English as an Additional Language
What is EAL?
English as an Additional Language (EAL) recognises that many pupils learning English already know more than one other language and are adding English to their repertoire. EAL can be broken down into early stage learners and advanced learners of EAL.
Early stage learners are pupils who are at the earlier stages of learning EAL. This is often used interchangeably with ‘new arrivals’ or ‘beginners in English’. Advanced learners of EAL are pupils who have had considerable exposure to English and no longer in the early stages of acquiring the language.
It should not be assumed that an EAL learner has an SEN in cognition and learning unless their progress is notably slower or markedly different than for similar pupils.
The SEN Code of Practice (DfES, 2001) makes this clear by stating:
“Children must not be regarded as having a learning difficulty solely because the language or form of language of their home is different from the language in which they will be taught.”
How do we support this?
Drop in sessions On Mondays we provide a weekly drop in service for Parents who have English as an additional language.
High Quality Teaching:
This begins as soon as the New Arrival starts at Bengeworth. Relevant information is collected by our LSP Monika Slowinska as to the child’s linguistic background, previous schooling, parents’ abilities to speak English etc. and an initial assessment is made about the child’s stage of English acquisition. Whatever stage they are at, it is vital to remember that EAL learners are as able as any other pupils, they just haven’t acquired fluency in English yet.
Scaffolding learning is a blanket term that covers a range of strategies used in class to support any EAL learner in their move to independent learning. It can include all or some of the following: pairing a child with a “buddy” who speaks the same language; new /difficult vocabulary explained, clarified, on a prompt sheet etc.; children given thinking time to formulate their response; pre-teaching of new concepts to enable EAL children to access future lessons and more!
Around the school and in our classrooms we have multi-lingual posters. This ensures that everyone feels welcome at the school, particularly those with EAL, and supports learning of everyday classroom language.
Bengeworth Language Leaders At our school we have several ‘Language Leaders’ Their role is to provide support to new pupils and provide support to new families starting the school through interpreting whilst touring the school.
Depending on the results of our language assessments and following discussion with class teachers. Examples of support at this stage include:
Intervention Programme - delivered weekly by Monika Slowinska. Supporting language acquisition and vocabulary. It develops pupils’ awareness of common word categories as well as descriptive, retelling, sequential and questioning language.
All members of the EAL team are involved with aspects of individualised support. Examples of support at this level include:
Targeted Language Support In conjunction with the class teacher and using termly class assessments, children from R to Y5 are selected for targeted language support. This may include grammar, extended writing and understanding of text and is delivered by Miss Slowinska. Ongoing monitoring takes place regularly between all relevant staff and close liaison with the family secures the development of language. Visual supports and modification of the curriculum may be provided by the EAL coordinator to use in class if appropriate.
What can you do at home?
If you think your child might need help at home you can support them in the following ways:
- Understand that many children will go through a ‘silent’ period at some stage, sometimes for an extended period. Be patient during this time and continue to expect that they will respond.
- Children sharing the same first language should not be discouraged from sharing that language in play. This should be encouraged.
- Find out what your child has an interest in and motivation for and use resources that help develop these areas. For instance, creating treasure hunts in English, watching English TV shows and listening to English music they enjoy.
- Modelling is important for introducing children to a new language so model as much as you can to encourage the child's learning.
- Stories based on personal experience can be a powerful medium for supporting children’s personal, social and emotional development as well as their communicative and linguistic skills.
Learn English Kids created by the British Council have lots of free online games, songs, stories and activities for children. For parents they have articles on supporting children in learning English, videos on using English at home and information about face-to-face courses around the world: http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/en/