Ofsted | Good practice resource – Outstanding achievement for pupils learning English as an additional language: Greet Primary School

Pupils learning English as an additional language do exceptionally well at Greet Primary School because the outstanding teaching they receive throughout the school is complemented by high-quality support and a language-rich curriculum. As a result, pupils develop highly advanced writing skills.

Well I wont say I told you so because in fact I am relieved. I have always advocated the use of the first language to gain a second language particularly where there are new arrivals in schools, but my peers and supposedly betters constantly said “no teach them English the ESOL way, as it’s the only way”. This has led to some levelling criticism that we don’t know what we are doing as they have always done it this way. It always seemed pointless to me to take a learner (any learner) and treat them as though they know nothing, when in reality what they don’t know is the correct word in the common language of the area. To me we just need to bridge the gap.

Having children in my class that needed to know how to saw wood safely, or answer an English question about the class reader or poetry, it seemed ridiculous to start teaching them words similar to the learn Spanish CD’s.  What my learners needed to succeed was contextual focus academic word transference that took their prior learning, no matter how young or old they were and use this to close the gap, until they caught up, because catch up they do and achieved university places.

So it is great to see this story about a school in Birmingham who have helped turn the tide by embracing bilingualism and achieving an excellent rating in their recent OFSTED visit.

To quote OFSTED from their glossy brochure:

‘Bilingualism (at Greet Primary) is viewed as a huge asset and we value and promote the importance of pupils’ home languages.’
One of the strategies teaching assistants employ is pre-tutoring pupils in
their home language before the start of a lesson so that pupils will know what
is expected of them when the activity is introduced. Buddies who speak the same
home language are attached to new arrivals. A recent new arrival says: ‘It was
great having people who could speak Urdu to me as I couldn’t speak English at
first.’

Well Done to all within the school and I hope to bring even more news of success as the blog grows.

To see the whole report go to

http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/good-practice-resource-outstanding-achievement-for-pupils-learning-english-additional-language-greet

Pupils learning English as an additional language do exceptionally well at Greet Primary School because the outstanding teaching they receive throughout the school is complemented by high-quality support and a language-rich curriculum. As a result, pupils develop highly advanced writing skills.

Geddes Elementary: Dual Language Early On Reaps Benefits Later

I thought I had posted this last week but the letter gremlins seem to have taken it away into space.

“It’s important for me, because my children are from here. I’m from Mexico, and I want them to know their origins,” said Ana Lepe, speaking in Spanish. The 40-year-old mother of three has sent all of her children to Geddes because she also believes being bilingual will help them get better jobs in the future.

I liked this story because this school is obviously one where bilingualism is really treasured and supported by all within the community. Once again the question of jobs when the children reach school-leaving age are a focus, but sadly this is often forgotten by the policy makers.

What is useful for teachers is If you go through the links there is also a video showing how some of this is achieved.

“There’s a lot of research now that shows that dual-immersion programs/bilingual programs are teaching kids to read better,” she added.

One reason the dual-language program works at Geddes is because it’s one part of a strong academic structure, school officials say. Castro is obsessed with data: Teachers give assessments every two weeks in math and reading to see how their students are progressing and where they might need help.

As bi-literacy starts to become popular and general literacy is a focus in both USA and UK schools there are some lessons that can be definitely learnt from this school. Especially those wishing to become strong free bilingual schools.

The initial news story is interesting but if you go into the school website there are some amazing facts about their achievements.

http://www.educationnation.com/casestudies/geddes/index.html

10 % OF PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS ARE ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS.

The Challenge: For English Language Learners, mastering the language is even more difficult if they struggle with their first language.
The Solution: At Geddes Elementary School in Baldwin Park, Calif., young students in the dual-language program are taught in Spanish 90% of the day until third grade. This approach has led to significant achievement gains, with 60% of third-graders scoring proficient or above in English language arts in 2011.

RESULTS: TEST SCORES

Geddes Elementary School’s API score (California’s system for rating schools based on reading and math test scores) rose from 678 to 838 over four years, exceeding the state target of 800. Proficiency on English language arts tests doubled to 62 percent, and the percentage of the school’s students who are proficient in math rose by half, to 74 percent.

RESULTS: ATTENDANCE & DISCIPLINE

In the 2005-06 school year, 391 students (out of 901) had unexcused absences or were tardy at least three times at Geddes. The truancy rate was 43 percent. In 2010-11, by contrast, 192 students (out of 703) had unexcused absences or were frequently tardy. The truancy rate fell to 27 percent.

RESULTS: PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT

Parental participation went from only a handful of parents regularly visiting the school to between 40 and 50 attending monthly meetings with the principal.

The original news story can be found here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/48897100/ns/today-education_nation/

The school information can be found here:

http://www.educationnation.com/casestudies/geddes/index.html

 

Use the Pupil Premium to support your vulnerable groups

Use the Pupil Premium to support your vulnerable groups

OFSTED report last week clearly states that“In some schools it was clear to inspectors that the spending was not all focused on the needs of the specific groups for whom it was intended.”

Based on multiple answers provided by 119 school leaders responding to the telephone survey and 142 school leaders responding to additional questions at inspection. The single most commonly given use of Pupil Premium funding was to employ teaching assistants

This is such a shame as schools have an opportunity here to provide more than additional staff with the average school receiving around £39,000. Schools could use the £600 per pupil to improve literacy and maths in the most vulnerable groups, and in most cases support language development of new arrivals and those learners whose English is not their first language at the same time.

John Foxwell Director at EMASUK  has said for months that, ‘for two pupils premium you can support your EAL learners and teachers with our ready-made resources, the ability to create your own personalised worksheets, letters, PowerPoint’s or posters from any of the 61 languages and also speak directly to the children in their home language.  To support the safeguarding policy it is also possible to communicate directly with the learner or parent and keep a copy in your file. Being easy to use by both specialists and non-specialists alike it is not surprising that more schools are beginning to see its benefits.’

John further says that ‘as an addition innovative schools are using the same tools and resources to support their MFL curriculum with both teachers and learners using them to develop their own personalised learning kits suitable for their pupils, in their school.

By using the same resources to listen to pronunciation, and create literacy aids both literacy and mathematical academic language can be learnt in situ. Teachers know from practice and research that a child learns more when the learning is in context.’  And this with the added pressure of literacy and Mathematics being  the focus of the new OFSTED inspections it can only help both the learners and teachers.

In conclusion OFSTED recommends that School leaders, including governing bodies, should ensure that Pupil Premium funding is not simply absorbed into mainstream budgets, but instead is carefully targeted at the designated children. Which I think all teacher and parents alike would have no problem in agreeing with.

To find out more you can contact John at j.foxwell@emasuk.com or on 07525 323219

To see more of the report go to http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/pupil-premium

Developing Literacy for EAL learners

Literacy is one focus of OFSTED in the UK from the start of this month.  First let us be clear what Literacy means…often these words are used without much thought about what it means… Literacy in education is how we help children enjoy reading and writing, with focus on three areas speaking and listening, and reading and writing.

With EAL learners John Foxwell Director EMASUK suggests we look at how to use Pip to support the parents reading to the children in either language (bi-literacy will also be improved when used effectively), use this lovely book to allow them to read to their siblings and new arrivals in English. Pip itself is bilingual so can be used to develop vocabulary by using the first language as a bridge. There is also the advantage of the picture book being part of the range, so that the parent/teacher and child can see how they have progressed in their development of their reading skills.

He further suggests starting points for conversations, and when linked to the computer programme it scaffolds writing by giving word lists.  It encourages story boarding by linking up pictures and words and develops personal awareness by making children think and discuss how they feel.

And so to OFSTED themselves.

OFSTED Inspectors report that they have found  that the factors that most commonly limited pupils’ learning included: an excessive pace of a lesson; an overloading of activities; inflexible planning, and limited time for pupils to work independently. In some schools teachers concentrated too much or too early on a narrow range of test or examination skills and few schools give enough thought to ways of encouraging the love of reading in school and beyond the classroom.

OFSTED have themselves suggested the following as good examples of how to develop good reading practice to support literacy development.

To get the reading habit integrated straightaway, in the first term of Year 7, the English homework for all students is to read independently at home. The school launched a joint parent/child reading group, attended by a local author, which inspired parents and pupils. Family Review Days held in the library give parents the opportunity to talk about books with the librarian and with students. They can drop in anytime to discuss how they can help their child choose a suitable book and offer support and encouragement.

The school annually updates and sends out a list of recommended reads to reflect current trends in reading as well as classics. It also produces ‘Reading Matters’ leaflets for parents, with useful hints and tips to support their child’s reading, which include the following.

• ‘Read aloud with your child, or try reading the same book they are reading and talk to them about it.
• Let them see you reading, whether it is a book, a magazine or a newspaper. Lead by example!
• If they enjoy movies or TV shows based on children’s books such as Tracy Beaker or Harry Potter, encourage them to give the books a try.
• Encourage them to read to younger brothers and sisters. We have a ‘babysitting’ box in the library with great books they could use.
• Encourage them to join the school Readers’ Club. They can then get involved in all kinds of extra-curricular activities, from drama workshops to meeting the illustrator from Beano!’

http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/news/driving-standards-of-literacy

John Foxwell reminds us that Pip is available as a picture book or English only, or bilingually in  English and Polish, Albanian, Chinese Mandarin, Chinese Cantonese, Czech, Dutch, Russian, French, German, Nepali, Kurdish, Hungarian, Norwegian, Hebrew, Latvian, and Romanian http://shop.emasuk.com/  Add storycreator to make a truly useful inexpensive package for all language learners whether learning English, MFL Languages or bridging from their home language.

Preparing my child for secondary education

For all of you who are parents of children moving ‘big school’.

kipmcgrathashford

Preparing my child for secondary education.

This is a most fabulous blog from Clare and Martin Rimmer of Kip McGrath Lisburn about the process of transferring to Secondary School.

As the father of a daughter moving to Grammar School in September it has been invaluable.

View original post

MFL at the Airport – Wales

How inspirational and motivational is this for the students they are actively involved in using their langauge skills to promote literacy and linguistics.  Well Done the teachers at LLantwit Major School.

http://www.tbicardiffairport.com/en/news/1/265/airport-launch-mfl-project.html

DfE Primary Curriculum Review further details – UK

On Facebook the DfE have given some examples and are asking questions. Here is the link:

https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk/app_425311800833194

Picture Books for Child Development

This article gives sound advice on the importance of picture books for cognitive development and has 10 top reasons why they are good from:

The illustrations of a picture book help children understand what they are reading and allow young readers to analyze the story

to

Picture books help develop story sense

and finally

Picture books are fun

We all want children to see reading and developing their literacy as fun rather than work which becomes a bore and as the children then say ‘its boring miss’.

Read the full article here:

http://www.thechildrensbookreview.com/weblog/2010/11/how-picture-books-play-a-role-in-a-child%E2%80%99s-development.html

Kingsteignton’s Letter to the Queen

Do you have a special chair to relax in?

Well here is the first book we have created to support the Queens Diamond Jubilee. The children and teachers used literacy  and art lessons to create their poems, question and their pictures of the Queen, guards, castles, new stamp and alternate front covers.  They all did really well. The Lady in Waiting responded

The Queen wishes me to write and thank you all for the splendid pictures, letters and poems you have contributed.

You can find them at our site www.languagesupportuk.com under the LSBooks section.

Arabella Age 8 wrote

Dear Your Majesty,

My name is Arabella and I live in Kingsteignton. I have a very important question for you. Does it hurt when you put your crown on your head? Thank you so much for reading my letter.  I hope you have a super Jubilee.

Leon aged 10 wrote:

Your Majesty,

My name is Leon and I am 10 years old and my favourite thing is the marvel comics and my favourite character is Spiderman. Mam, I have a question I would like to ask you.

If you were God what would you do to help the earth and why? Hope you have a great life on the throne.

Yours faithfully Leon.

Daisy aged 11 wrote an acrostic poem

Joyful celebrations that everyone is looking forward to,

United we stand

Blue, read and white flags flying high in the sky above our heads

Incredibly long time that she has reigned over our nation

Long Live the Queen!

Excitementis flowing through everyone’s veins

Elizabeth 2nd our Queen for 60 years.

Seth aged 9 chose to write a limerick

A Queen with a dazzling crown,

Who lives in such beautiful grounds,

You have seven corgi’s,

That go for a walkie,

And walk to the end of the town.

Its ok to read your child bilingual books – USA

I was pleased to see this written by an american literacy group.  As a teacher I encountered many parents who told me that their child must only speak English and were to be punished in some cases if they did not. This was not something I subscribed to as I believe you should develop your first as well as any subsequent language.  However, I can understand their fear that any distraction including their first lanaguge was a bad thing and detrimental to their learning.  Infact as more research is done on this it is becoming clearer that it enhances the childs understanding so it is refreshing to hear literacy specialists confirming what I had already observed and followed in my teaching. You can read about their finding at: http://www.literacynews.com/2012/05/raising-a-bilingual-child-on-books/

Raising a  Bilingual Child on Books

Books are a great way to help your kids broaden their vocabulary and teach the heritage and traditions of diverse cultures. Reading is essential, no matter the language that your child is learning. It helps assemble the required groundwork for improving both language and literacy from a young age.

In What Language Should You Read?

If you use the OPOL method (One Person, One Language i.e. the father and/or mother speaks another language) to rear your kids bilingual, many experts agree to stick with the language that you normally use when you speak. If you speak in Spanish to your child, read him or her books in Spanish. The benefit of bilingual books—and you can choose from many in the English-Spanish-combination—is that both parents can read the same book in their own language. You can uncover a range of bilingual, English or Spanish books in the library, book store, or online. If you can understand English and cannot locate books in Spanish, you can read any book, translating to your language as you read. In terms of teaching your child to read, research reveals that it’s simpler on the native tongue of your child. As the parent, you must decide which language to teach your child. If you use the method mL @ H (minority language at home), and Spanish is the minority language, then this is the language that you employ to teach your child to read.

With the OPOL method, a language always dominates over the other. For example, if you reside in the U.S. and are teaching your child English and Spanish, you’ll likely find it easier to teach reading in English, which is the principal language in your community. But residing in the U.S. and not speaking English doesn’t imply you cannot teach reading to your children in Spanish. You have to realize that teaching reading in Spanish will not hurt your children or slow them down. Instead, it’ll impart them with the foundation which they need to read in English.

Remember that you only need to understand how to read once. I frequently hear parents say that Spanish speakers  residing in the U.S. have ceased reading at home because they worry that reading in Spanish can confuse their children. As the parent, you are the first teacher and influencer of language for your children, so it is critical that you feel comfortable using your own native language.

(C) LiteracyNews.com