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Scenario: You are moving to a new country (pick a country which has a different script such as China, Saudi Arabia or Bangladesh).  You can only take a suitcase with you.  Discuss your thoughts on the following groups of questions;

How would you feel about moving?

  • What would you take?
  • What would you leave behind?
  • Who would you miss?
  • What activities would you miss?

How would you feel about learning the language?

  • Do you think other people would speak English?
  • What if no one spoke English – how would you communicate?
  • Do you think you would be able to make friends?
  • How would you feel if people laughed at you when you tried to speak their language?

How would you feel about your work?

  • How would you understand the lessons?
  • How would you feel if you couldn’t write the alphabet/characters?
  • Which lessons do you think you would understand more easily?
  • What things could your class and teacher do to help you learn?
  • Each group could give a short oral presentation and together come up with a plan for the new arrival.

Plenary: Feedback the information from the groups. 

Progress the thinking: “Using your understanding of how someone may feel about arriving in a new place and not being able to speak the language – can you think of actual things we can do in our class or school to help our new classmate settle in?”

Put together an action plan as a class with up to 5 concrete ways they can help.

This article follows ''A Recipe for a Successful Start for New Arrivals in School.'

Further learning - Blog

Created: Thu 2nd Oct 2014

The start of a new school year can be a daunting experience for new EAL arrivals. Some may be devastated to leave their friends, schools and homes. Some may be excited at the experience of a new adventure, but for all arriving with little or no English can be an alienating and exhausting experience. It is important to gain an understanding of how the child feels about the move to enable them to settle well.

Assessment on computer screen
Created: Wed 7th Oct 2020

Assessment in an EAL context takes many forms. It can be formal (e.g. tests and examinations), informal (e.g. teacher observations) or learner self-assessment.

Created: Thu 2nd Nov 2017

In my experience, teachers often have quite strong feelings about the use of a pupil’s L1 (first language) in the classroom - it is either encouraged or forbidden. Garcia and Sylvan (2011) describe monolingual education as outdated in our current ‘globalized’ world and discourage the practise of imposing only one language. In fact, they suggest that teachers should support students in developing their awareness of their first language as well as the language of instruction.