Latest EAL news and reports
8 September 2013
TRANSLATED COMMENTS FOR HOME SCHOOL COMMUNICATION (POLISH)
This extremely useful collection of bilingual comments was originally produced by the EAL service in Moray and was added to the resources provided on this website.
It has now been updated by the St Andrew's Learning Community who have edited some of the language and created a new format with each comment
in its own box ready for printing.
It attempts to cover all situations when teachers need to communicate with parents and provides an easy to use format. Short comments in English and Polish and can be printed off as required , glued into the homework diary or even posted or e-mailed home.
Even if you are acquainted with this resource please look at the updated version which had replaced the original. There are also comments in Chinese and Russian.
Just follow this link:
I) Information for parents in Polish and other languages
CHANGING ATTITUDES WITH INFORMATION
The Scottish Refugee Council has published a booklet
"Asylum in Scotland: The Facts".
This guide provides up-to-date information about the asylum system and aims
to encourage an informed debate on asylum. It sets out facts about the asylum
seekers and refugees living in Scotland and highlights the benefits they can bring.
Attitudes to immigration are difficult to disentangle from broader issues such as
race relations, globalisation and the European Union.
Polls consistently show a majority of the British population would like to reduce
overall migration numbers. But these views are influenced by misunderstandings
This booklet aims to give the real facts about asylum - showing the real situation
for asylum seekers and refugees. In addition,it aims to show the human face behind the statistics.
Click on the link to access the document. B) Guidelines for all teachers and managers (SRC The Facts Booklet)
23 June 2013
Innovations in English Language Teaching - an article from the British Council
The digital revolution in learning now threatens to undermine the classroom
completely as a place of study. Learning English through mobile devices gains
credibility every day and the increasing popularity and rapidly diminishing cost
of tablet devices reinforce this by providing a format that really is capable of
delivering courseware. Factor in the growing interest in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs),
providing large-scale (and free) learning interventions, and it is clear that technology
still has much to offer ELT.
Click on the link to access the document N) CPD Training Materials (British Council article on ELT)
5 June 2013
Perhaps we can learn from this!
I have just found out about an interesting project set up by the Arvon Foundation which runs creative writing courses.
They have turned their attention to bilingualism in the UK and done interesting research into attainment which you can read below. They have initiated the project (M)Other Tongues to encourage and support bilingual pupils to develop writing skills in both English and their first language. There is more information and a video about their work with Portuguese speaking pupils from London. I think that this gives a fascinating insight into the feelings of our bilingual young people. Perhaps one day this type of support might be available in Scotland.
Report on language diversity and attainment (Arvon Foundation)
Pupils who speak English as a second language are actually achieving less well relative to English first language pupils in all English regions except Inner London, a new report commissioned by Arvon finds. This is counter to recent press coverage celebrating the higher attainment of such pupils.
Arvon commissioned The Institute for Policy Studies in Education (IPSE) at London Metropolitan University to research linguistic diversity and attainment in England’s schools to identify which groups of bilingual or multilingual students are performing less well at school, and which regions of the country they are located in. This research will be used to identify the bilingual communities that Arvon will work with during the next stage of Arvon’s (M)Other Tongue, a creative writing project led by Arvon for young people from communities in the UK to write in their mother tongue and English side by side, exploring both languages and cultures.
The report analyses a combination of GCSE attainment by first language other than English, attainment by ethnicity and available local authority information on specific linguistic communities in select regions.
Whilst it is known that language barriers clearly impact on the attainment of some minority ethnic groups, data on attainment gaps are only published by ethnicity and not by language spoken.
This research illustrates the diverse nature of current ethnic group categories and calls for a rethink of the categories we use to understand educational disadvantage.
(M)Other Tongues has been developed with funding support from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the pilot of Mother Tongues has so far benefited 48 young people from Lambeth. In December 2009, 16 young people from Brazil, Portugal and Mozambique took part in a week-long residential led by two professional writers who communicate in both Portuguese and English at Lumb Bank, Arvon’s centre in Yorkshire. Following the success of the first residential, a second Portuguese group took part in 2010 and a third group of Yoruba speakers of Nigerian heritage in March 2011.
Over the next two years four groups of 16 bi-lingual young people who share a common mother tongue alongside English, will have the chance to experience the transforming power of spending a week at one of our centres to focus on their ability to write, and speak, in two languages.
This work will be complemented by introductory workshops at the young peoples’ schools, a celebratory sharing event with young people’s parents, peers and the wider community, post- residential workshops and online platforms for young people to continue to develop their writing.
The full report is available here: http://www.londonmet.ac.uk/research-units/ipse/research-projects/current-projects/p111.cfm
The sort of in service training we need - pity it is not available in Scotland
Professional Development Days for Teachers
Inspiring EAL Learners through the power of Creative Writing
Britain’s growing super-diversity means that over 300 languages are currently spoken in UK schools. Yet nationally, persistent attainment gaps still exist between English first language and other first language speakers. Even in London where the picture is different, broad ethnic categories mask the diversity that could help us understand who is at a disadvantage.
There is one pupil who never speaks out in class, would never read out in class, but I have definitely seen that change in him, he is much more likely to speak out...I’ve seen him carry that confidence back into the classroom.
- Teaching Assistant following Arvon (M)Other Tongues week
Arvon, the UK's leading creative writing charity, is offering INSET in Leeds and London for Heads of English, EAL, MFL and any teaching staff interested in using creative writing in the classroom to raise confidence, engagement and attainment.
Tuesday 24th September 2013, Leeds (9:00am - 3:30pm)
Tuesday 1st October 2013, London (9:00am - 3:30pm)
The (M)Other Tongues professional development days will explore the specific linguistic needs of EAL learners and the latest in EAL pedagogy and practice. Teachers will learn specific creative writing strategies to support and engage EAL learners; raising confidence and attainment.
Attendees will hear directly from teachers and staff who have experienced the benefits of a bi / multi-lingual writing approach. They will work with a professional writer to explore creative writing techniques and how to embed them in their departments. Teachers will leave with an inspiring pack full of creative ideas and a contact list of professional writers with an interest in this area of work.
Arvon is a flagship organisation of the literature world. Over the last four years Arvon has pioneered (M)Other Tongues, a multi-lingual creative writing programme funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. The project has enabled young people from diverse communities across the UK to write in their mother tongue and English side by side, exploring both languages and cultures.
29 May 2013
Answer to recent query from secondary school
Request for advice re improving accuracy in English grammar for EAL pupils
EAL pupils in Scotland learn English by being included in mainstream schools. Help with language and vocabulary is linked to work done in class. Pupils therefore learn naturally without being learning grammar rules.
Teenagers can often make excellent progress with learning English, but still have difficulties with grammar and vocabulary when they speak or write. Grammar books can be useful to help with certain difficulties but they are not always very interesting for teenagers.
The most commonly used grammar books are:
‘Essential Grammar in Use’ ( Elementary)
‘Essential Grammar in Use’ (Intermediate) Raymond Murphy (Cambridge University Press)
‘How English Works’ Michael Swan/Catherine Walker (Oxford University Press)
These books provide answer keys
Teenagers respond well to online exercises and there are a huge number of resources now available.
Many courses are for beginners but a Google search can help locate Intermediate level materials.
http://www.onestopenglish.com/teenagers/grammar-and-vocabulary/grammar/ (advice for parents/ teachers)
http://www.britishcouncil.fi/learn-english links to activities designed for teenage learners
http://www.englishspace.ort.org/ - an online course for young people including those at Intermediate level.
Which areas of grammar should students practise?
If teachers could notes areas of grammar where repeated mistakes occur then this will help identify what needs to be practised.
19 March 2013
Identifying dyslexia in EAL pupils is one of the key challenges faced by classroom and support teachers and is made more difficult by limited resources.
The aim of Dyslang is to develop a course to enable teachers and parents to support the multilingual dyslexic individual in learning an additional curriculum language.
There are several e-learning modules including Understanding dyslexia, Working with parents, Dyslexia in a multi-lingual society.
7 March 2013
Identifying dyslexia in multilingual learners
It seems that there are many small-scale research projects being conducted around the country, looking into how we can best identify which of our multilingual learners has dyslexia (or other SpLD). These are often being run by post-graduate students or independent researchers, and so the findings are not always widely published.
One of the projects is the creation of a Handwriting Database
Get involved with the ELT well Handwriting Speed Research Project and compare your students to others from the same language group across the country.
One of the first stages in identifying a specific learning difference (such as dyslexia) is to look at the students' performance as they write by hand under timed conditions. It is important that they write in the language that they feel most comfortable in, so that they do not have to keep stopping to think about words or grammar.
From this we can tell how much they can produce in a limited time (10 minutes) and whether there are any problems with legibility or regularity of handwriting over the test time.
Of course, we can't always read what they have written to assess the quality of organisation or accuracy. However, this first step does often highlight students who have problems with literacy in their own languages, and who will need more support in developing English literacy, and perhaps access arrangements in exams (such as extra time).
Unfortunately, it is not always clear how much we should expect students to write in their own languages. Norms are available for students writing in English, but not easily available for all other languages. Ideally, each student's script would be compared to others who have written in the same language, but that is not always possible for students who come from language groups which form a small minority in their college.
For this reason, we are maintaining a database of average handwriting speeds, so that we can compare students from previous years, if necessary. This project is now in its 5th year, and the database is growing steadily, with the help and co-operation of institutions around the UK.
However, the more schools and colleges there are collecting and contributing data to it, the faster it will grow, and the more useful it will be for us all.
If you would like to be part of the project, and be able to compare your students' handwriting speed to hundreds of others from across the country, please join the project. For more information about how to get involved, go to the link and download the documents you need here:
1 March 2013
The school where they speak 20 languages: a day at Gladstone Primary
Not one pupil at the Peterborough school speaks English as a first language. But, despite the challenges,
it has just received a glowing Ofsted report. The Guardian spent a day there
Children from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Portugal, Lithuania & Slovakia in the playground at Gladstone Primary. Photograph: David Sillitoe for The Guardian
Baltic exchange: meet the Lithuanians who have made Britain their home
An interesting Guardian article:
12 /12 /2012
Advice on how to help P2 pupil with reading - E-mail sent in reply to request for advice
Literacy is a huge issue and EAL pupils need more time than others to crack it. There are no easy answers and you need to try different approaches. The key is to keep developing his spoken English so that when he is ready to read then he will recognise words he sounds out. Don't just concentrate of individual words but on phrases which provide models for him to build on.
There is advice and links on the EAL website http://edubuzz.org/eal.
Listening to stories and audio books is also very useful and his parents should be reading to him in Polish at home so that he understands what books are and develops an interest in reading. Using his own writing for reading is also useful.There are also some short bilingual books in Polish there which can be printed off. A number of Polish books were given to the library service when the Outreach Service finished so you could also ask for these.
There is a very good website www.anglomaniacy.pl which is for Polish learners and has explanations in Polish which he could use at home. However it is good for speakers of other languages as well._______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
11 December 2012
New website for young learners
English for Kids. The place for fun learning
- word games, quizzes, songs, printable worksheets, resources for parents and teachers
This is a website produced in Poland with a good variety of resources for vocabulary and grammar. There are interactive grammar games to reinforce patterns and these are accompanied by a Polish translation. A Polish version of the text is also available at the click of a button so it supports bilingualism and would be useful for parents to use at home.
10 Sept 2012
Resources for early readers
The following books have been published by MacMillan
Little Explorers For beginning readers - includes phonics
Young Explorers for developing readers
Exploreres for confident readers
MacMilllan Children's Readers - Six levels - fact and fiction with accompnaying downloadable worksheets and audio
MacMillan Factual Readers - similar to above but with increased demand.
29 June 2012
The End of an Era
Most of the EAL resources have now been reallocated. Generic resources have been donated to schools. ESOL materials will be kept in Musselburgh Grammar School.
Boxes of resources specific to EAL pedagogy, policy and support have been prepared and will be kept at Library headquarters in Haddington.
- bilingual books
- Hounslow Language Service resouces
- examples of materials used with EAL pupils in ELC
- Advice and policy documents for teachers and managers
- Training materials
These are intended to supplement the information available on this website.
31 May 2012
Importance of EAL in a recent Scottish Government report ' Language Learning in Scotland : A 1+2 Approach'
A Language Working Group was set up by the SNP Government to take forward their manifesto pledge to implement in schools the EU 1+2 model of plurilingual citizens. It contains reference to EAL (see below). Is the emphasis here just on the acquisition of English or is there scope for the development of heritage languages within the menu of possibilities? It also includes a recommendation that student teachers should undertake some study of pedagogy associated with additional language learning.
English as an additional language
9. It is recommended elsewhere in this report that a 1+2 languages delivery will mean substantial enhancement of the role of EAL within schools and staff working within EAL will be central to 1+2 delivery. This will involve both qualified teachers and support staff working within EAL . Much important work has already been undertaken in Scotland in delivery of EAL and in developing the qualifications and roles of staff working within the sector. However, it is a service which is itself frequently vulnerable at a time of budgetary reductions. The Group is of the view that EAL work and delivery should be incorporated within a policy of 1+2 delivery in schools and should be protected and developed as part of the roll-out of that policy.
Centre of Education for Racial Equality in Scotland
26 May 2012
Encouraging pupils to produce their own recordings
I have just attended a SATEFL meeting where the guest speaker was Russell Stannard. He runs the award winningwebsite www.teachertrainingvideos.com.
In his presentation "The Connected Classroom" he explained how his students use websites such as Vocaroo to produce recordings for homework which are then mailed to him. This is a very interesting approach which can motivate students to engage with the often daunting task of speaking in English.
To read notes on the presentation go to Q) ICT.https://sites.google.com/a/edubuzz.org/english-as-an-additional-language/ict
22 May 2012
Polish students boosting standards in UK schools
The Telegraph today carries a report on a study carried out by Dr Sandra McNally of LSE that suggests standards are being raised by the presence of Polish students in our schools.
Sandra will be taking part in a ‘debate’ hosted by Cambridge Assessment today on the topic ‘Can’t speak, can’t learn – what’s the impact of non-native speakers in schools?’
You can watch it as a live webcast from 1 pm today http://goo.gl/4Ov3T
21 May 2012
Education in Portugal
There has been an increase in the number of Portuguese pupils enrolling in Moray. The Head of the EAL Service there recently made a visit to Portugal to find out about the education system there to gain a better understanding of pupils' previous experience and learning needs.
16 May 2012
21 May 2012: World Day for Cultural Diversity, for Dialogue and Development
Provides an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity and to learn to “live together” better.
12 May 2012
Using the interactive whiteboard for EAL
Shirley Lawson provided excellent training for the Outreach Team in the use of the Interactive Whiteboard. This is to prepare us for our return to classroom teaching after restructuring.
It has been difficult for me to get access to a full board but I have produced some simple activities which work well on the laptop for small group sessions. I love the interactivity and pupils enjoy moving linguistic elements around, which revises and reinforces structures in a fun way.
For examples go to:
30 April 2012
Welcome to London 2012
To celebrate 100 days until the Olympics begin a video clip has been released which has people
from diverse communities giving their own welcome in a variety of languages
Follow this link to view the video and see how many languages you can recognise
26 April 2012
BBC Radio 4
Michael Rosen, ‘Word of Mouth’
(Tuesdays, 4 – 5 pm or check BBC i-player)
Tue 23.4., Word of Mouth – Bilingual Families. Interviews with families where English is not the only language present in the household, featuring live interviews with
- a Greek Cypriot mother with her son and daughter (who were not given opportunities to learn Greek). Impact on son, daughter plus mother’s perspective. Interview ends on a very positive twist!
- -a German/English bilingual father, German mother and adult son, all living in the UK (son was not allowed to learn German – impact on both him and his mother).
- A Bengali mother who has consistently spoken Bengali to her son (son born in UK). Son’s and mother’s perspectives are both explored.
- a household where languages include Arabic, French and German, all of which are in active daily use. (Children code-switch between several languages - fascinating!)
On Tue 1st May, the programme will explore the work of interpreters.
All programmes are repeated on the ~Monday following the Tuesday broadcast (11 am?) and are also available for on week on BBC i-player.
8 April 2012
Partnerships between teachers from complementary and mainstream schools
EAL support varies according to the population. Here is an example of an initiative in London.
Although we have more isolated learners, there is still a lot that we can learn. Schools are often not aware that many
of our pupils attend complementary schools for their own culture after school or at the weekend.
You will find out about the projects as well as new teaching resources from Goldsmiths research on partnerships between teachers
Dr Charmian Kenner
Lecturer, Educational Studies
Goldsmiths, University of London
New Cross, London SE14 6NW
0207 919 7085
9 March 2012
Report on EAL support in Primary Schools
The British Council has published a report by Clare Wardman of York
Universit on Primary EAL. Follow the link to read the report.
3 March 2012
I cannot stress enough the importance of providing bilingual dictionaries in
Google translate is quick and easy to access but pupils need to have practise in
using dictionaries as well.
Here is the link to a list of publishers of bilingual dictionaries.
This is provided by the Ethnic Minority Achievement Service of the
Bath, Glocestershire and Somerset region.
This service has now been disaggregated but their website
is still available for schools and otherprofessionals to access.
21 Feb 2012
International Mother Language Day
21 February every year: Promoting linguistic and cultural diversity.
This Day is observed every year to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. It was created by UNESCO (the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organisation) in order to promote the dissemination of mother tongues and a fuller awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world and to inspire solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue. For further information, visit: www.un.org//en/events/motherlanguageday/.
If there are pupils in your class whose first language is not English, you might like to encourage them to read in their first language, as well as English. There are plenty of publishers who produce dual language resources. Why not try Mantra Lingua (www.mantralingua.com) or Milet (www.milet.com)?
<< Back to Global Calendar
20 February 2012
Top Tips for Supporting EAL Learners
Here are some suggestions to ensure that teaching supports pupils learning EAL in English lessons.
Before the lesson
q Check that learning objectives are clearly planned to build on prior attainment.
q Decide how to group pupils for the development stage of the lesson. Identify targeted pupils.
q Identify talk activities, ensuring groups provide peer support wherever possible. Assign roles carefully and support active listening.
q Select which pupils or groups to ask to feed back to the class in the plenary (remember to tell the pupils at the start of the lesson).
During starter activities
q Pair a pupil learning EAL with a “buddy” or sympathetic peer so that the pupil can receive help with “oral rehearsal” of contributions.
q Make the starter activity “concrete”, for example, matching vocabulary or grouping similar words. Whiteboards are useful, as they provide a link between talk and writing, allowing pupils to try out their ideas without errors being permanent.
q Differentiate questioning to ensure that all are engaged and appropriately challenged or supported.
During main teaching activities
q Relate new learning to pupils’ prior knowledge. For example, teachers focusing on the pre-20th-century text A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, used the cover illustration to explore ideas about ghosts and spirits in different cultures.
q Introduce text using visual materials, photos, video clips – this is especially useful when teaching poetry.
q Build in opportunities for pupils to have modelled and rehearse oral language before expecting a response to the whole class.
q Build in “thinking time”: it allows pupils learning EAL to reflect on the question before answering (remember they will understand more than they can quickly express).
q Provide a copy of the text or extract with key words and features already highlighted in colour for pupils.
q Group pupils thoughtfully and with different pupils for different purposes, such as providing a good peer model of language use.
q Make clear to the group what individual contributions are expected – allocate roles carefully. This is especially important in group discussion or in group reading, where a teacher may not be supporting.
q Provide matching, grid or DARTs type activities with some completed parts as a model. Make sure that the task requires some collaborative investigation and is not too easy.
q In group writing, provide appropriate support, writing frames, talk frames, word lists etc. These are particularly helpful when pupils are developing an extended piece of non-fiction writing, where the language may be even less familiar than in narrative forms.
q Avoid worksheet tasks that limit talk or investigation and inadvertently result in independent work.
q Ensure pupils have a role and opportunity to contribute to feedback.
q Make explicit how presentations to the rest of class are delivered – for example, standing up, facing the class and speaking so that others can hear.
q Use talk prompts and frames.
q Use “sentence starters” to encourage pupils to summarise what they have learned and record it.
q Use opportunities to revise and consolidate new and/or key vocabulary.
13 February 2012
Literacy across Learning
There is a lot available in the world of English Language Teaching for content teachers looking for materials which support the language of their subject.
Keith Kelly a practitioner of CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) produces a regular cross curricular language audit offering a summary of key phrases and structures from language function areas in Secondary Science and Geography. This is added to as resources are published, so far free, so get them while you can! Functions covered so far include:
Cause and Effect
Originally designed for pupils in other countries learning Science and Geography through the medium of English, this resource could be useful for bilingual and monolingual students.
31 January 2012
The Sounds of English
The link below takes you a wiki produced by the Edinburgh EAL service. It goes through
the alphabet with audio support and visuals. There is advice for parents on how to
practise with children at home in a number of languages.
23 January 2012
Speech and Language Therapists and bilingual pupils
NALDIC has posted the first part of a video taken from Dr Sean Pert's
excellently received presentation at our recent conference. This is
the introductory section where Sean sets out the role of the speech
and language therapy service in working in bilingual contexts. More to
This is a useful presentation for all teachers as it gives an introduction to key issues.
9 January 2012
COMPREHENDING LITERACY PITFALLS
Happy New Year!
Reading Comprehension is one of the main difficulties faced by EAL pupils even those
with several years of experience of working in English.
Limited understanding of written English affects progress in many mainstream
subjects and ultimately makes it almost impossible for EAL pupils to pass
Int 2 and Higher English.
This article from TESS 11 November 2011 provides some useful insights into
the problem and how to help.
19 Dec. 2011
SEASONS’ GREETINGS FROM THE EAL SERVICE
East Lothian has over 200 bilingual pupils speaking 38 languages.
Click to hear how many send Christmas and New Year wishes
EALspecialists are available for:
· Consultation and liaison
· Assessment and direct teaching
· Advice on settling in, resources, dictionaries,
· SQA ESOL preparation
· Staff training and capacity building
Have a look at the website http://edubuzz.org.eal
E- mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all staff and pupils.
Looking for some topical inspiration?
Worksheets and lesson plans are designed by teachers of English to speakers of other languages but are suitable for the whole class.
Festive Phrases Advent Calendar
Each day of December, right up until 24th, Radio Lingua will be publishing a short video which teaches a festive greeting in a different language. The video will provide some information about the language, incuding where it's spoken and how many speakers there are. Over the 24 episodes, learners will add up the total number of people in the world to whom they can say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy New Year". All videos are free and can be played both online or downloaded to your own computer or mobile device.
1 December 2011
Welcome to the new look website – same url, but a very different site! www.naldic.org.uk
NALDIC (The National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum) have just launched their new look website!They have developed this new platform to give users of the site more of the content, features and information they expect from the national subject association for EAL.
For new site users, please register with the site to receive our newsletters full of the latest EAL features and articles as well as news of upcoming EAL events and publications. You can browse latest content as well as purchase e-and print publications in one easy click. You can also join and pay online.
For existing members, please make sure you sign in to the site as a member. This will enable you to see content that is only for members, download publications and articles and benefit from a 20% discount on publications purchases that you make.
Logging in is simple using your email address and password. If you experience any problems at log in, please check that your membership is up to date - if not you can renew and pay online.
The site also has a ‘Donate’ button so you can support their work financially! NALDIC work hard to keep costs down, but even with only a part-time admin person and everything else done entirely by volunteers, they still have large costs to cover, e.g. in order to print and mail out publications, produce podcasts and run the annual conference.
NALDIC hopes you enjoy the new site and looks forward to your feedback
12 November 2011
I have just received the draft of a school policy for EAL procedures and strategies. It is important for schools to either have their own policy specifically for EAL or to include as part of ASN policies.
10 October 2011
EDUCATION CITY - LEARN ENGLISH
Education City has a developing product on the market called 'Learn English'. It is live now with new content being added on a regular basis. It is aimed at KS2 EAL learners - those New to English and early beginners.http://www.educationcity.com/uk/teachers/learn-english
An EAL educational consultant has been advising on EAL pedagogy...so attention has been given to issues regarding mapping the content to the curriculum, identifying the subject-specific language elements and recommending best practice use of the product.There will also be specially produced curriculum content for the Level B activities (not yet live).
For those not already using Education City it may be possible to have a free trial.
Bright bilingual migrant children 'placed in low ability classes'
Bright children from migrant backgrounds are routinely placed in classes for low ability pupils because bilingualism is still wrongly associated with special educational needs, a new study suggests.
Although a substantial minority of schools now have an enlightened approach to bilingualism,
too many are still failing to recognise the potential of children new to English, says Dr Dina Mehmedbegović, of the Institute of Education,University of London.
"The entire school workforce needs to be better trained in order not to fail the growing multilingual school
population", she will tell the European Conference on Educational Research in Berlin today. "It is not just vital from a teaching
perspective. It is a social justice imperative."
Dr Mehmedbegović says that trainee secondary teachers who took part in a pilot English as an
Additional Language (EAL) programme at the Institute of Education earlier this year found that every one of the bilingual learners they were shadowing had been placed in low ability sets even though they outperformed pupils in higher sets.
There is evidence that too many primary schools adopt similar practices. Research that she and her IOE colleagues conducted for England's Training and Development Agency for Schools suggests that even young bilingual children sometimes feel they
are given academically inappropriate work in schools which group children by ability.
One interviewee quoted a Punjabi-speaking Year 4 girl in a rural school who said: 'I don't know why I am here. I did
this Maths two years ago'.
The Training and Development Agency has said it would like every member of the teaching force to be better
equipped to address the needs – and talents – of EAL learners. But it is unlikely that this goal will be achieved soon, Dr Mehmedbegović says. The Coalition Government says that EAL teaching should remain a mpriority for schools but funding for the Training and Development Agency's work in this area has ended.
Meanwhile, existing training courses for headteachers and classroom teachers continue to seriously
underplay the importance of EAL teaching, which still has relatively low status in many schools. Newly qualified teachers often receive only one lecture on EAL during their training course and previous research has indicated that 70 per cent of them do not feel equipped to engage with bilingual learners.
Local authorities have lost specialist EAL advisers following government cuts, Dr Mehmedbegović adds. Schools also
complain that they lack the resources to deal with the number of bilingual learners on their roll. Government figures suggest that
English is not the first language of at least 15 per cent of primary pupils in England and 11 per cent of secondary pupils. More than half the children in inner London schools are now thought to be EAL pupils.
One educational expert interviewed for the Training and Development Agency study told the IOE researchers: "There is just not enough funding to meet the needs. We all hear about the £20 million that is dished out by central government under the Standards Fund but then you go into a school in a deprived borough in London with three quarters of its pupils being bilingual, including a good proportion of new to English youngsters, and you will see a grant in the order of £30,000."
Although the majority of EAL pupils are in urban schools the number of migrant pupils moving to schools in rural areas is increasing too. In some cases where there is no history of EAL teaching, new bilingual pupils are automatically placed on the special educational needs register. The IOE research also suggests that in some parts of England these children have been receiving as little as two hours' specialist teaching a week and have been working mainly with teaching assistants.
"Perhaps this is unsurprising as the focus on bilingualism in schools has traditionally been about remedying deficiency," Dr Mehmedbegović says. " Descriptions such as 'children with no language', 'severe EAL' and 'children with bilingual problems' are not uncommon, even today. I recognise that many teachers work with the best intentions for their pupils but this kind of terminology hardly helps to create a context in which children can succeed.
"As a result, many bilingual secondary children identify themselves as monolingual. Their experience is that their home languages are of little value in the education system."
The conference paper that Dr Mehmedbegović is presenting is entitled: "Reflecting on the Provision for Equipping the School Workforce in England for a Multilingual School Population: Research Conducted with Experts." The ECER conference is being held in the Freie Universität Berlin.
14 September 2011
10 Tech Tools for Teachers
Nik Peachy is extremely adept at using the latest technology to improve the
effectiveness of his teaching of English as a Second Language.
Here is an article which he has just written based on his experiences of training
teachers over the summer.
It outlines a number of digital tools and how he used them within the courses he
was teaching. His ultimate aim was to deliver a course without the use of paper.
He feels that these tools could easily be used in mainstream teacher training too.
With online teaching becoming the solution to reaching students located over a wide
geographical area at a time of decreased numbers of teachers this article is worth reading.
8 September 2011
A Painful Truth
This was sent by a friend. It is a German joke.
"If you speak three languages, you are trilingual. If you speak two languages, you are bilingual. If you speak one language, you are English."
25 August 2011
"EAL TOOLKIT" POWER POINT
This power point provides a graphic presentation of a huge number of strategies to use with EAL pupils. It is excellent for teachers with EAL pupils for the first time or as a refresher for others. You can find at this link
19 August 2011
Translated Notes for Home – School Communication
Sandy Thom an EAL teacher in Aberdeenshire has developed an interesting way of improving communication between schools and bilingual families. He has created electronic lists of typical teacher comments which can be sent home. The topics covered are
There is also a section to allow parents to acknowledge receipt of communication. The languages available are Polish, Lithuanian and Russian. There have been difficulties with Latvian, but we hope that this language will be available soon.
There is an English version. Most comments allow teachers to add the pupil’s name and other important information.
How to use these notes
School will develop their own ways of using this resource. The text can be copied and pasted and then glued into the jotter, included with homework or even handed to parents. It is not envisaged that all comments will be used and teachers can choose the most useful ones. One school has had rubber stamps made with the main comments so that they are easily accessed.
Perhaps parents will produce their own bilingual questions / comments.
The Comments documents can be downloaded from this website at I) Information for parents in Polish and other languages
(Translated phrases for home-school communication )
18 August 2011
For those in peril ......
During the summer we spent time kayaking in the Outer Hebrides. Before setting off we contacted the coast guard to tell them our route and ETA. I personally felt much more confident knowing that they could be contacted. Fortunately we did not require assistance and the coast guard were happy when we reported back on arrival, as requested.
During the hours of paddling I began to see similarities with the EAL Outreach Teaching Service. We always like to be alerted of new arrivals, but are only requested to become involved if pupils begin to struggle. We offer training on how to be prepared and develop strategies to avoid difficulties.
Similarly there are arguments about the value of responsive support services in a time of financial difficulty, because their value is only clear when something goes wrong.
13 August 2011
which is run by Hilary McColl, a leading expert in language learning and inclusion in Scotland.
"Inclusion and equality teacher support - English as an Additional Language
This website, run by a practising teacher, provides a compendium of support, advice and information for teachers of pupils whose first language is not English. The policy context is Scotland but much of the advice will be relevant elsewhere."
Hilary's website is recommended for all language teachers and the EAL section has links to a wide variety of information, research and good practice.
14 July 2011
Pupils who remain silent for an extended period
This is one of the most frequent concerns amongst teachers who request advice from the EAL service. Once again there has been a conversation on this topic in the EAL Forum with a number of EAL specialists offering suggestions. For future reference I have put together all the ideas under the title Silent Period
4 July, 2011
Equality Act specific duties
The Government Equalities Office (GEO) published last week its final decisions about specific duties to support the general duty in the Equality Act 2010. It is anticipated that the Scottish Specific duties will be set towards the end of this year or early next year. This is a summary of the legislation for England and Wales but it gives a flavour of what may happen here.
The duties are relevant to all aspects of EAL work, though do not mention EAL explicitly.
The GEO’s earlier proposals remain unchanged, though there are alterations in the timescale. Local authorities have to publish information by 31 January 2012, and schools have to do this by 6 April. Both schools and local authorities have to publish objectives by 6 April.
The requirements may appear at first sight to be rather undemanding. However, there are clear signals that minimal compliance with them will not be acceptable. Taking them seriously will rightly involve schools and local authorities in quite a lot of work.
The legal documents published last week are rather formal in their register of language, as such documents always are. I have attempted to make them slightly more accessible in a paper entitled The changing legal framework at http://www.insted.co.uk/legal-frameworks.pdf.
If you wish to look at the official documents, the links are as follows:
In the Insted folder of papers (http://www.insted.co.uk/equalities.html), there’s also an updated briefing about equality impact assessments, an update on recording and reporting racist incidents, and a set of extracts relevant to equalities from the new Ofsted framework.
Robin Richardson - Insted consultancy for Equality and Diversity in Education
( from Forum for EAL teachers)
30 June 2011
Schools with small numbers of EAL pupils
Although figures are on the increase, particularly in Early Years, schools in East Lothian still have relatively small numbers of EAL pupils. This can make it more difficult to meet their needs. Even though they are integrated socially, schools need to include them in planning to support their academic and linguistic development. For suggestions on how to do this go to the link below:
B) Advice for all teachers and managers ( EXAMPLES FROM OTHER AREAS)
23 June 2011
SCHOLAR the e-learning programme run by Heriot Watt University will launch materials for ESOL Higher in September. In view of cuts to Outreach staff this is a timely development.
Here are notes on this year's conference where innovatives ways of delivering minority Highers were among topics discussed. Use the link to read the notes.
21 June 2011
Developing a strategy for EAL
This report from Northern Ireland mirrors the situation in East Lothian. I hope that Senior Managers will look at the findings.
16 June 2011
Strategies for supporting learners - Ten top tips
Cambridge Education EMAS ( Ethnic Minority Achievement Service) has a new website. Click on the link for a quick reminder of key strategies
10 June 2011
Documentary about the life of young people in Bosnia.
There are a number of young Bosnian people in East Lothian schools . They remain in close contact with their culture and country of origin. This may shed some light on their other reality.
Ethnic Apartheid is a way of life for many in Bosnia. A group of school friends break the rules by hanging out together. How will this affect their futures
Edvin, Nives and friends are an unconventional group, being a mixture of Bosniaks (Muslims) and Croats (Catholics). They live in the deeply divided town of
Stolac, which has endured nationalistic political rule since ‘90s war.
Some of them can only get together at weekends, as their school keeps the two ethnicities apart: Croats attend in the morning, Bosniaks in the afternoon. Separate sets of staff teach them their own languages and their own versions of history.
With few job opportunities locally, many pupils want to leave for a better life abroad, but Edvin plans to instigate change here by entering the world of local politics.
“Every night Stolac could be busy with 150 young people in the town, drinking coffee and socialising," says Edvin. “But this does not happen because of the division. Instead everyone is at home on Facebook, there is no division there.”...
This feature-length observational documentary will follow these and other characters over 12 months, to provide a picture of young love, ambition versus apathy, and the fine balance between religion, politics and identity in a country that is struggling to prepare itself for the future.
3 June 2011
Seminar at Moray House – 31 May 2011
CONTENT AND LANGUAGE INTEGRATED CURRICULUM FOR LINGUISTICALLY DIVERSE SCHOOLS
PROF. CONSTANT LEUNG – Senior Lecturer in Language in Education. Director, MA English Language Teaching & Applied Linguistics , King’s College London.
Access to learning in school is not likely to be equitable if pupils’ first language is not the school language. In the UK pupils from an English as an Additional Language (EAL) background are expected to manage the learning of subject content (e.g. science or history) and the English language at the same time. The achievement of these pupils can be enhanced by a well-adapted curriculum. In this talk I will discuss some of the principled approaches to integrating the teaching of subject content and English. Issues of collaboration between subject specialists and EAL teachers will be highlighted.
For complete notes on the seminar with key points relevant to East Lothian click on the link below:
B) Advice for all teachers and managers
1 June 2011
The Benefits of Bilingualism