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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.

Teacher talking about bullying
Author: Christine Hanley, EAL Specialist
Created: Tue 15th Nov 2022

When I was teaching early literacy to adults some years ago, I had two teenage students from a refugee background join one of my classes. They were beginner-level English as an Additional language (EAL) learners and both were non-literate. They had been expelled from the local high school for fighting. At the time, there was a national fundraising campaign to support children in troubled parts of the world.

Teacher giving corrective feedback
Author: Eli Briasco, EAL specialist
Created: Sat 29th Oct 2022

Chances are, if you’ve been teaching English for a while, you’ve provided plenty of feedback to your learners on the accuracy of their writing. Prior to undertaking action research on this practice, it was evident from my observations of colleagues that there were multiple approaches and attitudes towards written corrective feedback.

New arrival in front of school
Author: Jane Bryan, EAL Specialist
Created: Fri 9th Sep 2022

It's September - you come in for your inset day, and find out that you have two new starters in your class. One is an English as an Additional Language (EAL) new arrival. What does this mean - for them and for you?

What is a new arrival?

"New arrivals can be described as:

Literacy: Student writing
Author: Breda Matthews, EAL specialist
Created: Wed 7th Sep 2022

Schools often have a number of students who are not yet literate in English. Whilst this includes English-speaking children who are only just learning to read and write, it also covers other groups of learners, including:

  • 'pre-literate' learners who come from an oral language tradition where there is no written form of the language. This can make the concepts of reading and writing very difficult to grasp.

Teenagers reading
Author: Christine Hanley, EAL specialist
Created: Thu 1st Sep 2022

A wide reading programme is promoted as a key vehicle for learners of English as an additional language (EAL) to improve their English language skills and become successful readers in English. Typically, such a programme involves learners being exposed to an extensive variety of reading materials both as independent readers and in structured sessions facilitated by a teacher or teaching assistant.

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.

Behaviour assessment using smiley flashcards
Author: Isabelle Bridger-Eames, EAL specialist
Created: Wed 15th Jun 2022

Getting behaviour 'right' is crucially important for all schools. Ensuring that we have a 'fit for purpose' behaviour policy that caters for all pupils throughout their schooling - including EAL pupils - is vital for the feel and culture of our schools, as well as for allowing pupils to feel safe and be in the right environment to learn to their full potential.

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.

Teacher smiling in classroom
Author: Isabelle Bridger-Eames, EAL specialist
Created: Wed 27th Apr 2022

The Early Career Framework was made compulsory in the UK in September 2021. It replaces the year-long NQT period. It is a two-year programme of support and development for new teachers after they complete initial teacher training. The Framework covers 8 main areas:

Child scared of Maths equations
Author: Christine Hanley, EAL specialist
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.

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.

Multilingual class
Author: Yzanne Mackay
Created: Sun 23rd Jan 2022

If Katerina spoke in Russian again in the classroom, the teacher warned her, her name would be put on the board and she would miss out on certain privileges. 'Katerina' - a seven-year-old Russian speaker newly arrived in the UK - was finding it difficult to let go of her mother tongue (also referred to as 'home language', 'first language' or 'L1') in class, to the frustration of her teacher. Her story is the central point of a recent research paper by Olena Gundarina and James Simpson (see References below).

Mother checking child's online safety on screen
Author: Yzanne Mackay
Created: Sat 27th Nov 2021

Everyone recognises the importance of staying safe online - but it's not always straightforward. For many of us, computing - including social media, information technology and cybersecurity - is a whole new world, with its own conventions and language. Now consider the added element of dealing with all of this quite literally in a different language! That's the situation our EAL learners find themselves in. Having arrived in a new country, they need to learn English as quickly as possible, for social as well as academic reasons.

Group of children on grey background
Author: Isabelle Bridger-Eames, EAL specialist
Created: Sun 26th Sep 2021

Barry and Matthew Carpenter’s ‘Recovery Curriculum’ has many applications for EAL pupils. Their ‘Recovery Curriculum’ was created during the 2021-21 pandemic, over concerns about how learners would cope when back in school. The Carpenters describe how the Recovery Curriculum is built on five levers, “as a systematic, relationships-based approach to reigniting the flame of learning in each child” (Carpenter and Carpenter, 2020).

EAL and language learning mindmap
Author: Yzanne Mackay
Created: Mon 16th Aug 2021

You're the EAL lead in your school - or a teacher with responsibility for EAL. You're a class teacher who's been asked to look into EAL - or a teaching assistant who runs a special EAL group. But do your colleagues really know what you do? Do they know what EAL is - and why it matters for all staff in a school, and not just you?

Teen on computer, online teaching
Author: Louise Kearns, English Language specialist teacher
Created: Sun 4th Jul 2021

In March 2020 International Primary School Almere, along with all other schools here in the Netherlands, went into lockdown for three weeks. Three weeks, we thought? Let's put together some revision packs of what we've learnt recently and email them home!

Memory strategy
Author: Dr Anne Margaret Smith
Created: Fri 4th Jun 2021

While learning new languages, a lot of information simply needs to be remembered, and we often have to combine new information with what we already know, using our working memory. For students with specific learning differences, such as dyslexia, retrieving information from the long-term memory can be slower or less effective, resulting in greater difficulties in learning.

Memory processes are complex, but in my experience, we remember better the things that we:

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 studying
Author: Isabelle Bridger-Eames, EAL specialist
Created: Mon 26th Apr 2021

What is a cloze procedure?

Cloze procedures are tasks where learners fill in the blanks in a text from which entire words have been omitted. Learners decide on the most appropriate words to fill the gaps from a bank of provided words. The word 'cloze' (close) is derived from the word 'closure', whereby participants complete a not quite finished pattern or text by inserting or choosing words to give the text closure (Walter, 1974).