English as an Additional Language (EAL)
Oak Hill First School has an ever changing school population and we are proud that our children are respectful and celebrate the diversity in our school. Currently over 120 children are learning English as an Additional Language or can already speak English as well as their ‘home’ language. There are now 20 different languages which are spoken in the homes our children live in. These children are all at varying stages of development, some are new to the country and speak very little English and some are working at a very high level in all their work. There is a part time EAL teacher and a full time EAL Teaching Assistant, who speaks Polish, to support all the children and their families.
Staff use a variety of different approaches to support EAL children in their learning and these are just some of them :
- Visual representations of instructions, concepts and key vocabulary
- Graphic organisers and visual timetables
- Modelling – additional support from teachers and adults to demonstrate learning
- Collaborative activities – to develop social skills and language through play and learning together
- Using first language – dual language dictionaries and activities. Learning about key cultural festivals and celebrations from different religions or countries. Learning key words and phrases in different languages like answering the register in Urdu or learning and nursery rhyme in Polish.
- Colour coded grammar and sentence processing – a great way to teach and learn sentence structure and extend vocabulary.
- Language link vocabulary teaching – All children in the early years (and further up school as needed) are regularly assessed in their use and understanding of vocabulary and language concepts. Children who need it are then given additional support to develop and make the most progress possible.
- Conquering literacy – a structured programme used to teach children phonics and spelling for reading and writing.
It is really important to note that having English as an additional language is not the same as having a specific learning difficulty or special educational need. There may however be additional support needed for children who are at the early stages of learning English or who have gaps in their knowledge and understanding. Please see the Access and Inclusion Policy for further details.
Useful links for sources of information and activities:
- Collaborative Learning Project is a website that contains lots of useful talk-for-learning resources that help develop vocabulary and language skills: http://www.collaborativelearning.org/
- Learn English Kids is a British Council website that has lots of fun interactive resources for EAL learners: http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/en/