ELT


ELT

Six ways to build a supportive, language-rich EAL community

28 August 2017 (TES)

Supporting EAL students is personal to this assistant headteacher. Here she gives her six tips to ensure these students – and their families – get the right assistance.

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Why schools need to speak the same language on EAL support

21 July 2017 (TESS)

Across the globe, being bilingual is the norm. It is estimated that more than half of the world’s population can speak at least two languages. Yet in the UK, primarily as a result of the dominance of English in the world, a child that converses in more than one tongue is still viewed as being “different”, particularly within education.

This is despite the number of bilingual pupils in our schools increasing. Over 1 in 5 (1.25 million) of our pupils are recorded as having English as an additional language (EAL), according to 2016 government figures.

Have schools adapted to this? Not enough, in my view. For example, EAL pupils tend to be seen as a homogenous group, a remnant of that view of bilingualism as being a deviation from the norm, not the standard. But they are nothing of the sort.

The definition of EAL used by the Department for Education is if a child is exposed to a language at home that is known or believed to be one other than English (1). This definition covers pupils who may have recently arrived in the country, as well as families that have been here for many generations.

Each EAL pupil will also vary in their level of proficiency in their mother tongue, as well as in English, across the four language skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing.

Quite simply, teachers are not being prepared well enough to support EAL students’ range of needs. Many newly qualified teachers, in particular, cite low levels of preparedness for meeting the needs of this group (2).

Sure, there are success stories. The attainment of EAL pupils is often cited as a key narrative in attainment improvements in England. This is certainly worthy of praise, with schools and communities deserving recognition for their hard work in this area. However, attainment of EAL pupils is extremely variable across regions and cities outside of London and its surrounding areas.

In addition, recent research (3) has shown that attainment varies considerably by the language spoken by pupils, with Japanese speakers being the highest-performing and Czech speakers the lowest.

So what can schools do to effectively support their EAL pupils and ensure they attain high standards?

Read the full article in TESS online, 21 July 2017 (subscription required).

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Related Links

TES talks to...Madeleine Arnot (TES, 28 July 2017) - Migrant children are lumped together in the ‘English as additional language’ category, with no systemic understanding of their unique cultural and social needs. It’s about time we had a joined-up education strategy, the academic tells Simon Creasey.

Pupils with poor English get lost in translation

28 April 2017 (TES)

Thousands of children in Scotland who have English as an additional language are missing out on the funding and support they need, warns one charity chief.

Recent figures speak of more than 1 million English as an additional language (EAL) pupils in mainstream UK education today. For Scotland alone, the 2016 Census mentions 39,000. These figures are so considerable that it’s hard to understand why education authorities in Scotland, England and Wales do not acknowledge the presence of children and young people who require English language support.

There is no government ring-fenced budget for EAL; neither are there clear recommendations for using available funds. In fact, there is much confusion surrounding EAL. This has to be addressed before more pupils leave school feeling that they have underachieved due to language issues.

Problems start the moment schools have to identify who is and isn’t EAL. Since September 2016, the Department for Education has expected all schools in England and Wales to assess the language development of all children identified as EAL. This was a great step forward – only the DfE has not yet provided a clear, uniform EAL assessment framework that schools can use.

An experienced language teacher can assess a child’s level of English after conducting an oral interview and doing some writing exercises, but not every school has such a teacher. A positive development is that the Cambridge-based Bell Foundation has commissioned a research and development team at King’s College, London to prepare an EAL assessment toolkit, which recently became available on its website. It will take some time and effort to learn how to use the kit, but it’s a very comprehensive assessment.

For Scotland, the situation is quite different. The government does not ask for a level assessment for EAL; in fact, EAL departments confirm that schools do not have to identify EAL pupils. Instead, it is left to the parents to say if their child speaks English as an additional language.

Each parent of a schoolchild in Scotland is given a form to complete, which asks the ethnic group of the child and which language is his or her mother tongue.

This can lead to confusion, as parents will state that the child’s first language is, for example, Polish if the child uses this language at home and spoke it first as a baby; however, this child may also be fully proficient in English and not require any support at all.

On the other hand, a parent may state that their child’s first language is English, implying that the child is fluent – but that parent may be misjudging the child’s competency.

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Launch of ELTon Awards Nominations 2017

6 September 2016 (British Council)

The British Council is calling for worldwide nominations for its 2017 ELTons award scheme which recognises innovation in English language teaching.

The annual awards are into their fifteenth year and celebrate innovation and excellence in different aspects of English language teaching (ELT) around the world.

Any ELT professional can apply for consideration for one of the categories including authors, teachers, trainers and publishers.

The deadline for submissions is 4 November 2016 and a shortlist will be drawn up by March 2017.

Visit the British Council website for more information and to download an application pack.

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Support for EAL and bilingualism

2 September 2016 (SCILT)

SCILT has developed a new section on its website in recognition of the growing diversity within Scottish schools. The new EAL & Bilingualism section celebrates all languages spoken in Scotland, promotes bilingualism, and supports parents and practitioners in facilitating a multilingual ethos. It also signposts a wealth of resources and advice for learners with English as an Additional Language (EAL).

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How to…support new EAL learners

17 June 2016 (TESS)

Teachers are dealing with increasing numbers of new arrivals to the UK, so here's a guide to ensure every learner with English as an additional language can succeed.

Read the full article in TESS online, 17 June 2016, page 32-33 (subscription required).

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Job opportunity for Scottish teachers in China

18 February 2016 (CISS)

The school principal of the newly built Suzhou Experimental School which is affiliated to Nanjing Normal University has asked for our assistance in recruiting at least one Foreign Teacher of English. The school sees it as crucial to the quality of their English Language teaching effort to employ a native English speaker as part of their team and is very keen to recruit a suitable person from any sector who has had experience of the Scottish education system.

In addition to a full competitive salary calibrated to be commensurate with expectations in Scotland, they would provide: on-site accommodation of a very high standard; all meals; and airfares to and from UK. The school would expect the successful candidate to commit to a two year contract; starting date open to negotiation.

Please note your interest with Natasha Bowman before 29 February 2016 ciss-info@strath.ac.uk

Welcoming Our Learners: Scotland’s ESOL Strategy 2015 – 2020

24 April 2015 (Education Scotland)

The strategy provides an updated and informed context for the provision of publicly funded ESOL in Scotland. It places ESOL in the broad context of learning in Scotland and sets out the strategic direction for ESOL for the next five years.

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Language issues in migration and integration: perspectives from teachers and learners

22 July 2014 (British Council)

This new book from ESOL Nexus is about the role of language in the integration of migrants. The writers of the chapters are all engaged in the education of migrants as teachers, researchers or policymakers in a wide variety of contexts and they provide us with a rich and thought-provoking array of perspectives from teachers and learners on language issues in migration and integration. Through them we hear directly from learners, migrants who have arrived in a new country and are now striving to master the host language. We learn much from them about the place of language and language learning in their new lives.

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How schools cope with teaching children who speak 14 different languages

31 January 2014 (Telegraph)

How the schools where nine in ten pupils do not speak English as their first language help bring their pupils up to speed.

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