Oral work before written work – always! It is in oral work that language is tried, tested and acquired. Students should always work in pairs or groups for building complex answers.
2. Visuals – carefully select these for cultural- and age-specific accessibility. Always use photos, never clip art. Clip art drawings can be very abstract and require another layer of cultural interpretation and inference before the language can be applied.
…or this? Which one would get you to produce more words?
3. Break things down into manageable chunks. Put less on a power point slide or on the page. Give one instruction. Give them take-up time. Come back. Give the next instruction or task. Little and often.
‘Drawing on excellent subject knowledge, teachers plan astutely and set challenging tasks based on systematic, accurate assessment of pupils’ prior skills, knowledge and understanding.’ So relates the descriptor for ‘Outstanding’ teaching under the Ofsted Framework. Educationalists conscientiously tend to focus on the first part of the statement—their subject knowledge, planning and task design—to the inadvertent exclusion of the second—their students’ prior skills, knowledge and understanding.
In the larger urban areas, most of the students sitting in our classrooms will be English as an Additional Language (EAL) learners. They come with varying degrees of fluidity in the language which is being used to assess their ‘prior skills, knowledge and understanding’—English. Multi-lingual immigrants now number half of the general population in some areas of Britain, with 1 in 4 people across London and almost a million nationally not speaking English ‘at all or well’ according the Telegraph reporting on the 2011 Census; their children can comprise up to 80% of our classroom registers on a daily basis. Continue reading “Why Literacy is Different for EAL Pupils”