developing literacy skills in a student’s home language. Research has shown that children with well-developed literacy in their home language are able to transfer those skills to additional languages (Cook, 1990; Dolson 1985).  

At International School Manila, we believe that...

  • all students are learning English, either as a first or as an additional language. 
  • all languages and cultures are seen as assets and the foundation for meaningful learning as they are used to bridge prior knowledge to new knowledge.
  • language learning is a shared responsibility and all teachers are language teachers.
  • a safe, supportive, stimulating learning environment fosters language learning.
  • language is learned best through opportunities to inquire for real purposes in authentic contexts.

The ESL Program is...

  • is flexible and responsive to individual student needs to progress language.
  • provides opportunities for learners to acquire communicative and academic language  needed for success at school.
  • allows students to engage with academic content in a supported and cognitively challenging environment.
  • encourages students to engage with their peers in authentic and meaningful contexts.
  • ensures that all students regardless of their language proficiency have access to the curriculum.

Click on the following links for more information or visit the Elementary, Middle and High School to know more about each school's ESL Program.

To be accepted into the program, students are epected to meet the ISM admission and minimum language competency requirements for their specific grade levels.

The ESL applicant must:

  • Have acceptable grades from the previous school – 1.7 (C-) or better grade point average in 5 academic areas:  English (or Language Arts), Mathematics, Sciences, Social Studies, and Modern Languages.
  • If the applicant applies in the 4th quarter of a grade level, the language proficiency requirement that shall be used is the entry level for the next grade level.
  • Enroll no later than the fourth week of the second semester if applying for high school and meet the high school language proficiency requirement.
  • Must graduate before reaching 20 years of age.


At ISM, we recognize the importance of maintaining and developing literacy skills in a student’s first language.  Research has shown that children with well-developed literacy in their first language are able to transfer those skills to the second and subsequent languages.  This means that the better developed a child’s reading, writing and oral communication skills in their first language; the easier it is for them to learn the same skills in English. Further, the School believes that:

  • Bilingualism provides students with concrete cognitive and metalinguistic benefits in the long term
  • Well developed literacy in the first language is a positive advantage in learning English
  • First language maintenance facilitates family, peer and community relationships in addition to the development  of self–esteem and identity in children

We have an enormously diverse student population at ISM and we believe this provides the students with a wonderful opportunity to learn about other languages and cultures from each other.  This rich diversity also means that we are unable to provide first language classes for our students, so we rely on parents and families for first language maintenance and encourage families to make a conscious effort to do so.