Gap fills act as an appropriate classroom strategy to support EAL learners in becoming successful writers.
Gap fills can come in many shapes or forms and can be differentiated depending on the language proficiency of your EAL learners.
For example, beginner EAL learners might benefit from a gap fill that also contains a word bank of possible choices. Whereas, intermediate or more proficient EAL learners might access a gap fill that has missing words without the need for a word bank.
One thing to take into consideration when you are designing a gap fill is the words or phrases that you omit. Personally, I think that you should include the content of the writing and omit linguistic features of the genre that the gap fill is written in. For example, if you are asking you EAL learners to write a comparison then I would leave the content in but omit linguistic features such as:
- Comparative adjectives
- Comparative / contrast connectives
- Causal connectives
There is no doubt that gap fills are an appropriate writing scaffold for EAL learners and can be a highly effective classroom strategy in supporting the development of writing.