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It’s hard to even start to highlight the challenges of teaching EAL students in such a short article but there are a few key areas to consider:

Including learners of all cultures into the classroom environment and the school

It’s not easy to adjust to the conventions of another culture. Being in a new environment can mean feeling like a permanent stranger in an unfamiliar place. It’s possible for a child new  to English  to suddenly feel unsuccessful at almost every task. This can result in feelings of inadequacy and frustration. The customs in which they grew up may no longer have significance and new, unfamiliar customs unexpectedly have priority. More advanced learners usually already have a good understanding of culture, however, it is important not assume this and to include the home culture of the EAL learner.

Assessing their needs alongside the needs of more advanced native speakers

Assessment in English speaking schools are often geared towards more advanced learners. It’s important to consider what is appropriate for learners who are less-advance in English.

The challenge of learning a new writing system

New writing system can prove an additional challenge to the EAL learner.  Some new arrivals appear to cope well with a new writing system, especially if their home language has many similarities but, without training, issues can occur with children acquiring a patchy understanding of direction, letter formation, phonological processing, lexical processing, orthographical regularities, punctuation, creativity and functions. These 8 elements, in no particular order, are based on Cook (p426-430, 2005) outline of how one might learn to use a second language writing system.

Catering for all the learners in the class, whatever their level of English

It is easy to set objectives too high for the English language learners. Remember that every child should be successful from the most advance at English to those in the beginning stages.

Providing support in the use of effective language learning strategies

It is important to consider the tools that a child can use to help them learn a language. It’s our role as teachers to provide guidance in how to learn English.

Ensure resources are supportive for EAL learners

There is a wealth of resources available to support learners of EAL. These can include authentic resources, ticket/ magazines, photos, newspapers, menus, tourist brochures, personal documents e.g. passport, school reports, tapes with songs and stories, poems, posters, catalogues, postcards, story props, dual language texts, big books, magnetic letters, word games, puppets, objects, published language games, homemade games, simple worksheets, story sequencing cards and  story packs… to name just a few! Make sure resource are easy to use, appropriate and functional.

Further learning - Blog

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Created: Tue 5th Sep 2023

A learner’s wellbeing is vital to their achievement and overall success. Nevertheless, an EAL (English as an Additional Language) learner’s wellbeing should be considered more thoroughly when discussing their academic performance and achievements. A learner who speaks “a language other than English as their first language and needs additional support to develop a proficiency in English” (Twinkl, n.d) is considered to be an EAL learner. They can come from a diverse, multilingual and/or refugee background.

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Created: Wed 29th Apr 2020

We are all faced with very different learning situations at the moment and home learning has become the current norm. The challenges it poses are significant. Parents often have limited time available to support learners, limited understanding of where to start, sometimes a lack of technological know-how in accessing online classrooms - or even a lack of access to an online environment altogether. These issues are exacerbated amongst parents with limited understanding of the school language.

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There is a plethora of things to consider when piloting a new learning resource or scheme of work, so having a tried and tested framework for testing is helpful. At Lea Forest Academy we follow our piloting framework which was adapted from Edtech (2015), Pilot Framework.