Strategies to support students with language learning needs.
There are three types of children at our school with Additional Language Needs:
- New arrivals with no English
- Arrivals with various levels of English. These will need to be able to catch up with their peers and once there will have the ability to communicate in both languages particularly if the first language is used as a bridge to the second particularly in relation to academic language.
- Students for whom English is their first language but have difficulty in language acquisition.
Here are some suggestions to help.
- Use a language mentor someone who has a good model of language themselves. If EAL learners they can also be encouraged if of a similar language to keep their 1st language alive.
- When planning think about the words that the learner will need to engage in the lessons, actively pre-teach these words.
- Remember that each word needs to be taught and applied more than once usually around 5 times before it becomes known. Increase usage of these words until they become embedded.
- Never teach a word by itself, if taught in context and with visual or aural aids these will help remembrance and contextual use.
- Academic words used frequently in Exams need to be actively taught. EMASUK has a GCSE book that:
- Contextualises the words
- Gives examples of the words in exam settings
- Gives real exam sentences to practice
- Use prior knowledge and learning when introducing new ideas. One way to do this is via mind mapping or by video capturing a conversation where the children answer questions that draw out their knowledge. (NB the teacher needs to give the questions as a starting point). Specifically for EAL children you can use Two can Talk where the mentor or buddy can ask questions in English, have it translated into their peers language. The peer then answers via the keyboard in their first language and it speaks aloud in English. This can be captured via the PDF icon so that as a teacher you have a record of their discussion.
- Learn how to say the learners name properly.
- If you cannot understand them then ask them to repeat it, if necessarily ask in a different way.
- Make sentences short and clear. Sentences with too many parts of it will confuse, some students will not know which part to complete.
- Allow the student time to answer and don’t show impatience of yourself.
- Repeat/ Recast the answer so that the children can hear the correct pronunciation or sentence structure.
- Use a variety of activities to engage the learner including visual and hands on activities to support the oral instruction.
- Use scaffolding to develop their language further.
- Change plenaries to a variety of feedback sessions not just Question and Answer sessions and recast where necessary.
- Allow extra time if necessary