All students are entitled to fulfil their potential. Students who are learning English as an additional language in your secondary school bring a range of experiences; drive to succeed, literacy in first language, previous educational experience and links with other students from the same community will all impact on the type of support that students require. EMAS advisory teachers can provide comprehensive advice, support and training packages and work strategically with SLT, middle leaders and alongside subject specialists and support staff to help schools ensure the progress and attainment of their pupils learning EAL.
The distinctiveness of learning EAL
Both extensive research and Ofsted agree that EAL learners who make best progress are taught within the mainstream curriculum, but their needs are distinct. The most significant distinction is that they are learning through a language other than their first language.
EAL Teaching and Learning requires using strategies to meet both the language and the learning needs of EAL pupils in a wide range of teaching contexts. Thorough initial assessment; a personalised induction process; participation in mainstream lessons; a tailored series of lessons for new arrivals with EAL and subsequent English support targeted to individual language needs, allows pupils to continue to develop their English skills and understanding of the curriculum in parallel.
Newly arrived pupils
Coventry continues to welcome many pupils arriving from all over the world. Our ethnic and language profile is, like the rest of the UK, constantly changing due to global forces and international migration patterns. There is no such thing as a ‘typical’ new arrival. Each student has a different background and life experience. A student arriving in the UK with their family to take up employment or study staying in settled housing copes differently from a refugee escaping conflict.
A whole school approach is key when working with new arrivals. The induction process and resources used in lessons for students with EAL should be tailored to suit the needs of each student, considering the cultural, linguistic and academic needs of newly-arrived students and recognising the positive contribution this group of students can make to the school community. It is important that new arrivals see their language and culture positively reflected around school and within the curriculum. Building partnerships with parents and new communities is similarly an essential element of working with your new arrivals.
First language opportunities
There is research evidence that bilingualism underpins intellectual advantages. It also highlights the important role of the first language in the child’s learning and in their acquisition of additional languages. Once students have developed cognitive and academic language, they can transfer much of this learning to additional languages. Students benefit enormously if they are given opportunities to continue to develop their first language alongside English. EMAS can support schools in providing opportunities to study community languages, and support to gain qualifications at GCSE and AS/A2 level in many languages.
More advanced learners of English
A distinction needs to be made between social, basic interpersonal communicative skills (BICS) and cognitive and academic language proficiency (CALP). Generally speaking, students learning an additional language can become conversationally fluent in the new language in two to three years but may take five years or longer to catch up with monolingual peers in the development of cognitive and academic language.
Pupils who have been learning English for two years or more still need significant support to develop their writing. Appropriate support involves:
- Scaffolding their language
- Extending their academic vocabulary
- Clarifying figurative language and consolidating knowledge of different genre
The ability to write English effectively is crucial to demonstrate knowledge and learning and to achieve in assessments, GCSEs and Post 16 study. EMAS advisory staff can provide training and support for your school to ensure continual academic language development within its teaching practice. Research shows this planning benefits and enhances academic attainment of all pupils in secondary schools.
EMAS general enquiriesAddress: PO Box 15
EMAS - teacher enquiriesAddress: PO Box 15