SOLD OUT

Thank you to everyone who has bought the paperback version of A Practical Guide to Supporting EAL and SEN Learners.

Sadly we are sold out ………. However there are lots of digital versions available for £15.00.

Just pay via paypal and it will be sent by return.

 

 

Advertisements

EAL or SEN? You decide

At last Rona and I have completed our handy practical guide to help and support you as teachers through the … are they just EAL or SEN or both? minefield.

Bang up to date with the curriculum and SEN changes for the 2014/15 academic year which sees the age range higher and the introduction of a new acronym SEMH which we will all have to be familiar with not just the SENCO or EAL TA.

 

 

A practical guide to supporting EAL and SEN learners

A practical guide to supporting EAL and SEN learners

Structured around current legislation it gives practical support to support you in your decision making as to whether they are naughty children just trying it on or have a need that is currently not supported.

Great for new teachers or experienced alike.

Contents page EAL SEN

Contents page EAL SEN

 

For a full copy of the SEND code go to –

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/342440/SEND_Code_of_Practice_approved_by_Parliament_29.07.14.pdf

For a copy of the e book priced at £15.00 (not including p and p) contact lsbooksinfo@gmail.com. Printed copies available soon.

back cover

 

Is the new OFSTED criteria and lesson observations creating even more mental health problems in schools?

The news story below hit a chord with me not only on a personal teacher level, but also as a consultant having worked in schools where not only one person lesson was judged inadequate, but the whole school. When schools are judged to be inadequate this same reaction holds true for the teacher in questions, the teachers as a whole, the auxiliary staff, the parents and the community.

The demotivating effect was instantaneous. I was so upset that I couldn’t go back into the classroom that afternoon. Instead, I went home and proceeded to do absolutely zero planning for the next day. For the rest of the week, my teaching was somewhat lacklustre because I was so wrung out by the distress of the observation. I felt ashamed of myself and unworthy of the responsibility of teaching a class of children. I started to feel overwhelmed by the possibility that I might be letting my students down. By the weekend, I was experiencing symptoms of anxiety.

http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2014/feb/15/secret-teacher-outstanding-inadequate-lesson-observations?CMP=new_54

This teacher was lucky as was I when a very similar incident happened to me. Thankfully a headteacher who knows the staff and school can make much better judgements.

At the time of my incident not only was I marked down by the lesson observer but was told to take a leaf out of one of my colleagues books. I was in disbelief, did he really mean the same colleague who before this planned pre-OFSTED observation had not planned but got myself and the head of department to do it for him, had the worst results of all of us and had the least respect of the students?

As you can imagine I did the same withdrew and wondered what to do, after a four page A4 handwritten letter to the headteacher and a subsequent interview I began to feel better, but all the time could not believe the system had let me and the school down so badly.

I keep reminding myself that, at the end of the day, I’m only in my second year of teaching. I will make mistakes in the classroom, miss things I should have picked up on and pitch the odd activity wrongly. But as long as my students are learning what they need to (and they are), my classroom is safe (and it is), and I am providing appropriate interventions for those children whose progress is less than ideal (which I am), then I know that I am doing my job – and doing it very well. Secret Teacher, Guardian

In my case I kept going for the students as for me that was why I was there, I believed in them and though sometimes I did things that were different (being the first female in the school teaching DT Resistant materials I had to sometimes), it was always about getting the best from my youngsters.

At the end of the year I was vindicated as my classes results were the best in the LA. To this day I have had no apology like the data protection act – everyone stood behind – it was what he saw in that 30 minute lesson! My classes results were also a shock in the wider area as we had many selective schools within our group, this gave me back my confidence.

Hence when this happened again a second time,  as before I had been observed by an external assessor as excellent then the next lesson observation made (by a consultant)  was equally as negative as the first about all aspects of the lesson, I could have been left thinking I was useless. What was equally interesting was the same lesson was observed weeks later by another teacher who didn’t change anything and they received a 1.  I realised the one thing that both the teachers who did really well had, that I didn’t, (and still don’t) is the gift of the gab. It was therefore at this point that I decided it was not worth worrying about as I knew my classes results were always the best, or in the top and that was my job.

Later on my confidence and experiences meant that I looked past lesson observation and looked for other things like genuine planning, understanding of curriculum areas, the rapport of the children and the work achieved to date, as well as observing over a period of time what is really happening in classrooms. In my consultants role to schools in Special Measures, serious weaknesses or needing improvement, I was always sad when the LA did not support the head, but used them as a scapegoat by sacking them. In my view this created even more confusion for everyone involved, it lowered the self-esteem of the whole building and anyone associated with it. It was like a fog over the whole area of the town.

Maybe this story will make people realise that one just one observation  can crush the very people we want to inspire and be role models to our learners, our parents and our communities. Using just one lesson observation as a yardstick for everything else is very dangerous. Having targets and expectations are great, but remember when writing or delivering any policy at the end of it there is a child or teacher doing their utmost.

As I go around schools now delivering EAL support I am very concerned that the new guidelines by OFSTED  (September  update) means that most schools will naturally fall by one grade due to the criteria. Where will it leave them?

These schools are doing the same as they always did, but suddenly they will find as it unravels that they are not at the top or are very close to needing some intervention. The only reason being because the criteria has changed, surely this isn’t a good enough reason to put more lives at risk of feeling inadequate, and all those mental health problem that then start feed into this system i.e. people with stress related illnesses, children self harming etc.

Only last week I was out with a group of people (supporting the national issue Time to change, Time to Talk). I began talking to one person who was at the time on their way to an appointment to their child’s school, they had been told their child will be excluded because they do not do failure. I was really surprised and ask for more detail but was then  horrified that  the school knew the child was self harming but their 99% pass rate was more important than the child just in case they had an OFSTED visit. Surely this is all the wrong way around, we have a duty to our children so lets start doing it.

What do you think?

Benefits of Bilingualism

Brilliant post that explains some of the benefits of bilingualism. They include;

1. A conscious approach can help you clean up your writing and your speech and help you communicate more clearly.

2. Bilingual individuals can pick out a speaker’s voice easier

3. Develop creativity because learning a second language improved speakers’ planning, cognitive flexibility, and working memory, three pillars on which creativity is built.

4. Patients who spoke more than one language had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s four years after their monolingual counterparts.

and finally

5. Make smarter decisions as people thinking in a foreign language were more likely to consider a question more slowly and analytically than in their native language 

Really interesting thanks to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dan-roitman/why-it-makes-more-sense-t_b_3435076.html for this story.

Recent research suggests that learning a new language, at any age, not only will enhance your next vacation or better prepare you for an upcoming business trip, it can also make you a better listener, boost your creativity, spur brain growth, and for some people, even delay Alzheimer’s.

Each of these benefits stems from the various ways that language learning improves your brain’s ability to focus. Learning a language physically changes your mind, ultimately making you a stronger, more creative thinker. Here are five reasons why you should start learning a foreign language right now:

1. To improve your communication skills. The key here is consciousness. While most of us rarely think about the grammatical structures of our native tongue, learning a second language brings them into stark relief. When attempting to write or speak in a second language, you suddenly have to focus more on the order of words, your verb tenses, and parts of speech. And in recognizing how sentences are constructed in a second language, you can become more aware of how they’re arranged in your first language. That more conscious approach can help you clean up your writing and your speech and help you communicate more clearly.

2. To become a better listener. A study at Northwestern University showed that bilingual individuals could better pick out a speaker’s voice amidst distracting noises. This superior “attention, inhibition, and encoding of sound,” as the researchers put it, can help you better focus on what a client, boss, or employee is saying. The ability to listen closely is a valuable skill that can translate into a real dollar value. Look at IKEA, which attributes its record 2012 revenues and growing appeal in part to its ability to listen to customers and then respond accordingly.

3. To boost your creativity. Every time you speak a second language is an exercise in creativity. While words in your native language might string themselves together naturally, requiring little effort on your part, constructing sentences and meaning in a second language often requires more conscious thought. A study published last year found that learning a foreign language enhanced people’s fluency, elaboration, originality, and flexibility, the four scales measured by the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking. Researchers concluded that learning a second language improved speakers’ planning, cognitive flexibility, and working memory, three pillars on which creativity is built.

4. To sharpen your mind. Learning a second language can beef up your brain’s executive control center — the hub that helps manage your cognitive processes. A second language offers a strong exercise regimen for the executive control center, ultimately making it more efficient. Bilingualism can keep this center strong even as you age. In a study of 24 million dementia patients worldwide, many of whom also had Alzheimer’s, researchers found that the patients who spoke more than one language had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s four years after their monolingual counterparts.

5. To make smarter decisions. A study completed last year showed that people thinking in a foreign language were more likely to consider a question more slowly and analytically than in their native language. It seems that thinking in your native tongue is often associated with breezy, emotional decision-making that reveals natural biases. But when considering the same problem in a non-native tongue, subjects in the study demonstrated “enhanced deliberation” based more on cold hard logic. So the next time you have to make a big decision, you might get a better outcome if you consider it in a language other than your own.

As a language learner, you’ll not only become a more conscious thinker and listener who can communicate clearly and think creatively, but you’ll also gain the most significant benefit of multilingualism: a broader, more global perspective. Each of the five benefits outlined above show that learning another language really does reshape the way we think, helping us better empathize and communicate with customers, partners, and employees by adopting, through language, a new way to see the world.

138,000 speak no English – census UK

Following on from the last blog it seems that the question of movement and more children arriving in classrooms with another language and little or no English is going to be an upward trend.  Todays census information has ben revealed and suggests:

The number of Polish-born people living in England and Wales has risen by almost 900% since the last census and they now make up 1% of the population – more than Irish-born residents.

Pete Stokes, census statistical design manager for the Office of National Statistics. says most of the Polish migrants tend to be younger, and more prepared to move for work.

“Polish migrants are driven by economics and they are going everywhere. People from Poland are in every local authority in the country, they are not clustering,” he said.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20713380

Furthermore the statistics show that:

The number of people living in England and Wales who could not speak any English was 138,000, latest figures from the 2011 census show.

After English, the second most reported main language was Polish, with 546,000 speakers, followed by Punjabi and Urdu.

Some 4 million – or 8% – reported speaking a different main language other than English or Welsh.

Of those with a main language other than English,

1.7 million could speak  English very well,

1.6 million could speak English well, and

726,000 could speak English, however not well. The remaining 138,000 could not speak English at all.

On the plus side there are lots of people and probably teachers arriving with Polish as their first language so maybe we should look at a curriculum which promotes Polish as an MFL and not French? On the negative side schools need to look at how they communicate with parents, children and community to engage them in schooling otherwise our stats as a world leader in education will keep going down and then how they ensure the curriculum is taught and academic language achieved in order that they can partake of formal examinations and receive a grade/number relevant to their true potential.  A hard one but something we must look at, at National and local level to make sure we are not failing our children.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21259401

Finally when I first started teaching I remember people would say there were geographic areas which attracted new arrivals from overseas again this is borne out by the census as is my recent blogs that more and more schools are now witnessing challenging learning requirements to make sure all the pupils reach their potential.

The greatest numerical change has however been in London. In 2001, almost two million people in the capital were born abroad. Today it is almost three million. If anyone doubted that London was now a world city, rather than just the capital of the UK, the figures say different.

Only 44% of people in London now describe themselves as white British. In the east London borough of Newham, fewer than a fifth of the population described themselves so.

Four out of every 10 people in London in 2011 were foreign-born – up from three in 10 in 2001.

Overall, four London boroughs – Newham, Brent, Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea are now home to a majority who were born outside of the UK. Three other parts of the capital are not far off.

LEAST BORN ABROAD

  • Blaenau Gwent 1,500 (2.2%)
  • Redcar and Cleveland 3,000 (2.2%)
  • Staffordshire Moorlands 2,200 (2.2%)
  • Knowsley 3,400 2.3%
  • Caerphilly 3,400 2.3%

MOST BORN ABROAD

  • Brent 171,000 (55%)
  • Newham 165,000 (54%)
  • Westminster 117,000 (53%)
  • Kensington and Chelsea 82,000 (52%)

The history of migration was once the story of cities: We had very distinct communities in specific places – an African-Caribbean community in London or Birmingham, for instance, and Indian or East African Asian people in Leicester.

Large historic communities remain – but there is also greater geographic spread among newcomers. For instance, some 90% of the Poles in the UK are spread across England and Wales in community after community.

So overall, increasing change, rapid change and increasing diversity.

Today, almost 10,000 people born abroad call Boston home – 3,000 of them from Poland, more than any other local authority outside of the South East.

We will need to create teaching resources using all the ICT and non-ICT resources we have available to make sure that these children grow up as world or global citizens, available for work in more than one country, yet achieving at the best level they can regardless of language/s.  It is our duty to make sure through our unwillingness to change or change our practice that we hold these new world citizens back

I have a constant change of new arrivals with limited or no English.

Last week I was asked this proverbial question.  It comes up time and again and is increasing as children and society becomes more mobile schools who have had few or non EAL learners are now experiencing a different type of school day.

I left the question for open discussion during the training so that everyone could support the question. 

What came out was a lot of common sense and also positive affirmation that they are not alone. Many schools now find this a termly discussion and those with children from the travelling children experience it more.

Advice ranged from remembering that:

  1. We are teachers and every child that comes into our classroom has the right to an education (not always easy, but we must do our best to achieve this even with limited resources)
  2. You need to assess what they know and move from there otherwise they could present behavioural challenges
  3. When meeting the parent/ ask where they last went to school – if in the same country you maybe able to get some previous records even if limited it will support you a little more in finding resources that match the child’s ability to move them forward.
  4. When talking to parents create an atmosphere that says I am caring and am not prying re. e.g. previous records but I want to help your child. Some do respond.
  5. Invite the parents in, some teachers report creating ICT workshops for parents to meet together and allowed them to email relatives in their previous country or county. One teacher loved sewing so encouraged a sewing and natter group it really improved the parents perception of the school, the teacher has proper time to do some sewing that she could use with the children, the parents English improved and little molehills of problems were discussed and so mountains were reported less and less as the group gelled. It was agreed that if you choose to set up a club starting with something you are interested in then it will work.
  6. Where groups are running well and the people are secure you may pick up titbits that actually when shared help in the school or in your classroom.

If you have any further ideas please feel free to share them with us.

 

 

Supporting language acquisition through Literacy

These are a few ideas for teaching learners who are learning English and have to read for meaning.

Before reading a book give the children the words needed to understand the important parts of the text. Where appropriate allow the child to revert back to prior language via internet machine translators to access their prior learning.  Give them the time needed to answer allowing them to process in their mind.

Their process could include reading it in English, reverting back to previous language understanding what is meant in prior language and then finding the words to explain this in their first language and then back into English.  All this can take time so try not to get too impatient as they practice. Think about when you try to translate in a language you know, what process do you go through?

By allowing this to happen it develops the pupils minds and they have a clear understanding of what the written word is conveying.  In turn this allows the child to develop a secure understanding of the text and characters.

When the child falters allow them to read a sentence and then encourage them to read it again this time more fluently to help them practice and develop their fluency. Keep a regular check on each child’s comprehension to ensure they are fully understanding the new words. Where possible put them into context so that when the child next sees the same letter formation they feel confident at reading it aloud.

Then ask each child in a the group to read part of the story.  Question them to ensure understanding and also check their fluency but importantly make it a secure environment where they can try out new sound sensations.

When questioning develop their sentence level via a game e.g. put their hand in a  bag and pull out a word related to the new text they are reading.

  1. Ask them to find a word e.g. beach
  2. Read out the word
  3. Then ask them to create a sentence e.g. I went to the beach
  4. and finally extend it by asking them what they did e.g. I went to the beach and swam in the water.
  5. Review and repeat the sentence to ensure concrete understanding.
  6. Above all make it enjoyable.

How does the bilingual brain store and process two languages? Is it the same or different from how it stores and processes one?

What a lovely start to the week a story that takes me back to my roots.  Weekly readers will know that my interest in bilingualism came when I left Wales due to employment and it was strange that everything was only in 1 langauge in England as well as there were no rugby posts in the fields. Added to the fact that my child was treated as monolingual despite coming directly from a Welsh Medium school and received no support yet if children came into her classroom from abroad there was more than ample provision.

So as you can imagine this story really caught my eye and is interesting as it explores bilingualism a little more to help us all understand the process better.

Recent studies conducted both internationally and here in Wales are showing  that having two languages can impact on the child’s language development,  general abilities, and health and wellbeing in ways that are unique to the  bilingual learner.

In terms of language abilities, some of our most recent research is looking  at the effects of language structure on children’s literacy and self-esteem,  with special focus on those who are learning Welsh and English.

Other studies have looked at young German-Welsh bilinguals’ emergent  grammars, looking for examples of German influence in their Welsh, and Welsh  influence in their German.

Mapping Welsh-English bilinguals’ development of vocabulary, reading and  grammar in Welsh and in English has allowed for a better understanding of the  impact of learning a second language on children’s development of their first  language.

Our results show that learning through the medium of Irish or Welsh at school  has no detrimental effects on children’s development of English.

In fact, the act of switching between two languages and of inhibiting the use  of one language whilst using the other provides the bilingual brain with a  certain level of flexibility that the monolingual brain has to work for in other  ways.

This has led bilinguals to demonstrate superior abilities on general  cognitive tasks that require certain types of processing – an advantage that  translates well into the classroom.

Our studies here in Wales are beginning to show some interesting patterns  that contribute to these findings.

Whether this advantage is present across the life-span for all Welsh-English  bilinguals is yet to be discovered, but should it lead to the delayed onset of  dementia, as demonstrated previously for bilinguals in Canada, the  identification of how, when and where this advantage is present is all the more  worthwhile.

Enlli Thomas is a senior lecturer in Bangor University. Her research looks at  language development and bilingualism in school children in Wales. She can be  contacted at enlli.thomas@bangor.ac.uk

Read more: Wales Online http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/health-news/2012/11/26/speaking-up-for-the-many-benefits-of-being-bilingual-91466-32304491/#ixzz2DJupoGQX

Keep up the research Enlli the more we understand the easier it is to help our students fit into this multilingual world.

Sharing ideas for multicultural classrooms.

This week the Guardian Teacher Network has this from EAL teachers around the UK.

Teaching in multicultural classrooms: tips, challenges and opportunities

What does a range of nationalities in class bring to the teaching and learning experience? A collection of teachers give us a glimpse into their multicultural classrooms

Rachel Coombe, subject leader beliefs, philosophy and ethics (BPE), The Voyager Academy, Peterborough

Peterborough is a very interesting city with a population of second, third and even fourth settled generations of Italian and Asian communities. In recent years, because of a variety of reasons, the city has had an enormous influx of mainly eastern European migrants, and because our school has the space they are joining us; at the rate, at the moment of about 25 students a week. We have 40% EAL (English as an additional language) students at the moment.

I have Roma, Hungarian, Czech, Lithuanian, Slovakian, Russian, African Portuguese, Afghan, British and Asian students (I’m sure I’ve probably missed some!) in my classes. We have a department of support teachers who assess the students when they arrive and we are in the process of setting up a series of induction classes from every subject so that the students get an idea of what goes in school. We then give the students another similar (age/nationality/gender and so on) student to shadow for a few days and then the students are placed into classes. We feel that they will learn English best if they are immersed in the language; however, we are aware of possible issues (such as war trauma) so we are sensitive about how we deal with each student.

We have a number of adult translators in school, and on occasions, where necessary, we do use students [to translate] but we try not to as that’s not why they’re in school. We also have a number of teachers who are interested in EAL, of which I am one, and we try to support others when they are not sure how to manage when sometimes the class is made up of predominantly EAL students.

As we teach we try to use a lot of visuals, a lot of student discussion, translated key words, sentence/writing frames and so on to help those EAL students. We also have started having outside of school hours time for families to come in to understand about how the education system works. We had a Roma day last year, as an example. It is a challenge but it can also be enriching for the other students. Some come with incredible talents, such as one particular Roma student who can play the piano and violin extremely beautifully just by listening to a piece of music and then copying it.

Jess Hamer, science teacher at Lampton School in Hounslow

Lampton is a ‘complex urban’ academy in west London. The school is non-selective and its pupils, who come from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds, fall below the national average both in terms of ability and socio-economic circumstance. Three quarters speak English as an additional language. However, student achievement is above average and the school has been deemed outstanding in challenging circumstances by Ofsted.

I wouldn’t  use the word “manage” – it’s great to have such a diverse range of nationalities and cultures as students bring their different backgrounds and experiences to the classroom. As a school we celebrate many different festivals from around the world and there is a real sense of understanding between students, more celebrations = more fun! It’s reassuring and heart-warming to see that the prejudices that exist in the adult world are virtually non-existent in the classroom.

Sometimes it can be a challenge to teach students with EAL even with support in the classroom. I’ve had some very amusing “conversations” with students. Once I was trying to explain what a rabbit is and I ended up having to act out a rabbit by jumping along with my hands upright on my head pretending to be ears! The student thought it was hilarious but understood. Having pictures prepared really helps.

I’m also a year 12 form tutor and guiding students who may be the first generation from their family to apply to university is really rewarding. Sometimes these students need additional support through the process as their families have no prior experience to draw from. Role models are really important for students, seeing scientists from a range of backgrounds raises their aspirations. We regularly host events and have visitors or Stem ambassadors giving lectures or taking part in career speed networking events. I’ve travelled a fair bit and it really helps my awareness of places and cultures that students talk about. Having conversations and showing understanding really helps build relationships in the classroom. Many teachers at Lampton have had specific EAL training, myself included. I found it to be really useful as it helped me develop strategies for scaffolding language for students and it also taught me to ensure that my lessons are visual and that provide opportunities for students to practice their English.

Raising literacy standards is a big issue for many schools, schools with a high proportion of students with EAL is particularly important. At Lampton we’ve had a big push on academic literacy, and I’m part of the working group. Each department is implementing strategies for developing subject-specific literacy. In science, we’re focusing on the process of reading information and then distilling it to scaffold a succinct paragraph of writing. With my year 7 class we’re reading the Horrible Science books and then writing a review.

Teaching students from many cultures is no different to teaching in a school with a single culture – with the exception being having to pay additional attention to language/literacy.

 

Christopher Waugh, secondary English teacher, London Nautical School

 

I’m a 41 year old English teacher from New Zealand. I’ve worked as a teacher for 10 years, the most recent three of which in London. The schools in New Zealand that I worked for had much less of a cultural mix than the one I work in now but New Zealand operates strong bicultural practices in relation to the indigenous people, so my experience there has been of great use in my teaching here, and allows a unique perspective. ( I’m also an other-national in the classroom)

The range of nationalities in my room is an asset. The differing use of language is something we study and examine, their differing cultural perspectives provide a dynamic and vivid forum for debate and the need for mutual respect adds to the general dignity of the environment. The cultural diversity of my classes also creates an imperative not to make assumptions about religion, culture and values that creates room for many other firms of difference. I benefit from this uniquely as a gay teacher as my ‘difference’ is just another dimension in the wider melting pot.

Being aware of language acquisition processes is vital. Understanding that someone from another language culture with a south London accent who communicates confidently with his peers does not necessarily have access to the same range of formal language devices as someone who comes from an English-language culture.

I find offering opportunities for students to communicate with each other about their culture, origins and background as part of the learning programme (presentations, debates, writing and reading) is a very effective method of demonstrating respect for cultural diversity as well as making the most of the richness of what it offers.

I also find that asking students and their parents for their advice and input is valuable learning for me. Don’t be afraid of asking about students’ nationality and having them take the lead on embracing the multinational classroom.

 

Mark Hughes, teacher, Christchurch Primary School in Ilford

 

I’ve worked in a variety of classes over my 12 years teaching, all with a high majority of religions, cultures and languages spoken. Christchurch has a high majority of Muslim students (when I started it was 85% but now it is 68%) we also have a high number of Eastern European and children from Asian backgrounds.

Generally most of the children I teach have English as an additional language and can converse and work quite well in English. As a school we ‘set’ children in ability levels for English work. We do projects such as language of the month, British week, Eid/Diwali/Christmas concerts as well and look for opportunities in lessons to promote different cultures.

When I first started teaching a lot of the customs and cultures of the different children were all new to me, however I’ve come to embrace them and educate myself about the childrens lives outside of school (tends to help with the teaching side if you know a bit  about what goes on at home!)

The different faiths and religions within the school and my class do allow for some great topics and discussions based on tolerance and respect. My wife works in a very middle class/non multicultural school in Hertfordshire and doesn’t get the opportunities cropping up as much. We also have a take part in a global curriculum project about what it means to be a good citizen of the world. Looking at topics around the world – wars/tsunamis/child labour/respect/tolerance/historical influences on cultures and so on – all relevant to the chosen year group

I think you need to be open about how little you know; be curious; learn some words and customs, and most importantly show an interest in them.

 

Holly Miles, foundation teacher, Larkrise Primary

 

I work at Larkrise Primary – a large multicultural primary school in a deprived area. Being a foundation teacher, the majority of children arrive every September with no English.

The first term is always very quiet as children often are unable to communicate verbally especially if no one speaks their language. I use a lot of visual resources, props for storytelling and so on, and try to keep language very simple. These children do pick up the language very quickly and I hope that by July most will have acquired enough English to communicate with me and their peers.

We try to include all cultural celebrations throughout the year Eid, Diwali, Chinese new year and so on. The lovely thing about teaching this age is children are still very naive to differences in nationality and religion and so are very accepting to all.

Since teaching I have learnt a lot about cultural practices and I think the best way for new teachers to learn is to speak to parents and support staff about their cultures and find out through first hand experiences. As a nursery teacher I did home visits for all children in my class which really helped to give me an insight into where children are coming from.

Strategies to support students with language learning needs.

Strategies to support students with language learning needs.

There are three types of children at our school with Additional Language Needs:

  1. New arrivals with no English
  2. 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.
  3. Students for whom English is their first language but have difficulty in language acquisition.

Here are some suggestions to help.

  1. 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.
  2. When planning think about the words that the learner will need to engage in the lessons, actively pre-teach these words.
  3. 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.
  4. Never teach a word by itself, if taught in context and with visual or aural aids these will help remembrance and contextual use.
  5. Academic words used frequently in Exams need to be actively taught. EMASUK has a GCSE book that:
    1. Contextualises the words
    2. Gives examples of the words in exam settings
    3. Gives real exam sentences to practice
    4. 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.
    5. Learn how to say the learners name properly.
    6. If you cannot understand them then ask them to repeat it, if necessarily ask in a different way.
    7. Make sentences short and clear. Sentences with too many parts of it will confuse, some students will not know which part to complete.
    8. Allow the student time to answer and don’t show impatience of yourself.
    9. Repeat/ Recast  the answer so that the children can hear the correct pronunciation or sentence structure.
    10. Use a variety of activities to engage the learner including visual and hands on activities to support the oral instruction.
    11. Use scaffolding to develop their language further.
    12. Change plenaries to a variety of feedback sessions not just Question and Answer sessions and recast where necessary.
    13. Allow extra time if necessary