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Most schools with early stage learners of English will have some form of guided reading record. This record supports the learner, parents and the teacher in acknowledging, monitoring progress and rewarding good reading habits. We do this because we know the profound influence reading has on progress in literacy (not just reading alone. Try reading Krashen, the Power of Reading, 2004).

However, have you considered the impact of a similar record for learning EAL through the use of flashcard activities?

Research evidence supporting the strategic use of flashcards to learn vocabulary and language structures alongside a communicative approach to language learning is strong.

Nation and Waring point out:

“There is a very large number of studies showing the effectiveness of such learning in terms of amount and speed of learning. See Nation (1982), Paivio and Desrochers (1981) and Pressley et al (1982) for a review of these studies.

Research on learning from context shows that such learning does occur, but that it requires learners to engage in large amounts of reading and listening because the learning is small and cumulative (Nagy, Herman, and Anderson 1985; Nagy, (1997). This should not be seen as an argument that learning from context is not worthwhile. It is by far the most important vocabulary-learning programme. For fast vocabulary expansion, however, it is not sufficient by itself. There is no research that shows that learning from context provides better results than learning from word cards (Nation, 1982).”

Why not track the strategic use of flashcards in the same way we track reading? To download your EAL learning record to track the strategic use of flashcards: Click here!

At Communication Across Cultures we produce flashcards (click here) for all lessons on the Learning Village as well as special numbered cards to reduce the need to print every subject! Strategic use of flashcards are also integral Teaching English as an Additional Language 5-11: A Whole School Resource. Most schools do have a bank of such cards available and there is no reason why learners can’t make their own!

References: 

Nation, P & Waring, R (1997) Vocabulary size, text coverage and word lists in Schmitt & McCarthy (1997) Vocabulary, Description, Acquisition and Pedagogy, Cambridge

Krashen, S (2004) The Power of Reading, Insights from the Research, Heinemann, Porstmouth

Further learning - Blog

Child using graphic organiser
Created: Thu 4th Aug 2022

We all know that there can be resistance to writing in the EAL classroom. To break this barrier, we need to consider the reasons for this, which are often due to a lack of scaffolding and under-confident learners. Working through a process of reading a model text, deconstructing it and then reconstructing your own text by following a scaffold, leads to more satisfactory outcomes.

Created: Mon 3rd Mar 2014

Teresa has worked at St John’s C of E for over 2 years. She differentiates for all ability levels but, up to now, she has never had to consider the needs of a child new to English in her class. Teresa admitted to initially feeling a little anxious, however, after seeking advice, referring to the new arrivals procedures at the school, working closely with her teaching assistant, Rumena Aktar, and giving a lot of careful thought to her planning, Teresa put the following in place:

Before arrival:

Behaviour assessment using smiley flashcards
Created: Wed 15th Jun 2022

Getting behaviour 'right' is crucially important for all schools. Ensuring that we have a 'fit for purpose' behaviour policy that caters for all pupils throughout their schooling - including EAL pupils - is vital for the feel and culture of our schools, as well as for allowing pupils to feel safe and be in the right environment to learn to their full potential.