TS5: Supporting EAL Learners

March 26, 2019 2:18 pm

I am currently on my Second School Placement. My second school uses a visual representation of the things the children should use in their writing. This is a good tool for all children not just EAL children, as it allows the children to independently see the things that they need to include in their writing. I will try to use this at my host school also as I believe it will really help some of the lower ability children focus and remember all the elements required in their writing. It could also be used as a checklist when editing and marking work. (S5: Know when and how to differentiate appropriately, using approaches which enable pupils to be taught effectively.)

Within the lessons the teachers try to use as many visuals as possible. For example, having pictures on worksheets to help children use that to form their sentences and gather ideas. Readily available for the children to use are spelling mats with high frequency words and phoneme mats to aid the children with their spelling and phonics knowledge. (S5: Have a secure understanding of how a range of factors can inhibit pupils’ ability to learn, and how best to overcome these.) (S5: Have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those with special educational needs; those of high ability; those with English as an additional language; those with disabilities; and be able to use and evaluate distinctive teaching approaches to engage and support them.)

During group and pair work children who are EAL and low ability are put with children who have good English to allow them to model the correct use of English. If the children hear good use of English they pick up on that and will follow their example. (S5: Have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those with special educational needs; those of high ability; those with English as an additional language; those with disabilities; and be able to use and evaluate distinctive teaching approaches to engage and support them.)

If the child arrives at the school with no or little English, the child is quickly  integrated into the class. Before going to this school, I had not seen how a school integrates a child into their school or how the child copes with being a strange environment with people who don’t speak their first language. Since the start of this half term a child has started in the class with no English or prior experience of being at school. For the first couple of weeks he did not speak much just nodded and watched others. However, quickly he began to realise what he needed to do by following and copying others. The main ways of communication was through hand gestures and actions for example patting the floor when you wanted him to sit on the carpet and saying “sit down on the carpet”. Often communication was short and simple, therefore the boy could began to understand and follow the instruction. Slowly over the last couple of weeks, the boy has began to say some things such as “good morning/afternoon”, he can recognise and say numbers to 20 (with prompts) and he is beginning to show some phonics knowledge. He is starting to use more hand gestures to communicate what he needs. Also, what has surprised me the most is how quickly the child is picking up English and the progress he is making for example he can now recognise his name and is beginning to write it. From seeing this, I now understand the importance of immersing the child to the classroom routine and environment is quickly as possible. Also, the importance of exposing the child to English whether it be through learning partners who can model good English or using visuals and hand gestures. (S5: Have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those with special educational needs; those of high ability; those with English as an additional language; those with disabilities; and be able to use and evaluate distinctive teaching approaches to engage and support them.) (S5: Have a secure understanding of how a range of factors can inhibit pupils’ ability to learn, and how best to overcome these.)      

Similar to at the SEN placement earlier in the course, teachers use short and simple sentences to communicate with the EAL children. I could quickly see the impact of this and the importance for me to follow this, as otherwise the children misunderstand and become confused very quickly. (S5: Have a secure understanding of how a range of factors can inhibit pupils’ ability to learn, and how best to overcome these.)    

Another noticeable difference when talking to EAL children is the use of actions and/or hand gestures to support your verbal communication with the children. For example, raising your hand in the stop position when you want the child to stop. This supports and allows the child to see visual cues to help them understand your verbal instruction. (S5: Have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those with special educational needs; those of high ability; those with English as an additional language; those with disabilities; and be able to use and evaluate distinctive teaching approaches to engage and support them.)

Supporting EAL children within the class has helped me to see first hand the strategies that can be implemented to support EAL learners become immersed within the classroom environment. It has also shown me the importance of immersing the children into the normal classroom routines and supporting them through visuals and actions, as the child will quickly pick up on routines within the classroom if good quality teaching is in place.   

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

  • Continue to support the children’s learning by using visuals.
  • Ensure my communication with the children is precise and short to avoid confusion.