Teaching Pupils for whom English is an Additional Language. Informing Teacher Educators Carrie Cable and Kimberly Safford NALDIC November 2008. In England, 1 in 10 pupils are learning English as an additional language (EAL).
Teaching Pupils for whom English is an Additional Language
Informing Teacher Educators
Carrie Cable and Kimberly Safford
NALDIC November 2008
In England, 1 in 10 pupils are learning English as an additional language (EAL).
Some teachers work with EAL learners on a daily basis, some much less frequently, but most teachers will work with EAL learners at some point in their career.
Yet many new teachers feel completely unprepared by their teacher training to meet the needs of these pupils.
The aspect of ITT rated lowest by NQTs in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 was:
Preparing them to work with learners with English as an additional language
Percentage of respondents who thought their training was:
Very good GoodAdequatePoor
These findings are not entirely unsurprising.
In contrast with many other English-speaking countries, in the UK teaching and learning with EAL
In the UK, pupils with EAL are learning in mainstream classrooms where the needs of all pupils have to be met. It is sometimes difficult for new teachers to take account of the distinctive learning situation of pupils learning EAL, particularly if their initial teacher education has not prepared them for this.
The learning of English for pupils learning EAL takes place as much in science, mathematics, ICT and the foundation subjects or across the areas of learning as it does in English or literacy lessons.
It also takes place within the ‘hidden curriculum’, and beyond the school and is affected by attitudes to race and culture in the wider society.
If EAL were a separate subject (like a modern foreign language) the raison d'etre for learners would clearly be learning a language but for pupils learning EAL in mainstream classrooms in England this is not the case.
EAL has not always been recognised as a distinct area of education but EAL pedagogy has a knowledge base from theory and research, and has its own principled strategies for teaching in the mainstream context which promote language learning alongside academic content learning.
All trainee teachers need to have an understanding of this field of education if they are to feel prepared to work with EAL pupils in schools and if they are to meet the TDA standards for the award of QTS.
Teachers who have acquired expertise in EAL, whether they are specialists or class/subject teachers, will:
Our work with ITT providers has outlined the following issues:
The website development has been part of a six year TDA funded project to develop an EAL Subject Resource Network (SRN). This SRN for ITE tutors provides tutors with extensive but accessible background information on key aspects of EAL teaching and learning grouped under the following headings:
The ongoing work with ITT providers has resulted in the following:
The website (http://www.naldic.org.uk/ittseal2/index.cfm)
is open to all and has grown steadily in popularity. It
now receives over 6000 visits each month, with a
pleasing growth in regular visitors. New strands of
work developed this year have included a professional
development module for ITE staff to deliver relating to
working with others, using Teachers TV material to
support teacher education re EAL and a commissioned
strand on working with bilingual learners in the EYFS.
In the final phase of the project (2008/9) we intend to release two major strands of work.
One relating to Assessment for Learning for
bilingual learners and the other to support
tutors to assess how well trainees meet QTS
NALDIC has lobbied since its inception for the development of professional qualifications for all staff working with EAL learners, including specialist qualifications for teachers and teaching assistants and CPD for mainstream staff. We are pleased to report that in May this year EAL was recognised as a new national priority within the work of the TDA.
The 2008−09 TDA remit letter from the Department for Children Schools and Families (DCSF) identified the development of CPD for the school workforce relating to EAL as a new national priority in these terms:
Recognising the increasing significance of EAL support for children and young people, the Agency should take forward work within the integrated qualifications framework to develop a pathway of qualifications for teachers and support staff to provide leadership in effective EAL teaching and learning.
In August 2008, NALDIC successfully bid to undertake a national audit of EAL training and development opportunities available to the school workforce.
This important audit will help inform the TDA’s five-year strategy to provide high quality guidance, training and professional development to the whole of the school workforce in the delivery and development of EAL. In addition, a requirement of the five- year strategy is to develop links and partnerships with NALDIC and to investigate the development of specialist EAL initial teaching qualifications alongside comprehensive EAL continuing professional development up to Masters in Teaching and Learning level and the extension of vocational qualifications for the wider workforce.
Pupils learning EAL
Pupils learning EAL share many common characteristics with pupils whose first language is English, and many of their learning needs are similar to those of other children and young people learning in our schools.
But these pupils also have distinct and different needs from other pupils by virtue of the fact that they are learning in and through another language, and that they come from cultural backgrounds and communities with different understandings and expectations of education, language and learning.
Pupils learning EAL are not a homogeneous group
A number of factors will have an impact on the development of pupils' language skills and their ability to apply these skills to their learning across the curriculum:
The distinctiveness of the EAL learner's task
Whatever their age and background, the distinctive nature of the EAL learner's task is to 'catch up' with a moving target by engaging in learning an additional language simultaneously with learning the curriculum content, skills and concepts.
Mapping the task from the EAL learners' perspective, taking account of their starting points will help trainee teachers to understand the learner's situation and to plan teaching strategies which are appropriate for EAL learners.
The EAL learner’s task is to ‘catch up’ from a different starting point. If this does not happen by the end of KS1, the task may become increasingly difficult.
Average pupil progression
English language learning required for school attainment
Required EAL progression
Lower EAL progression
The distinctiveness of EAL pedagogy
EAL pedagogy is the set of systematic teaching approaches which have evolved from classroom based practices in conjunction with the development of knowledge through theoretical and research perspectives and meets the language and learning needs of EAL pupils in a wide range of different teaching contexts.
In the UK, teachers will need to support EAL learners to develop cognitive academic English language proficiency through the mainstream curriculum, through the integration of language and curriculum
Cognitive Academic language proficiency
Basic interpersonal communication skills
Principles which underpin good practice for pupils learning EAL
Although every teaching situation is different, these principles underpin good practice for teaching EAL learners.
Further Advice and Guidance
We hope that you will find the resources and information on our site useful in considering your own guidance for new initial teacher educators.
OCCASIONAL PAPER 10 The Language Education of Newly Qualified Teachers (1997) John Edwards
NALDIC WORKING PAPER 5 The Distinctiveness of English as an Additional Language (1999). A handbook for all teachers on what is distinctive about EAL as a field of education.
OCCASIONAL PAPER 13 Subject teachers’ and EAL teachers’ discursive classroom practices:teachers’ relationships and talk (2001)Angela Creese
OCCASIONAL PAPER 14 Learning from listening:talk in a multilingual mathematics classroom (2001) Richard Barwell
NALDIC WORKING PAPER 6 Teaching EAL in the Mainstream Curriculum:Vignettes of Classroom Practice (2001)
NALDIC BOOK 2 Language and Additional/Second Language Issues for School Education. A reader for teachers. (2002) Edited by Constant Leung.
OCCASIONAL PAPER 16 Bilingual education past and present.(2003) Viv Edwards.
OCCASIONAL PAPER 17Teachers and Pupils in the Big Picture: seeing real children in routinised assessment (2003) Kimberly Safford
NALDIC WORKING PAPER 7 Teaching learners of English as an Additional Language: A review of official guidance (2004)
NALDIC WORKING PAPER 8 Teaching isolated bilingual learners(2005)
OCCASIONAL PAPER 21 Linking theory and practice in improving learning: collaborative action research in multilingual primary classrooms (2008) Jean Conteh, Rita Kumar and Derek Beddow
All the above publications can be ordered from NALDIC
Many agencies have produced advisory documents which aim to increase the level of teacher awareness and teacher professionalism in this field. Many of these are referenced on the NALDIC ITT site in addition to our own advice and guidance.
TTA:Raising the Attainment of Minority Ethnic Pupils Effective language and learning support for pupils for whom English is an additional language
National Curriculum: Statutory Inclusion Statement
You may also wish to refer to guidance documents which relate specifically to EAL learners in different areas of learning/subjects.
Primary Strategy/National Literacy Strategy:
Framework for TeachingChildren with English as an additional language, Supporting Pupils Learning English as an Additional Language
Primary Strategy/National Numeracy Strategy:
Framework for Teaching Mathematics from Reception to Year 6, Mathematical Vocabulary
Working collaboratively with ITE providers
We hope that ITE providers will find the resources and information on our site useful in considering their own guidance for new initial teacher educators in subject areas.
In addition we are happy to provide specific support for colleagues at institutional level including specific seminars and workshops for providers.