Teaching pupils for whom english is an additional language
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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).

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Teaching pupils for whom english is an additional language

Teaching Pupils for whom English is an Additional Language

Informing Teacher Educators

Carrie Cable and Kimberly Safford

NALDIC November 2008


Teaching pupils for whom english is an additional language

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.


Teaching pupils for whom english is an additional language

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

  • 5154139

  • 6194431

  • 7214527

  • 8244523

  • 8264818


Teaching pupils for whom english is an additional language

These findings are not entirely unsurprising.

In contrast with many other English-speaking countries, in the UK teaching and learning with EAL

  • does not have a separate curriculum or syllabus

  • takes place within the mainstream

  • takes place within all subjects.

    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.


Teaching pupils for whom english is an additional language

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.


Teaching pupils for whom english is an additional language

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.


Teaching pupils for whom english is an additional language

  • Q18 Understand how children and young people develop and that the progress and well-being of learners are affected by a range of developmental, social, religious, ethnic, cultural and linguistic influences.

  • Q19 Know how to make effective personalised provision for those they teach, including those for whom English is an additional language or who have special educational needs or disabilities, and how to take practical account of diversity and promote equality and inclusion in their teaching.


Teaching pupils for whom english is an additional language

  • Q5 Recognise and respect the contribution that colleagues, parents and carers can make to the development and well-being of children and young people and to raising their levels of attainment.

  • Q6 Have a commitment to collaboration and co-operative working.


Teaching pupils for whom english is an additional language

  • Q20 Know and understand the roles of colleagues with specific responsibilities, including those with responsibility for learners with special educational needs and disabilities and other individual learning needs.

  • Q33 Ensure that colleagues working with them are appropriately involved in supporting learning and understand the roles they are expected to fulfil.


Teaching pupils for whom english is an additional language

Teachers who have acquired expertise in EAL, whether they are specialists or class/subject teachers, will:

  • understand progression in second/additional language learning;

  • be able to assess pupils' understanding of curriculum content and use this information in their planning;

  • draw on pupils' bicultural and bilingual knowledge and experience;

  • incorporate first language knowledge and use appropriate staff resources where available;

  • take account of the variables that apply in different contexts, and capitalise on the potential for working in partnership with their mainstream/specialist colleagues.


Teaching pupils for whom english is an additional language

Our work with ITT providers has outlined the following issues:

  • That it is not just tutors new to ITT who request guidance and support;

  • That tutors working in SCITTs are particularly anxious for guidance;

  • That tutors, both very experienced and new to the issues greatly value discussing and sharing ideas in small groups and networking;

  • That EAL issues are a low priority for a number of ITT providers and are addressed in one-off sessions by a guest lecturer who has no input into or influence on the programme as a whole;

  • Programme leaders in ITT need to be involved if EAL is to be embedded effectively in a programme;

  • Where there is a commitment to EAL issues providers meet the challenge of preparing trainees in low diversity contexts.


Teaching pupils for whom english is an additional language

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:


Teaching pupils for whom english is an additional language

  • Knowledge & Understanding;

  • Bilingualism and second language acquisition;

  • Language and curriculum;

  • Language and Literacy;

  • Supporting bilingual children in the early years;

  • Supporting EAL learners in mainstream classrooms;

  • EAL and National Curriculum subjects;

  • Community languages;

  • Assessment;

  • Working with EAL specialists and other support staff;

  • Combating racism;

  • SEN and gifted and talented; and

  • Teaching refugee and asylum seeker pupils.


Teaching pupils for whom english is an additional language

The ongoing work with ITT providers has resulted in the following:

  • Examples of programme structures identifying where dedicated sessions are required and where and how EAL issues are embedded across the whole curriculum;

  • Examples of directed tasks, assignments and assessment procedures that support trainees’ understanding of the principles of working with bilingual learners and enable them to demonstrate their knowledge and skills and how they have met the relevant standards;

  • Identification of strategies that are particularly effective in low diversity settings and school based programmes;

  • References, annotated bibliographies, resource lists and direct links to material available on the internet and, in particular, to the IPRN Diversity (Multiverse) site;

  • Networks of experienced and less experienced tutors who will share advice and good practice.


Teaching pupils for whom english is an additional language

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.


Teaching pupils for whom english is an additional language

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

Standard 19


Teaching pupils for whom english is an additional language

Other developments

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.


Teaching pupils for whom english is an additional language

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.


Teaching pupils for whom english is an additional language

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.


Teaching pupils for whom english is an additional language

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.


Teaching pupils for whom english is an additional language

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 age at which pupils enter the educational system

  • their previous experience of schooling and literacy in their first language;

  • their knowledge, skills and understanding of languages and the school curriculum;

  • home and community expectations and understanding of the education system;

  • support structures for learning and language development at home and at school


Teaching pupils for whom english is an additional language

  • Some pupils are born in the UK but enter school speaking little or no English and have limited or no experience of literacy in their first language.

  • Some pupils are born in the UK but enter school speaking little or no English. However, they have some experience of literacy in their first languages.

  • Some pupils arrive between the ages of 5 and 16 without literacy or oracy skills in English but with age equivalent skills in literacy, oracy and subject areas in their first languages, and sometimes in other languages as well.

  • Some pupils enter the school system between the ages of 5 and 16 without literacy or oracy skills in English and with limited or no literacy and subject skills in their first language due to disrupted schooling.

  • Some pupils arrive between the ages of 5 and 16 with some literacy or oracy skills in English and with age equivalent skills in literacy, oracy and subject areas in their first languages, and sometimes in other languages as well.


Teaching pupils for whom english is an additional language

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.


Teaching pupils for whom english is an additional language

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

FS

KS1

KS2

KS3

KS4


Teaching pupils for whom english is an additional language

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

CALP

Cognitive Academic language proficiency

BICS

Basic interpersonal communication skills


Teaching pupils for whom english is an additional language

Principles which underpin good practice for pupils learning EAL

Although every teaching situation is different, these principles underpin good practice for teaching EAL learners. 

  • Activating prior knowledge

  • The provision of a rich contextual background to make input comprehensible

  • Actively encouraging comprehensible output

  • Drawing the learner's attention to the relationship between form and function; making key grammatical elements explicit

  • Developing learner independence


Teaching pupils for whom english is an additional language

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)


Teaching pupils for whom english is an additional language

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


Teaching pupils for whom english is an additional language

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


Teaching pupils for whom english is an additional language

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.


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