Students study work from different cultures and communities


The English Department at ISU works really hard to ensure that we present students with (translated) work from different cultures and communities. Our aim is always to build communication skills and empathy through the texts that we explore.

By Ron Elliott, Subject Area Coordinator and secondary EnglishTeacher

In the Diploma Programme, we began this academic year by looking at Marguerite Abouet’s award winning graphic novel, Aya. The text is set in The Ivory Coast and deals with many local cultural phenomena as well as the more universal challenges associated with youth and young adulthood. In Higher Level IBDP Language and Literature classes, we then looked at Abert Camus’ novel, The Stranger, set in Algeria and investigating the impact of colonialism on Algerian and French societies through an Absurdist lens.

Building confidence, knowledge and skills

Planning our curriculum begins by meeting the requirements of the IB DP curriculum and then we work “backwards” to ensure that we are laying the groundwork for our students to be successful in the Diploma Programme. That is why In the Middle Years Programme, amongst many other texts, we have been looking at Trevor Noah’s autobiography and will soon read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus. Studying these works builds confidence, knowledge and skills that help students to meet the challenges of the Diploma Programme, while meeting our commitment to develop young people who think on a global scale.

We are an international school and while it is difficult to constantly be mindful of all of the communities that we serve, we try very hard to help students imagine the world outside of their everyday experience, while still valuing where they come from.