Community Village

hands writing at a desk
Author: Miranda Howell, EAL specialist
Created: Wed 7th Feb 2024

I will never forget the ‘feelings’ I experienced during my EAL teacher training, when I sat in a class with a tutor who entered the room with a basket of goodies and greeted us in Swedish. My immediate reaction was one of confusion, which then led to frustration and finally a sense of hopelessness, before I even realised that I was actually expected to experience learning some Swedish without a single word of English allowed in the classroom.

Author: Iva Miteva, EAL specialist
Created: Wed 10th Jan 2024

There is no denying that in the 21st century, teachers have gone from strength to strength in using technology in the classroom and this has changed the classroom landscape significantly. The digital age has introduced new avenues to explore for learning and teaching beyond the traditional classroom methods.

Author: Iva Miteva, EAL specialist
Created: Wed 25th Oct 2023

你好 Привіт  Merhaba Здравей  Buna ziua ہیلو Cześć

How often do you hear these in the school playground? And actually, not just in the playground… Do you know which language they are from? Have a guess!

(Here is the answer: Mandarin, Ukrainian, Turkish, Bulgarian, Romanian, Urdu, Polish)

When you walk around your school, I bet you can hear words and phrases in different languages whispered or spoken out loud in the corridors, the lunch hall, and lessons too (if you listen really carefully!).

an image of flags in front of children's desks in a model UN setting
Author: Miranda Howell, EAL specialist
Created: Wed 25th Oct 2023

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is a human rights treaty that encompasses specific children’s rights bound by international law. It was put in place by the United Nations (UN) in 1989 and “defines universal principles and standards for the status and treatment of children worldwide.” It is important because it states children’s basic, fundamental civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights to promote a safe and fulfilled childhood.

Four students laughing with each other
Author: Shalu Aara, EAL specialist
Created: Tue 5th Sep 2023

A learner’s wellbeing is vital to their achievement and overall success. Nevertheless, an EAL (English as an Additional Language) learner’s wellbeing should be considered more thoroughly when discussing their academic performance and achievements. A learner who speaks “a language other than English as their first language and needs additional support to develop a proficiency in English” (Twinkl, n.d) is considered to be an EAL learner. They can come from a diverse, multilingual and/or refugee background.

An image of an exercise book, a pencil and some colourful letters
Author: Martha Giannakaki, EAL Specialist
Created: Tue 4th Jul 2023

Our EAL learners are by no means a homogeneous group of learners and their needs in our classroom will vary to a considerable extent. As teachers may find it challenging at times to successfully cater to different EAL needs in class, developing a deeper understanding of those needs can help us address them more effectively through a number of tips and strategies. 

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).

Bilingual world
Author: Caroline Scott, author and director
Created: Wed 20th May 2020

If you have the opportunity to use a bilingual support partner to help families who have learners working from home, it may be useful to prepare a list of questions for this staff member to ask. Bilingual support is extremely useful when making contact with parents who speak little or no English.

Family studying in mother tongue
Author: Caroline Scott, author and director
Created: Wed 29th Apr 2020

We are all faced with very different learning situations at the moment and home learning has become the current norm. The challenges it poses are significant. Parents often have limited time available to support learners, limited understanding of where to start, sometimes a lack of technological know-how in accessing online classrooms - or even a lack of access to an online environment altogether. These issues are exacerbated amongst parents with limited understanding of the school language.

Language bubbles
Author: Sarah Jones, EAL coordinator, Lea Forest Academy
Created: Mon 27th Jan 2020

International Mother Language Day (IMLD) is a worldwide observance celebrated annually on 21st February. It promotes awareness of cultural and linguistic diversity and international understanding through multilingualism and multiculturalism.

Parents and child
Author: Yzanne Mackay
Created: Mon 14th Oct 2019

"Parental involvement is invaluable for any new arrival in transition. The learner’s family may be the only group of people who truly understand their transition. The parents may have very little understanding of what happens in an English-speaking school or the approach you have to education. Parental involvement will help you to understand more about the child’s life as well as build a valuable rapport and level of trust between all parties.”
(Scott, 2012)

Bilingual world
Author: Anita Bamberger, EAL specialist
Created: Sun 15th Apr 2018

The popularity of bilingual schools is increasing. This can be seen, for example, in the growing number of French schools in London, where the students follow a bilingual programme.

In many countries there is an emphasis on learning two languages (The Linguist, 2017). In Scotland in 2011 the government pledged to follow the European model of 1+2 languages. Every child would learn two languages in addition to their mother tongue, to celebrate linguistic and cultural diversity and thus facilitate the inclusion of other languages within the school.

Author: Emma Mijailovic, EAL teacher
Created: Thu 2nd Nov 2017

In my experience, teachers often have quite strong feelings about the use of a pupil’s L1 (first language) in the classroom - it is either encouraged or forbidden. Garcia and Sylvan (2011) describe monolingual education as outdated in our current ‘globalized’ world and discourage the practise of imposing only one language. In fact, they suggest that teachers should support students in developing their awareness of their first language as well as the language of instruction.

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.

Author: Anita Bamberger, EAL specialist
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: 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: Wed 24th Dec 2014

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: 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: 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?