Author: Breda Matthews, EAL specialist
Created: Mon 15th Apr 2024

Linguists including Derewianka (2001), Droga and Humphrey (2003), Knapp and Watkins (2005), and Gibbons (2009) suggest that scaffolding writing is critical in helping English as an additional language (EAL) learners become effective writers. 

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. 

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.

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.

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.