Language Philosophy

The mission of Washington International School is to be an exemplary learning community—enriched by differences, informed through inquiry, global in reach.

Intensive language learning is fundamental to WIS's mission. Language learning promotes a dynamic framework with which to understand other cultures and perspectives. WIS students are expected to attain a confident level of oral and written proficiency in more than one language.

The ability to communicate in more than one language facilitates an individual’s movement beyond the first language and home culture, increases awareness of the world, and ultimately enables one to participate more fully as an international citizen. The learning process involves learning language(s), learning about language(s), and learning through language(s). Students learn about language and through language to foster knowledge, understanding, sensitivity, and appreciation of cultures, values, and traditions.


Head of School Clayton Lewis was one of several individuals who refuted Dr. Lawrence Summers' (former president of Harvard University) suggestion that investing time in learning a language other than English might not be beneficial. See how he and others responded on this New York Times online forum. 

A March 18 New York Times article explains "Why Bilinguals are Smarter."

The Washington Post highlighted the benefits of bilingualism in an article published June 11, 2012.
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