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:

Felt pens
Author: Gemma Fanning, EAL specialist
Created: Tue 19th Jun 2018

Marking and feedback is a crucial part of any teacher’s workload, and is essential for EAL learners. The importance of good-quality marking and feedback has been evidenced by many academic professionals, notably William & Black (1998) and, more recently, William (2018) and Hattie (2012). Hattie discusses the idea of rigorous approaches to marking and feedback, stating that through assessing learners, teachers themselves learn about their own impact: “As a professional, it is critical to know they impact.

Forest road
Author: Gemma Fanning, EAL specialist
Created: Tue 6th Mar 2018

The term 21st Century skills is becoming significantly part of the classroom learning environment, but what exactly does that mean? There are a few definitions, however, in essence, these are the skills that our learners need to prepare them for their future (Puchta & Williams, 2014), taking them from their studies, to their futures as adults.

The Four C's

Many researchers today acknowledge the 4C’s. They are known as:

Author: Dr Anne Margaret Smith
Created: Thu 7th Dec 2017

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.

Author: Gemma Fanning, EAL specialist
Created: Wed 2nd Nov 2016

An additional adult can be very effective in supporting teachers with EAL learners in the classroom. An additional adult may be a teaching assistant, learning support assistant or just a regular volunteer. They can significantly enhance support for learner motivation, confidence and self-esteem (Wilson et al, 2003). If you are a classroom teacher, you may be observed on how best to deploy your additional adults against your school standards.

Author: Gemma Fanning, EAL specialist
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.

Author: Anne Margaret, ELT well
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.

Author: Caroline Scott, author and director
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?

Author: Collette Forrest
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 or Analytic Phonics approach or the Synthetic Phonics approach.

A sign with 'Phonics?' on it
Author: Colette Forrest
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).

Author: Anita Bamburger
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.

Author: Anita Bamberger & Caroline Scott
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.

Author: Anita Bamberger & Caroline Scott
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 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: Tue 30th Dec 2014

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.

Author: Coreen Sears
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.

Author: Caroline Scott, Author and Director
Created: Mon 24th Feb 2014

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.

If each characteristic of a good language learner can be developed for young learners into a ‘child friendly’  question, translated into their mother tongue (maybe orally) and unpicked, question by question, each characteristic can act as a guide for learners to try out new strategies.