Community Village

Miranda, MEd. BA Hons Trinity Dip TESOL, Mindlab, is responsible for demonstrations and training in the Australasia region, as well as content development. She is an EAL specialist who has taught in Primary, Secondary and Tertiary organisations in the UK, NZ, Malaysia and Oman. She has worked as an academic leader and as a teacher professional development coach. She also has experience across a range of international curricula, including NZCEL, NCEA, PYP, IMYC and Cambridge. Her specific area of interest is blended learning to meet individual student needs in a relevant context.

Articles from this author

Mainstream teacher with EAL learners
Author: Miranda Howell, EAL Specialist
Created: Fri 20th Jan 2023

How often does a classroom teacher approach an EAL teacher with the words, “I don’t know how to help this learner! I have no experience with English language learners”? There are a few key principles and strategies that can easily be shared to empower teachers to provide an educational environment that is conducive to language learning.

Child using graphic organiser
Author: Miranda Howell, EAL specialist
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.

Child looking back from school gate
Author: Miranda Howell, EAL specialist
Created: Wed 25th May 2022

The big day has arrived, the new uniform is looking smart, and now our 'senior' Primary school learners are about to become important 'junior' Secondary school students. For most of us, this is a memorable experience and, therefore, very significant. However, whilst some learners approach this milestone with great excitement and enthusiasm, others are nervous and anxious.

EAL students writing
Author: Miranda Howell, EAL specialist
Created: Wed 23rd Feb 2022

The traditional way to start a lesson with Secondary school learners is with a 'do now!' activity. It works. You get a focused start to the lesson, with students calmly settling into an activity as soon as they enter the room. Moving on – and introducing the ‘learning intention’ – however, can be a little more challenging. This is especially true for EAL learners, particularly if the lesson is a tricky or more academic one, such as a writing lesson, that may have negative connotations for some pupils.

Child trying to pronounce
Author: Miranda Howell, EAL specialist
Created: Mon 17th May 2021

As school teachers faced with EAL learners in our classrooms, we often push the teaching of phonics down the list, especially at secondary school level. Yet communication is dependent on comprehensive pronunciation when speaking, and on decoding graphemes when reading. Consider for a moment the impact mispronunciation can have on accurate communication. For example, if I ask for soap in a restaurant, I might be faced with a blank stare! This error is caused by confusing two very similar phonemes in soap/soup.

Girl with rulers
Author: Miranda Howell, EAL specialist
Created: Mon 14th Dec 2020

For those of us who are EAL teachers in school, selecting our language learning outcomes is only one consideration in our planning. Our students attend our lessons primarily to be able to access the language they are facing in their mainstream classes. This means that we need to be very clear about our context, and about what vocabulary and language structures are relevant to that context.