Learning a Language

Every student in the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) studies in both their best language and in other languages taught as a requirement of the programme.

This enables students to:

  • Increase their understanding of several cultures, including their own
  • Explore globally significant ideas and issues through different languages.

DP students therefore study at least two languages throughout their time in their programme.

Learning a second language

As a requirement of the DP curriculum, every student learns at least one additional language.

They could fulfil that requirement through the studies in language and literature subject group, by taking two courses from the group in two different languages, or through the language acquisition subject group.

In language acquisition, students may choose from:

  • Modern languages, learning as beginners or as students with prior experience in that language
  • Latin or classical Greek, studying the language, literature and culture of ancient Rome or Greece.

Read about language acquisition, one of the subject groups in the DP curriculum that students are required to take.

Thinking in an additional language

The IB is committed to developing students’ knowledge of concepts and cultures, expressed through other languages, as well as teaching those languages to students.

In this way, theory of knowledge (TOK) – a component of the DP core – is intimately linked with language acquisition.

TOK asks students to reflect on the nature of knowledge, and on how we know what we claim to know. In their study of additional languages, students are encouraged to apply what they learn through TOK.