Teacher guidance

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Created: Thu 7th Dec 2017

Dr Anne Margaret Smith

Truly inclusive practice extends beyond adapting materials or managing the classroom so that everybody can access the course content. It is about building a classroom culture where everybody genuinely respects and supports each other, and embraces the diversity inherent in our communities. This is more easily achieved if the members of the group understand themselves well, and what makes them different from each other.

Created: Mon 6th Nov 2017

Academia Británica Cuscatleca (ABC) in El Salvador joined the Learning Village in April 2015.  However, they weren't fully active across Upper Primary until Communication Across Cultures came to their school in February this year to give an inset on EAL. 

Since then, they have used the Learning Village to support learners with accessing some of the basics of English as well as the curriculum content needed to help them to be successful in their lessons.

Created: Thu 2nd Nov 2017

Author: Emma Mijailovic, EAL Teacher

Created: Mon 9th Oct 2017

Author: Gemma Fanning, EAL Specialist

While it can be argued that EAL learners have an entitlement to experience a full and varied curriculum through complete class immersion and no withdrawal, some would argue that learners benefit from being withdrawn for time limited support to help them develop their English language in order to assist them in accessing the curriculum (NALDIC, FAQ Podcast, 2017).

If learners are unable to access the lesson content, they can feel frustrated and a sense of failure. Learners need to feel confident and successful.

Created: Thu 7th Sep 2017

EAL: Excluded by inclusion

By Kamil Trzebiatowski

Created: Fri 7th Jul 2017

Author: Emma Mijailovic, EAL Teacher

Created: Wed 21st Jun 2017

Author: Gemma Fanning, EAL Specialist

Created: Tue 23rd May 2017

Author: Gemma Fanning, EAL Specialist

Created: Tue 25th Apr 2017

Author: Gemma Fanning, EAL Specialist

Created: Wed 1st Mar 2017

Gemma Fanning - EAL Specialist

In Science, EAL learners need to understand scientific language, both written and oral, as well as to work with the command verbs such as; discuss, explain, evaluate etc… (Mertin, 2014). This means the language required for Science is academic and challenging and, as a result, it can become extremely difficult for learners to access the subject content. This begs the questions; How do we make the lessons comprehensible to EAL learners and provide what Krashen (1998) terms as ‘comprehensible input’?

Created: Thu 9th Feb 2017

Author: Gemma Fanning, EAL Specialist

‘Stories and storytelling are fundamental to the human experience.’ Nunan (2012).

Created: Sun 1st Jan 2017

Author: Gemma Fanning, EAL Specialist

Created: Sun 11th Dec 2016

Author: Anita Bamberger, EAL Specialist

Holidays and homework seem incongruous especially for the EAL students who need to concentrate extra hard in order to understand curriculum content. It is therefore crucial that the homework is fun and rewarding, workbooks and worksheets, although pleasing to parents, may be off putting for students who may start with good intentions but then put off doing them. Generating enthusiasm and motivation are the key factors.

Keeping a diary/scrap book

Created: Wed 2nd Nov 2016

Author: Gemma Fanning, EAL Co-ordinator

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.

Created: Mon 29th Aug 2016

Sometimes our students who have English as an additional language seem to be having more difficulty than expected developing their language, and accessing the rest of the curriculum. Most teachers have become more aware of the signs of dyslexia (and other specific learning differences), but the overlap with the language learning process makes it much more complex to identify EAL learners who also have a SpLD.

Created: Fri 8th Jul 2016

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?

Created: Wed 11th May 2016

In the last edition, we considered the importance of not using a Whole Language approach in isolation as a primary method of literacy instruction, but rather ensuring that a systematic, skills-based approach is used to guarantee reading and writing progression for second language learners.

This begs the question, which systematic approach should we use? The two systematic methods adopted by most practitioners for first language learners are the Analytical Phonics approach or the Synthetic Phonics approach.

Created: Tue 12th Apr 2016

As educational pedagogies continue to move cyclically, with new strategies moving in and out of favour, the battle of reading approaches continues to rage on between the 3 main approaches: Synthetic Phonics, Analytical Phonics and Whole Language methods. They are often viewed on a continuum, with the Whole Language approach (Top Down method) being the least skills based and the Synthetic Phonics approach (Bottom Up method) being the most (see figure 1).

Created: Fri 11th Mar 2016

Often, for busy EAL teachers, the focus is on the child, however it is important to remember that for some parents, the transition period can be just as difficult. Some parents worry about bringing up their child with two languages and question whether it would be more beneficial for the child if they speak the language of the new country to help them become more competent in the new language and learn it faster. We need to discourage this approach, supporting parents in understanding the value of using their mother tongue.

Created: Tue 2nd Feb 2016

11 fantastic resources to promote elements of international mindedness...

Created: Wed 6th Jan 2016

Language learning strategies are tools to facilitate language learning that should be adapted to suit the needs of each individual.

There aren't a set of language learning strategies that makes you a perfect language learner, each student learns differently. However, there are some guidelines on the strategies others have found successful that can be provided to students to help them make more effective use of their time studying.  It's important that students understand how they learn and what strategies are more effective than others.

Created: Sun 6th Dec 2015

NASSEA (Northern Association of Support Service for Equality and Achievement) have recently revised their EAL assessment framework with a few interesting differences.

Designed to provide a, "cross-curricular tool which helps practitioners to observe, document and accelerate the ways bilingual pupils start to use  English as a tool for learning in school, then continue to develop their use of English through their subject areas. " NASSEA, 2015

Created: Sun 6th Dec 2015

As the season ends and holidays are almost upon us (or in full swing in some cases!) we have provided you with some new Learning Village resources to support new-to-English EAL learners with Christmas vocabulary and language structures. 

Download here:

Created: Fri 25th Sep 2015

The lack of a common language between children can be frustrating so we often assign buddies who have a common language to help our learners. Someone who speaks the same language can help the new student feel less alienated by speaking the same language and recounting what is being said and explaining what is happening. Students are often used as interpreters in schools. However, as with any translation, it can result in unintentionally misinterpretation.

Created: Fri 14th Aug 2015

Check out Caroline Scott's recent article on EAL new arrivals:


Created: Thu 6th Aug 2015

On the last day of term I asked a student, who was leaving her school in London to return back to Italy, the best and worst things about moving. She said the worst thing was leaving friends and teachers and the best was going back to her old school to be with her old friends.

Created: Mon 29th Jun 2015

Many of us have learnt to spell as a child without being specifically taught the sounds. In the past, the teaching of phonics was discouraged in schools, however, we learnt a lot through sounding out words independently. At a recent course on voice production, the importance of vowel sounds was emphasised as central to pronunciation. They were also emphasised as central to sounding out to help with spelling. Chunking (breaking up words into syllables) also helps to sound out and spell longer more challenging words.

Created: Sat 30th May 2015

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.

Created: Wed 6th May 2015

This morning my 4 year old woke up and said, "Mummy there are two languages, child's language and adult language". I asked her what she meant and she explained that when her friend was crying the teacher told her to read her the "owl" book. She then said, "The teacher reads the words but the child changes it." A young child may not be able to read, or retell the story using the actual words but often can retell it in their own words. A bit like a translation, as my daughter illustrated. The key factor is not the actual words, but the story behind the words.

Created: Mon 13th Apr 2015

The transition from EAL beginner to intermediate learner can take from one term to a year depending on the learner. 

Created: Mon 2nd Mar 2015

Recently we have been looking closely at the power of using online learning through the Learning Village by studying the assessment results of learners who were new-to-English when they started using the Learning Village at Wood End Academy. They continue to use the tool in and out of school.

Results by time, progress and score

Created: Sat 28th Feb 2015

Feedback is the buzz-word and, as with most things, it is not being reinvented, but constantly readapted. In recent years, we see more formal national approach. One can become overwhelmed with the copious elements that need to be considered when feeding back to learners. 

Created: Wed 4th Feb 2015

Including a useful EAL Progress Review and links to different EAL assessment continua

When teaching EAL, assessment procedures need to be in place in order to have a concrete analysis of student starting points.

This area is a minefield! Without other references or expertise to hand, a new teacher often turns to an expert for help… Google! Results popping up on the first page of a search shows the Oxford placement tests on the first page, but are they the answer?

Created: Tue 30th Dec 2014

Including some ideas for EAL beginners

Whilst reading a book on reclaiming childhood ('Their name is today' by Johann Christoph Arnold) the chapter on 'learning differences and how to cater for them' triggered thoughts on teaching differences. At the end of the October article it was mentioned that EAL teaching should be evaluated in a different way due to the very nature of the subject and I shall try to clarify why.

Created: Wed 24th Dec 2014

Including 5 top tips to celebrating differences

Created: Wed 24th Dec 2014

The language show this year in Olympia made me even more aware of the gift of having more than one language. One of the stand's motto was 'monolingualism can be cured', another 'Speak to the Future' (www.speaktothefuture.org) campaigns to promote the teaching of languages in schools in the UK. Since this September all children in primary schools will be taught a language as the government finally realised that, in a mobile world, a second language is essential for a country's economic development.

Created: Thu 2nd Oct 2014

The start of a new school year can be a daunting experience for new EAL arrivals. Some may be devastated to leave their friends, schools and homes. Some may be excited at the experience of a new adventure, but for all arriving with little or no English can be an alienating and exhausting experience. It is important to gain an understanding of how the child feels about the move to enable them to settle well.

Created: Fri 27th Jun 2014

This language learning strategy provides a very powerful platform for rapid progress using a multi-sensory approach:

1. Teach the new language. Ideally, a popular phrase where vocabulary can be alternated to give learners more options to use the phrase.

2. Read the short phrase aloud and ask the learner to listen then read in their head as you speak.

3. Ask the learner to repeat what they heard (this should be recorded).

3. Ask learners to listen to themselves speaking (on the recording).

Created: Thu 5th Jun 2014

New to English can be supported in many different ways. Here's one school's approach:


All learning is based on assessment. Children arrive and sit a baseline assessment. After analysis of result children are provided with appropriate provision. Interim progress reports on progression in EAL, phonics and writing are reviewed every half term.


Beginner EAL Learning Intervention (EAL Intervention)

Created: Thu 5th Jun 2014

Everyone is talking about differentiation for EAL in whole class teaching, but how do we actually approach it consistently and effectively?

At Communication Across Cultures we have been developing some systematic ways of approaching this in a structured, yet flexible format. In the attached plan you'll see a framework to support EAL teachers with planning for content learning alongside language learning. The plan is based about the theme of sea pollution and provides a writing frame for a persuasive text.

This lesson follow a particular format:

Created: Thu 22nd May 2014

Are your new arrivals now intermediate language learners?

Created: Sat 17th May 2014

A School Language Profile is an invaluable tool!

In the previous article we looked at the thorny issue of EAL learners with specific learning differences (SpLD).  We discussed how identification of SpLD in EAL learners could be a long and frustrating process.  We looked at some possible, non-language based assessments.  At the end of the article we discussed the possibility of using a ‘language profile’ to help identify possible concerns at an early stage.

Created: Mon 5th May 2014

What tools are there if you have a sixth sense that something is not quite right?

At what point does a teacher start to question whether an EAL student’s lack of progress is due to English Language Development (ELD) issues or due to specific learning differences (SpLD).

These questions come up again and again. Learning English as an Additional Language is not a learning difficulty, however 20% of EAL students will follow the norm of having specific learning differences (Chapter 1, SFR24/2012, GovUK). Therefore, there is a possibility that an EAL student has SpLDs.

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.

Created: Mon 21st Apr 2014

Is it important for young English language learners to read dual language text?

Created: Mon 21st Apr 2014

The use of the children’s home language is another extremely important element of learning a language. Cummins highlighted that:

Created: Sun 30th Mar 2014

Have a look at these tips on culture change: http://www.globalkidsoz.com.au/_things_to_discuss_about_another_country.php

Also see an array of multicultural resources on this site as well as a few other useful tips on the following and more...

  • 10 ways to celebrate everyone’s cultural heritage within your group/room
  • 10 things to think and action to ensure that you have a culturally inclusive environment


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:

Created: Mon 24th Feb 2014

Helping our students to be better language learners

How can the new to English language learners and their teachers work together to provide a successful language learning experience when curriculum content is the priority?

Rubin & Thompson (1982) researched and found 14 characteristics of a good language learner.

Created: Sun 23rd Feb 2014

Key Stage 2 Assessment and Reporting Arrangements 2014 states:

"4.9.4 How children’s test and teacher assessment results are used in the performance tables

Created: Sun 16th Feb 2014

Here's a summary (the bare bones) of a procedure that gives you first steps to accomodating for new EAL arrivals. This is for those of you who have 'Teaching English as an Addidtional Langauge 5-11: A Whole School Resource' (click here for more info on this resource, training and online learning for new arrivals)

Created: Sun 16th Feb 2014

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

Created: Wed 12th Feb 2014

A few useful tips on supporting  new arrivals, note the induction and the need for both withdrawal and in class learning.

Created: Fri 7th Feb 2014

Cross Cultural Understanding for New to English Students – The First Steps (Part 2)

Created: Sun 2nd Feb 2014

Instantly translate printed words using an app!

Check this: Word Lens 


Created: Tue 21st Jan 2014

I watched this clip recently and certain elements stood out:

  • Collaborative planning which supported pre teaching EAL learners
  • The use of mentors and a special room where support is available 
  • Mother tongue classes 
  • Using influential people in the community to bridge cultural challenges

Its good to see how Valentine's makes these elements manageable.

Created: Mon 13th Jan 2014

It is Friday morning; the Head teacher comes to tell you that on Monday morning you will have a new student arriving who does not speak much English.  How can you give a successful welcome for that student given the time frame?

Created: Sun 29th Dec 2013

Scenario: You are moving to a new country (pick a country which has a different script such as China, Saudi Arabia or Bangladesh).  You can only take a suitcase with you.  Discuss your thoughts on the following groups of questions;


How would you feel about moving?

What would you take?

What would you leave behind?

Who would you miss?

What activities would you miss?


How would you feel about learning the language?

Do you think other people would speak English?

Created: Sat 21st Dec 2013

Progression in Language Structures is a great document for identfying how content learning can be built on language structures.  Language structures are presented in sentence starters for different text types, for example, the language of explanations and how it it can be structured from foundation stage through to Year 6. It can be used to support EAL learners in constructing sentences to fulfil content learning objectives.

Created: Sat 21st Dec 2013

This EAL Assessment booklet is produced by NASSEA (National Association of Support Services and Equality & Achievement) and provides a detailed scale which aligns to the National Curriculum: http://nassea.org.uk/assessments/

Created: Sat 21st Dec 2013

We'd love to hear from you! Where are they from? What langauge do they speak? Do you feel prepared!?

Have a look at these videos of new arrivals and how they felt. These are really useful to use with teachers, children and parents to help the school community understand what difficulties they face and what they might be going through! http://www.eastendtalking.org.uk/new-arrivals

Created: Sat 21st Dec 2013

Supporting the learning of the new language is by no means the only aspect of helping a new arrival to feel ‘at home’ in their new country. However, as it can be one of the most stressful aspects of their life change and therefore a carefully tailored plan to accommodate for their language learning needs is essential. There are a wealth of resources available for supporting teachers in helping children in their first steps of learning English.

Created: Sat 21st Dec 2013

As a Head of Early Years in an international school following the EYFS and IPC curriculums it has always been important to ensure that the teaching of the English language is done in the classroom without the help of specialist EAL support. Early years teachers are great physical, visual talkers!

One of the key principles of teaching in the Early Years is that bilingualism has an advantage and that as the first language it has a continuing and significant role in identity, learning and the acquisition of additional languages.

Created: Fri 20th Dec 2013

Coreen Sears gives us an insight into her thoughts...

‘The story of my life is who I am’

Created: Sat 14th Dec 2013

Coming in the New Year… a series of articles with free downloadable teaching tools and resources! They will be written and produced by Jessica Tweedie. Jessica Tweedie is a primary trained teacher with 17 years experience as an EAL specialist teacher. Having worked in over 22 schools she has experienced both being employed as a dedicated EAL teacher in one school and peripatetically across authorities as part of an EAL team.

Created: Sat 14th Dec 2013

If you have EAL new arrivals in your school with limited English you need a scheme of work in English that supports learners with language learning alongside the curriculum content you are delivering in order to ensure young learners are understanding the basics of language needed for success. Learning can be split into two parts: 1. Survival language otherwise known as BICS (Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills) 2. The language needed for success in academic studies. This is known as CALP (Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency).