TS5: Staff meeting – EAL

During a recent staff meeting on my second school placement, I learnt more about how to support EAL children within my class and within a whole school approach. There were many strategies discussed within this training.

Speaking to children first or asking other children in groups to speak to children is important for EAL pupils. When pairing children up or putting them into groups, putting them with children whom have good standard English and good behaviour sets a good example for those EAL children who may struggle to communicate. Encouraging children to use their first language within the school setting, is key with helping children to develop their language skills within English (TS5- have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those with English as an additional language; and be able to use and evaluate distinctive teaching approaches to engage and support them)

Drama in the classroom is a really useful tool in order for children to learn language. Children have the opportunity to develop their own actions and get the chance to hear the language in large chunks rather than short sentences that they cannot comprehend. Lots of visuals are useful for EAL children to access in order for them to sort or recognise key words or phrases during tasks. ICT is another subject that helps children to revisit language through recording and translating in apps and a variety of software.

English language acquisition takes much longer to process and become fluent in when it is in an academic situation. Academic language proficiency is the language we use within school for example, mathematical language. This is harder to learn for EAL children as different words in other languages may mean very different things.

In training I learnt that EAL children develop through 5 different stages:

  • Children with EAL usually start in the silent/receptive stage. At this stage the children have few oral skills and usually communicate with gestures such as pointing and waving.
  • EAL children then move into the early production stage where they still have a limited number of words but can start to use simple sentences.
  • Stage 3 states that children have better comprehension and simple sentences.
  • EAL children will start to express their thoughts and feelings once they have moved into the intermediate fluency stage.
  • Following this will eventually utilize a variety of grammar which can be compared to non EAL children (TS5- have a secure understanding of how a range of factors can inhibit pupils’ ability to learn, and how best to overcome these).

The training has informed me of many strategies I can use as a teacher to ensure I have a range of approaches that I can use to support children including how to differentiate tasks for these children within the classroom and across the curriculum (TS5- know when and how to differentiate appropriately, using approaches which enable pupils to be taught effectively)

Focused next steps to impact on your progress or the progress of the children in your care:

  • Keep up to date with different approaches to support EAL children.
  • Look for resources to support these children- build up knowledge in case of EAL becoming part of the class.