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Girl online learning
Author: Sarah Jones, EAL coordinator, Lea Forest Academy
Created: Mon 8th Mar 2021

In January 2021, we commenced another lockdown in the UK and put our recovery curriculum on hold. The question on most of our minds was immediately: "How will our EAL learners progress without the English academic and social interaction school provides, and which they need in order to flourish in their language learning journeys?"

Girl online learning
Author: Catherine Brennan, Better Bilingual
Created: Mon 1st Feb 2021

To mute or to unmute? To reply to one or everyone? To use gallery or speaker view?

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.

Girl with rulers
Author: Miranda Howell, EAL specialist
Created: Mon 14th Dec 2020

For those of us who are EAL teachers in school, selecting our language learning outcomes is only one consideration in our planning. Our students attend our lessons primarily to be able to access the language they are facing in their mainstream classes. This means that we need to be very clear about our context, and about what vocabulary and language structures are relevant to that context.

Dialogic teaching
Author: Eli Briasco, EAL specialist
Created: Sun 8th Nov 2020

Think about the last lesson you taught to English language learners. I’m sure you did some form of planning beforehand. I imagine you probably asked several questions throughout the lesson as well. After all, the foundation of effective teaching is interaction with learners. However, did you think about the questions you were going to ask when you were planning? Did you write down any key questions?

Assessment on computer screen
Author: Breda Matthews, EAL specialist
Created: Wed 7th Oct 2020

Assessment in an EAL context takes many forms. It can be formal (e.g. tests and examinations), informal (e.g. teacher observations) or learner self-assessment.

Man handstand
Author: Isabelle Bridger-Eames, EAL specialist
Created: Tue 18th Aug 2020

As educators, we are naturally reflective creatures, habitually revisiting lessons in our minds to see if we could somehow improve. Could the outcomes have been better? Were the discussions rich and high in quality? Was the balance of activities right to get the best possible language learning progression? Here, we will explore how to get the right balance in lessons, as well as suggesting activities. 

Girl online learning
Author: Caroline Scott, author and director
Created: Mon 29th Jun 2020

Transitioning successfully between extended home and school learning has been the struggle of every affected school, across the globe, since the onset of the pandemic. None of us could have predicted what was about to happen back in January of 2020 and we still struggle to comprehend the enormous scale of the struggle.

School closures, however your school has approached these, have had a huge impact on learner engagement. Even the most prepared schools have struggled to engage learners to the same extent as when learning in the classroom.

Learning Village map
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:

Minibeast project - boy with magnifying glass
Author: Catherine Brennan, Better Bilingual
Created: Wed 3rd Jun 2020

As I write this, it is Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 (18-24 May) in the UK, hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, with World Wellbeing Week fast approaching on 22-26 June 2020. During these strange COVID-19 times, my thoughts are turning to the power of nature to lift spirits, lighten moods and provide a positive focus in these long, lockdown days.

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.

Graph and problem-solving activity
Author: Lois Francis, Ethnic Minority Achievement Adviser, Integra Schools, South Gloucestershire Council
Created: Wed 4th Mar 2020

It is often easier for learners who are new to English to cope with the arithmetic areas of the mathematics curriculum, rather than with problem-solving activities, as the former require the use of less English. It is important that children learning EAL are familiar with and able to use mathematical language to achieve their potential in all areas of the subject.

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.

Fruit and vegetables
Author: Yzanne Mackay
Created: Mon 30th Dec 2019

New Year is a time to take stock – and often to think about making changes. One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to try to eat more healthily. But how do you explain healthy eating to new arrivals who don’t have a firm grasp of English?

Musical notes
Author: Dr Anne Margaret Smith
Created: Thu 5th Dec 2019

There are many similarities between music and language, in the way they are organised, processed and produced. Music therefore has enormous potential as a language-learning tool, and one that can be appealing to even the least engaged or confident learners.

Lea Forest logo
Author: Sarah Jones, EAL coordinator, Lea Forest Academy
Created: Mon 18th Nov 2019

In September 2015, Lea Forest Academy took on an additional class of 16 Year 2 newly arrived EAL children. Eight of these children had never been schooled, while eight had had some schooling experience in their home country. The school had no specific EAL provision in place or trained staff.

What did they do?
Where did they start?

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)

building blocks
Author: Caroline Scott, Yzanne Mackay
Created: Thu 29th Aug 2019

“Scaffolding is the process a teacher uses to model or demonstrate how to solve a problem (in the case of language learning, to support learners with using the language needed to articulate themselves). After modelling, they step back, offering support as needed.”
Scott, 2019

film roll
Author: Anita Bamberger, EAL specialist
Created: Fri 12th Jul 2019

When considering the Chinese language, the Chinese proverb ‘a picture paints a thousand words’ is apposite. Chinese is a complex language of symbols, strokes and pictures, where each picture can mean several words.

Images are a universal language and their power in the classroom shouldn't be underestimated. In this article we look at: