Practical guidance, processes and adaptable resources to develop a whole school framework for supporting EAL learners in Post-Primary

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Preparation

It is important to prepare for an EAL learner’s first weeks at a new school.
Ensure staff and students are alerted and actions are taken so that the new student will feel safe, secure and supported.

Share student profile with relevant staff

Make sure the class teacher, Year head and subjects teachers are informed and prepared. 
Consider, and share any information that will be useful in supporting the student’s learning and well-being.
Don’t send student information to all staff, be selective and share only with relevant staff.
Practice how to pronounce the EAL learner’s name correctly.

Look at the learner’s ability in all areas 

Schools need to look at the learner’s ability in all areas when placing them in a class grouping.
Place students according to cognitive ability, not their English language proficiency level.
Place the student in a group where cognitive demand is high and where the other students will be sensitive to their needs. 
Even though the learner has difficulty reading and writing in English, their writing and grammar skills in their home language may be on par with the others. 

Encourage EAL Learners to attend MFL class

Encourage EAL Learners to attend MFL (Modern Foreign Language) class.
Language class is the one area of the curriculum where EAL learners are on a more equal footing with the other students.
EAL learners often do well in languages as they have an increased awareness through learning English.

Prepare for a new EAL learner in different subject areas

Inform students that a new EAL learner will be joining the class. 
Actively involving students in preparing for the arrival of a new classmate is an important step in establishing a collective commitment to ensuring an EAL learner feels included from day one.
Seek
 opportunities to incorporate EAL learners' language, country, and culture into subject lessons and projects.
Here are some ideas on how classes can prepare for a new EAL learner in different subject areas.
*These activities can be done at any time during the school year to incorporate home languages, countries, and cultures into subject lessons and projects.

PC/Religious Studies/Well-being

Inter-cultural awareness.
Let the class know a new student will be joining them.
Discuss how he/she may feel? 
What he/she would need to know? 
What they can do to help? 
Ways to communicate other than in English.

Irish/English/ MFL Classes

Language and Cultural awareness.
Recognise the value of speaking other languages.
In preparation for a new student or to celebrate diversity might learn how to say hello and a few phrases in the EAL learner's home language.
Practice how to pronounce the EAL learner’s name correctly.
BBC languages has essential phrases in 40 languages.
Omniglot has a collection of useful phrases suitable for a variety of situations (idioms, time expressions, proverbs, and tongue twisters) in many different languages with sound files for quite a few of them.


Geography/ CSPE/ Well-being
 

Research the country the new student is from.
Kids Britannica has a handy site for Junior Classes- Simply choose a country from each drop-down list to compare population, area, and other facts.
Commisceo Global useful for older students and staff.


Practical Subjects

Have students label key equipment in practical subjects in new student’s home language. 
Art- Have students draw welcome signs and flags to display in classrooms.
Music- listen to music/songs from the new student's culture.
Home Economics- look at traditional dishes

All Subjects

Students make excellent teachers and helpers.
Beidh súil eile acu- valuable insight to be gained by including them in the preparations. 
Have students come up with keywords / basic language for each subject.
Basic language and keywords can easily be created and translated in Google sheets.
As well as being a time saver- you are creating a collective sense of duty and pride.
Watch here
Access to pre loaded Google Sheet
PLEASE DOWNLOAD YOUR OWN COPY BEFORE EDITING

Organise Classroom Buddies

Organise two or three ‘classroom buddies’ for the new arrival and brief them carefully. 
A buddy should be a trusted model of good behaviour who will support the new learner throughout lessons, clarifying activities and modelling how to speak English in a variety of contexts. 
Structured time can be easier for new students.
Make sure to plan support for each part of the day.
Schedule a buddy to help at different times - morning, break, lunch, afternoon.
Organise a buddy for each subject- levels, option bands etc..
*Classroom buddies can continue virtually during school closures through strategic use of breakout rooms.
Home Language buddies can act as TECH BUDDIES to support with Google classroom!

Organise a Homework Buddy

Organise a TY (or other) student with the same home language to support the new EAL learner in homework club as part of Gaisce, Work Experience or a Social Justice Project.
*Homework buddies can continue virtually during school closures through strategic use of breakout rooms.
Home Language buddies can act as TECH BUDDIES to support with Google classroom!


Organise a Paired Reading Buddy

A TY (or other) student and an  EAL learner with the same home language read home language and English texts together as part of Gaisce, Work Experience or a Social Justice Project.
*Paired reading buddies can continue virtually during school closures through strategic use of breakout rooms.
Home Language buddies can act as TECH BUDDIES to support with Google classroom!

Prepare resources for first few days

Don’t provide information in English only, English is a barrier at this stage.
Consider providing the EAL learner with a visual timetable and a language mat to support classroom communication.

PPLI has devised a series of language mats for MFL classes that I find very useful for new EAL learners.
Mats are available in Portuguese, Polish, Lithuanian, Russian, Spanish, Mandarin, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Korean.
PPLI Portuguese Language Mat


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