LANGUAGES CONNECT PROGRAMME

Mother Tongue Programme

At St. John’s International School, the Mother Tongue Programme is a key activity, which keeps international students connected with their heritage, language, and culture, thus celebrating each individual student’s identity in a global setting. St. John’s is proud to teach eight languages as part of the Mother Tongue programme, so far this year. These are currently: Portuguese, Italian, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Korean, Japanese, and Turkish. We have teachers for many others available and pro-actively work with families to add more, as students with other mother tongues join our school.

“I chose to take the Mother tongue course as it will offer me additional opportunities to live and work abroad. On a personal level, it helps me in my understanding of my own culture and in developing my identity.”
10th Grade Student – Portuguese


“I jumped on the opportunity to take the Self-Taught Korean course. It allows me to practice and develop my Korean skills. I do intend to return to Korea and  apply to a university there, so it truly is an essential skill for me to have.”
10th Grade Student – Korean

The programme is aimed at students in Grades 9 and 10 who want to continue with their mother tongue instead of taking one of the other languages (Dutch, French, German, and Spanish) offered at the school as language acquisition and language and literature studies.

We offer this programme in close collaboration with external tutors. The students meet with the tutor once a weekduring one of their study periods which we then assign to the Mother Tongue course in aquiet space at school. The students will also have an additional three periods available to work on the programme. Moreover, this programme prepares students for the IB Diploma, specifically for the subject “Self-Taught Literature (Mother Tongue) SL”.

The Mother Tongue tutor works in in close partnership with the student, parents, and the Mother Tongue Coordinator of the school. The Mother Tongue tutor closely follows the IB MYP Literature curriculum.

Contact information Ruth Colado, email address: rcoladocabo@stjohns.be

Self-taught Literature - IB Diploma

At St. John’s International School, the Self-Taught Literature is a key course in the IB Diploma, which keeps international students connected with their heritage, language and culture and thus celebrating each individual student’s identity in a global setting. St. John’s is proud to teach eight languages as part of the Mother Tongue programme, so far, this year. These are currently: Portuguese, Italian, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Korean, Japanese and Turkish. We have teachers for many others available and pro-actively work with families to add more, as students with other mother tongues join our school

“In 10th grade, I had only taken English classes. Since it still is a foreign language for me, that was hard at times. Taking Korean classes also boosted my confidence. It felt comfortable, and I was happy that St. John’s offers it. It will also allow me to take it into my IB in Group A, which is a huge benefit.”
11th Grade Student – Korean


" The Self-Taught course will be something I will carry with me for life. Even though I currently live outside of my home country, I can keep my native language skills up and connect with my family’s history. It also means that I keep myself the option open to study something in my native language.”
11th Grade Student – Swedish

This course is aimed at students following the IB Diploma in Grades 11 and 12 who want to continue with their Mother Tongue instead of taking one of the other languages (Dutch, French, German, and Spanish) that we offer at St. John’s as Group 1 or Group 2 courses. We offer this course in close collaboration with external tutors. Here, the students have one lesson with the tutor and two periods per week in their school schedule that are dedicated to the Self-Taught Literature SL course.

Being a Self-Taught student offers a unique opportunity to study the literature of a language that we may not offer as a taught subject, As a result, we expect a certain level of autonomy. In this course, the central concepts are culture, communication, transformation, perspective, creativity, representation, and identity. When reading and studying a literary work, the student should explore how it relates to these concepts. This will help to:

• see how the literary works are relevant to our world and our experiences
• make connections between works studied in the course
• make connections with the IB’s Theory Of Knowledge (TOK), the approaches to learning and international-mindedness
• make connections with other subjects
• become a flexible and critical reader.

Contact information Ruth Colado, email address: rcoladocabo@stjohns.be

Teacher Bio

Barbara Hultgren - Swedish

“I am a bilingual Austrian citizen, born and raised in the Austrian capital. My alma maters are the university in Vienna and the university in Uppsala/Sweden. I have a master in Swedish, linguistics, literature studies, psychology and history. For almost 30 years, I commuted between Vienna and Stockholm as I worked as a conference interpreter and translator. In May 1994, I was also a university lecturer for Swedish and got a request to take over a small IB-class. Ever since, I have been teaching within the IB, all levels for Swedish and German, English for B-level and French/Spanish ab initio. I love to read - both fiction and non-fiction- and to crochet. My husband and I still appreciate to learn new things and look forward to traveling soon again. My friends and co-workers would define me as stubborn but funny, straight forward but fair, demanding but supportive.”