Back to school this week. It will be the first time since March that my school will welcome learners into the building since March and lockdown. From an EAL point of view there are several things that myself and my team can do to support our EAL learners as they return to school.
- New Y7s (11 – 12 years old). We will have a new cohort and I need to find out how many EAL learners there are, what languages they speak (and are literate in), previous experiences of learning English and highlight any learners that might need direct support from the EAL department because of their limited proficiency in English. To do this, we use a language survey for all new Y7s which they complete in their induction sessions with their form tutors. We usually find out those with limited proficiency because they require support to complete the form (in English). If they feel they cannot complete the form in English then we get them to complete it in their first language. We often have people at the school that can translate most of the languages at the school (we are very lucky!).
- Supporting new Y7s. Our new EAL learners that are new to English (DfE Code) will require lots of support to access the curriculum, understand their new environment and integrate into the school. Myself and my teaching assistants look immediately at how we can support them in class, during form time and around the school finding buddies etc. This year I am going to try the Hampshire EMTAS Young Interpreters scheme. More on that in another post!
- Key learners and support in the mainstream. My team can provide some support to our EAL learners, especially those with limited English language proficiency (DfE Code A & B). As a team we must organise support for them which comes in the form of direct in class support and developing resources with mainstream colleagues that support our EAL Learners. My teaching assistants organise their timetables around supporting our key learners and this is a priority at the beginning of the year.
- Updating student profiles – each of our EAL learners that has direct support from the EAL department has a student profile which all teachers have access to. The profile acts as a RAG (Red, Amber, Green) list. Red meaning the learners requires a lot of support through to green meaning the learner can function in the mainstream more independently. This student profile includes such things as: the learners name, DfE English proficiency code, background information on the learners, suggested support strategies, language focus and marking and feedback. As the year progresses I constantly update these after feedback from my team and mainstream teachers. Teachers are supposed to include these profiles in their learner folders to show how they are meeting the learners’ needs.
- Working with mainstream teachers – Once we have the learners’ timetables I can start to plan support I can give with mainstream teachers. This can come in the form of collaboratively co-teaching and developing specific resources to support classes or discussing with teachers specific ways they can support certain EAL learners.
- Getting used to COVID protocols. This year is going to be very different in schools. All schools will have to work in very different ways from the past. We must ensure that our EAL learners with limited English proficiency understand the new ways of working at our school. We can support our EAL learners through our EAL teaching assistants who can translate key information.
- EAL intranet page – Inspired by an article in the EAL journal from NALDIC, I have created an EAL intranet page for mainstream teachers. This will be the one stop place for teachers to go to find information on EAL. The page has sections which include: student profiles, resources, EAL CPD, and EAL research articles. I hope this page will make it easier for our mainstream teachers to locate specific information on EAL.
Being ready for the new academic year is always important. Above our some of the things that we in the EAL department work through at the start of the year.
Good luck to you all at the start of the new academic year. Let’s work on keeping our EAL learners in the daylight!