Blog Archive

Sunday 3 February 2019

EAL Strategies in English

Effective teaching for English as Additional Language students has often focused on making the verbal curriculum more visual, alongside more interactive and collaborative tasks, and with an understanding of the language demands of your own subject. This is particularly important for EAL learners because they provide a classroom experience that has a rich context, additional support, opportunities for collaborative learning and exploratory talk.

Ryan Smith writes:

For the students who are almost completely new to English, my strategy is to design a scaffolded worksheet that is as systematic as possible and divided into sections so it becomes step by step. I'll usually combine a similar variety of activities in similar orders, e.g. finding words in a word search, translating single words from English into their native language, then using the word in a sentence in their native language, then translating that word into English. 

An alternative approach includes the same first two steps as above, but turning the words into a picture (if the task / words are perhaps more descriptive in focus). The examples included in this post might help to exemplify it better. The more proficient they become, the more I can try to link what they're doing specifically with what's going on in class.

At the moment, I try to make them as reusable as possible. I think it's useful for the students to get used to a format, but also it's really useful for me so the workload doesn't become completely unmanageable. Most of the worksheets I have for the students whose English is still new can be adapted just by changing the table of words, word search or description.

Student response has been positive; they seem happy that there's something specific to get on with and seem to appreciate the effort. The students I've used it with (Rafaela in Y7, Beatrice & Selin in Y9) always ask for them if I forget to give them out and always work from them, sticking them in afterwards. I have recieved praise and thanks for these students for providing a strategy that allows them to regularly progress, succeed and feel they can access the work.

For further EAL strategies check out the free toolkit linked below, available from the TES website:

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