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English as an Additional Language (EAL)

English as an Additional Language (EAL) is not a subject specialism in the realm of teaching. However, it is more than likely teachers will come across EAL pupils and will face the issue first-hand and therefore EMTAS have prepared some guidance that might be helpful to understand the distinctiveness of EAL learners and key considerations in EAL support.

General tips for schools

  • Gather relevant information concerning the pupil
  • Use Welcome profiles to find information.  Download an example of the Welcome Profiles from the Welcome profile page.
  • For other Welcome Profiles in other languages – contact your local EMA Advisory Teacher
  • Share information about the pupil with relevant staff
  • Allocate pupils in appropriate sets for their academic potential
  • Use a buddy system to support
  • Maintain good relationships with families
  • Differentiate curriculum and present it in an EAL-friendly format- see suggested teaching strategies from The Bell Foundation and NALDIC
  • Monitor progress in developing proficiency in English using a suitable framework- see The Bell FoundationNASSEA or DfE descriptors. Our guide on how to use an EAL framework effectively is available to download from this page.
  • Value first language and heritage- see Bell Foundation advice re: Translanguaging and Speaking in your Home Language
  • Encourage engagement in wider school community
  • Liaise with EMTAS Advisory Teachers for further support.

Good Practice

Activate prior knowledge

It is important to incorporate this aspect in teaching practice as it will allow a pupil to see the wider context. The pupil may then be able to link prior knowledge to the curriculum being discussed. Apart from providing clear contextual background, the teacher may use this strategy to gain information regarding the knowledge that already exists. As a result, the teacher can make an informed decision whether to revisit curriculum or to move on to next stages.

Use visual support

Apart from providing support in terms of building context for the learner, visual support plays a major role in learning new content. Visual organisers, fact files, charts, posters, videos or mind maps can all substantially support conceptual and language knowledge.

Encourage active production of English

It is crucial that learners of English are actively encouraged to produce language from the very onset. Teachers need to create opportunities for learners to produce English in a variety of contexts and forms. Consequently, using strategies such as collaborative learning, role-play, discussions or project work are vital to ensure that spoken and written English production takes place on a regular basis.

Promote independence

As the objective is to provide the learner with tools to become an independent and proficient user of English, it is beneficial to promote independent work. It is worth encouraging self-organisation, planning and an ability to cooperate with others to find, process, discuss and reflect on the information within the curriculum.

Ref. NALDIC (National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum)

Last updated 3 March 2022

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