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: Author: Caroline Scott, Author and Director, Learning Village by Across Cultures
Created: Wed 6th Dec 2023

Small group teaching is an approach in which learners are divided into small groups of roughly 4-8 students and work together supported by a teacher. It is a highly effective way to improve learning outcomes, particularly for EAL learners.

Small-group teaching can be focused on an induction to English, gap-filling areas of challenge or need, or pre-teaching content in the curriculum. 

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. 

An EAL teacher holding up letter cards to a learner
Author: Iva Miteva, EAL Specialist
Created: Wed 31st May 2023

What is the role of an EAL teacher?

An EAL teacher is a professional specialising in working with learners for whom English is an additional language, such as refugees, asylum seekers or children of migrant families.

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.

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.

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:

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).

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?

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. It is therefore vital to teach specific memory strategies.

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

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).

Pupils speaking
Author: Breda Matthews, EAL specialist
Created: Fri 1st Jan 2021

Teaching in a way that is responsive to the diversity in our classrooms has a huge impact on the learning outcomes of English language learners. Strong school-family relationships, culturally responsive classrooms, and the deliberate use of effective teaching strategies can help English language learners to succeed at school.

Author: Isabelle Bridger-Eames, EAL specialist
Created: Thu 4th Jun 2020

Effective assessment for learning (AfL) is ‘informed feedback to pupils about their work’ (Shaw, 1998). As Broadfoot et al (1999) discuss, there are five key ways in which we can enhance learning by assessment. These steps can be universally applied to all learning and all learners, and thus address the learning needs of EAL learners in physical and virtual classrooms. They are:

Change graphic
Author: Gemma Fanning, EAL specialist
Created: Mon 25th Feb 2019

How can you take your EAL department forward to play a part in a whole school development strategy? Over the years, I have found that this can be a real challenge. A plan for a whole-school approach to EAL can have a significant impact, and not only benefits the EAL learners, but the whole school population.

Common themes

Blair and Bourne (1998) researched some successful schools and identified some common themes with regard to EAL: