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In cases where you have an absolute beginner to English, an induction-to-English is supportive. Yes, we need to be differentiating for the curriculum content in class too, but let's help our learners with some of the basics in a regular small group or one-to-one supportive English learning session...

What is an induction programme?

An induction programme (also known as a withdrawal, pull-out, intervention or small-group new-to-English programme) offers initial English support for learners arriving in the English-speaking mainstream with little or no English. Although learners should be present in most mainstream lessons, they can attend a small-group induction class regularly. This kind of group or one-to-one session is designed to help learners to access some of the basic functional English language they need in a welcoming small-group setting whilst providing opportunities for them to feel confident and ready to take risks in language learning. It is intended to support newcomers in feeling safe, settled and valued and to give them a sense of belonging.

What does the research say?

Lileikienė and Danilevičienė (2016) found that learners experienced uncomfortable feelings when learning or using a new language. They proved that this anxiety was a powerful predictor for demotivation in language learning and impeded the acquisition of the new language. The research analysis also revealed that the majority of younger respondents demonstrated a higher degree of anxiety. A programme can boost learner confidence in using the language they need to access school life by offering appropriately levelled, relevant content which is fun, engaging, and social for learners with similar levels of English. It can act as a bridge for learners with very limited English to initially:

“‘kickstart’ students’ learning of English and to offer them collective support during their early days and months in an English-medium environment.”
(Sears, 2015)

If teachers are required to raise the level of attainment in the curriculum, they need to provide learners with the tools to access the learning.

“Separate or some kind of 'sheltered' instruction may also be the best option for recently arrived English language learners”
(Gibbons, 2009, see also Carrasquillo and Rodriguez, 2002).


Sears, C (2015) Second Language Students in English-Medium Classrooms: A Guide for Teachers in International Schools, Bristol: Multilingual Matters

Gibbons, P. (2009) English Learners, Academic Literacy and Thinking, Heinemann, Portsmouth

Lileikienė and Danilevičienė (2016) Foreign Language Anxiety In Student Learning, Baltic Journal Of Sport & Health Sciences No. 3(102); 2016; 18–23 Lithuanian Sports University, Kaunas, Lithuania


Learning Village

Teaching English as an Additional Language 5-11: A Whole School Resource, available here

Teaching Children English as an Additional Language: A Programme for 7-11 year olds, available here

Further learning - Blog

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Last week I saw a film called 'Shadow in Baghdad', it was a film that pulled my heart strings. I was brought up in Manchester, both my parents spoke Arabic at home, both were from Baghdad. What struck me the most after I watched the film was how much I missed hearing that particular dialect of Arabic, the familiarity and warmth of the Middle Eastern people, the sense of security that came with it as well as a sense of longing and regret for a disappearing culture.

Created: Mon 21st Apr 2014

In schools where English is the language of instruction we welcome new arrivals with limited English and, step by step, they become skilled in speaking English. These young learners have a gift, the gift of bilingualism. A skill that has a profound effect on their lives. This skills may affect their identity, the way they are educated, their employment, the friends they keep, marriage, where they choose to live, travel and how they think. The consequences are significant.

Dialogic teaching
Created: Sun 8th Nov 2020

Think about the last lesson you taught to English language learners. I’m sure you did some form of planning beforehand. I imagine you probably asked several questions throughout the lesson as well. After all, the foundation of effective teaching is interaction with learners. However, did you think about the questions you were going to ask when you were planning? Did you write down any key questions?