Using Graphic Organisers with EAL Learners to Support Writing

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Graphic organisers are a great way to scaffold learning for any learner not just EAL learners. The more I use them in my classroom practice the more I see their value.

Graphic organisers can come in many shapes and forms. Learners can use them to develop their vocabulary, through concept definition maps or the Frayer model / 4 square strategy as pictured below:

In reading they help to see how a text is organised enabling learners to frame main ideas or themes, and in writing they help learners shape their writing into more coherent and cohesive texts.

They provide a visual way in which EAL learners can organise their ideas. In writing, a problem my EAL learners often have, is how to plan and organise a response. A graphic organiser is a way to support that planning and organisation. They allow them to see the relationship between different ideas, to develop supporting details and to extend answers beyond simple statements. This is because by completing the organiser they can see how they can develop a response that has more detail included in it through the completion of all parts of the organiser.

The link at the bottom of this page has a range of graphic organisers that are used for different purposes. These include: ranking ideas, developing a process, sequencing, synthesising ideas, comparing and contrasting and summarising.

You can also create graphic organisers to suit your own particular needs or purposes. I created the graphic organiser below to support EAL learners in analysing a text.

STEAL

This particular graphic organiser is focused on the STEAL paragraph format that my school uses in English literature and language lessons. The quote is the central component of the organiser to show that everything else supports the quote. I made this clear to my learners when they were completing the organiser. To support New to English learners I asked them to work in pairs or small groups with more proficient learners so that they could develop their understanding of the process involved in using a graphic organiser. I have also used this graphic organiser as a barrier activity in which each learner has different information missing and they have to communicate verbally with each other to complete the organiser.

I belive that graphic organisers should be an essential part of supporting EAL learners and they come in a range of guises. If they are used correctly they can help a learner to better organise their ideas, develop their responses and essentially write more coherently and cohesively.

Here is the link to a fantastic pdf that is packed full of graphic organisers: Graphic Organisers

Other links to information on graphic organisers:

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