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

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Effective Teaching Strategies

EAL learners spend most of their time in mainstream classes.
Although welcoming, integrating, and providing extra supports are important factors in the inclusion of EAL learners, the most effective action is to build subject teacher capacity in managing, differentiating and planning for EAL learners.
To maximise inclusion of EAL learners in the classroom, teachers can adapt teaching approaches, lesson activities, learning resources and homework to take into account the English levels of learners in the class.
Subject teachers should actively reinforce the assets of bilingualism of their students.

Here are some strategies subject teachers can use to reduce or overcome barriers to learning and help EAL learners at all stages of English proficiency make progress in curriculum subjects.

Pre-teach Key Words/Topics

To allow EAL learners greater access to lesson content teachers can provide students with keywords in their home language.
Keywords can be displayed in the classroom, taken down from the board, printed off or emailed to students.
Keywords lists can be easily created using Google Slides.
Watch here
Access to pre loaded Google Sheet


Quizlet is another great tool for pre teaching vocabulary.
Great resource for preliterate students.
Nice collaborative activity to do with Classroom or TY Buddy.

Signpost Lessons

Students feel more secure and relaxed when they know what is happening and what will happen next.
Signposting subject lessons simply means making the planned activities clear to the students.
Teachers decide on sequence of lesson
Display visuals in sequence 
Point to visual as activity begins                      
Remove visual when activity ends
This makes the progression of the lesson even clearer. (Great for SEN students too)
These Visuals are my own design ©, we display these visuals in every classroom as a whole school support.
Download Signposting Visuals here

Grade your Language

Typical class instructions can be a barrier to learning for EAL learners.
Classroom Instructions often include complex grammar, unnecessarily difficult words and phrases, phrasal verbs and idioms an EAL learner must get through to find the actual instructions.
Use simple, short, concise and clear sentences omitting any unnecessarily difficult words and phrases.
This is is even more important to remember when giving instructions on Google Classroom.

Use Visuals

Abstract concepts can be a barrier to learning for EAL learners.
Simple highly visual images can provide considerable support.
Use concrete rather than abstract starters to allow EAL learners greater access at the beginning of the lesson.
An EAL learner may not know what a teacher is saying but with a carefully chosen visual the student will understand the context straight away.
(S)he will be able to make the fullest possible use of their prior knowledge and language skills to access the lesson content.
Ensure images/ visuals are culturally familiar to all students.
Schoolslinks have a great stock of subject displays with visuals and keywords for many subjects.
Download Schools links Science Display


Like visuals carefully chosen educational videos will help an EAL learner understand the context and make the fullest possible use of their prior knowledge and language skills to access the lesson content. 
YouTube clips can be used to pre-teach a topic, during a lesson, to support homework or as a revision tool.
Watch here

Encourage Home Language Use

Make room for students’ home languages as part of the learning process.
Let EAL learners make good use of their home language whenever possible.
If there are students in the class who speak the same home language, create authentic opportunities to allow them to draw on their home language to successfully collaborate and make meaningful contributions linguistically, conceptually, and academically.

Encourage classmates who speak the same home language to
Clarify  or discuss key concepts 
Summarise the important details about what they have just read, heard or learned 
Reflect upon the task at hand and negotiate an appropriate response 
Brainstorm (discuss, or write) ideas around a particular subject 
Quick-write as much as they can in a short amount of time about a particular subject or topic 
Complete a K-W-L activity

 To build background, increase reading skills or clarify concepts, allow EAL learners to use their home languages to
Read materials
Make notes .
Draft work 
Research a topic 
Read a task 
Create a product 

These strategies will help the EAL learner say what they towant to say without limiting themselves to the language they already know in English.
The fact that you don’t speak their language is not relevant. 
What is important is that you acknowledge a student’s  home language and recognise that it is a learning tool for them.

Make room for EAL learners' home languages as part of the learning process

Bilingualism is an asset.
Strategic use of EAL learners' home language can aid English language learning particularly in understanding vocabulary, instructions and even grammar concepts.
Watch here

Multilingual resources

In addition to multilingual videos schools can source multilingual versions of texts.
Especially useful for English classes.
Multilingual texts can be sourced on the Book Depository. 
If you don't have or can't get a home language version of a text, encourage EAL learners to
Read about the novel/film on Wikipedia in their home language
Read a graded reader of the novel
Watch the film with captions in their home language
Listen to the audio book (lots on You Tube)
Read an annotated version of the original 

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