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In previous articles we discussed the need for learners to obtain Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS). These skills need to be the initial focus of learning alongside curriculum content in the early days. Class teachers are required to make significant adjustments to their programme of learning which is not an easy task, especially for those teachers who are new to teaching foreign languages.

The EAL teacher has the important role of understanding the psychology of each individual, their attitude, their adaptation to their new surroundings and how they have managed their transition.

The EAL teacher can take the burden off the class teacher by supporting and encouraging parent participation and communication. The EAL teacher should be seen as an asset and an invaluable resource for the class teacher. The class teacher has larger classes and with the best will in the world it can be difficult to provide sufficient help for the EAL students. 

Beginner students gain confidence in the small EAL groups and will participate actively in lessons whereas they may remain silent in class for fear of getting things wrong in front of their more fluent peers.  They can practice basic and classroom vocabulary to help them get through the day. The more advanced students benefit from more individually tailored lessons to support their language development. 

It is a myth that once students can speak and understand English that they no longer need support, as mentioned in a previous article, if a student is left to cope they may seem to be doing well for a while but after a year or two cracks in their academic writing will start to appear. Continued support with their writing assignments, their editing skills and vocabulary development once they are verbally fluent will help avoid these cracks.

It is important at all stages that the class teacher and the EAL teacher work together as a team to support each individual student.

Some things to discuss are:

  • How can the current topic be supported?
  • What is the vocabulary that needs to be worked  on/pre-taught?
  • What difficulties does this student have in class?
  • Would you prefer pull out or support in class?
  • What is the current text type?
  • Is it possible to review work samples?
  • What areas of grammar/ syntax errors are the most frequent?
  • In what areas has the student improved?

Further learning - Blog

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Created: Mon 1st Feb 2021

To mute or to unmute? To reply to one or everyone? To use gallery or speaker view?

Created: Thu 27th Oct 2016

Parents are integral to schooling for any child, and one of the key opportunities to discuss how a child is developing is during parents evening (Macbeth, Pg 362). However; how do you support parents of an EAL pupil during parents evening? Many questions come to mind, “Will the parents understand me?”, “Do I need to find a translator?”, “What questions will they ask me” etc.

Child scared of Maths equations
Created: Sun 27th Mar 2022

Studying mathematics in an English-medium school presents learners of English as an Additional Language (EAL) with a double cognitive whammy as they grapple with learning English and maths at the same time. Understanding maths is more than just knowing how to add and subtract; it also requires learners to use language to make sense of what they are studying, so that they can apply their maths knowledge in real life (Ramirez, 2020; Winsor, 2007). All learners need to be able to discuss their mathematical thinking in order to clarify and embed their understanding of new concepts.