English as an Additional Language

Teacher's guide to EAL



Over the past few years (especially since the enlargement of the European Union in 2004), schools across the country have welcomed New Arrivals from various countries and have increased their own capacity of dealing with English as an Additional Language (EAL).



In 2007, guidance has been released to support schools with a variety of EAL issues in terms of newly arrived learners in both primary and secondary schools. The guidance, titled New Arrivals Excellence Programme (NAEP), includes teaching strategies, a self-evaluation, advice on how to build robust admission procedures, as well as tips and ideas for sustainable induction for new-comers. It is a highly recommended read - OfSTED use the same materials for their inspections:


To download a copy, follow the link: https://public.rgfl.org/EAL/Pages/NewArrivals.aspx



Key principles (quoted from NAEP):

ü  Every child in a school has an entitlement to fulfil their potential through access to the National Curriculum.

ü  This is best achieved within a whole-school context where pupils are educated with their peers.

ü  Children and young people learn best when they feel secure and valued.

ü  Schools need to ensure that there is a process to support the integration of new arrivals.

ü  All schools have a responsibility to promote race equality in line with the requirements of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act (2000).

ü  Schools should focus on the positive contributions made by new arrivals and mobile pupils.

ü  Provision for pupils should be based on a meaningful assessment of their prior knowledge and experience as well as their language proficiency.

ü  Support needs to be made available for parents/carers of new arrivals to familiarise themselves with the new education system of which their child is now part.


You may have noticed that these key principles suggest a slightly different approach to the integration of New Arrivals than the traditional one where pupils are withdrawn for unlimited periods of time, without the opportunity to mix with peers. We have also seen a move from trying to get support through a Teaching Assistant that speaks the language of the child; currently, the focus is on communicating (without the language) with the child, irrespective of their mother tongue. Even students with virtually no English can be taught in mainstream. Successful teachers use careful planning (effective differentiation) and engaging delivery (gestures, visual support, modelling, etc.) to enable EAL learners to access lessons.


Good practice for welcoming your New Arrival (NA) – what should I do when I have a new-comer?

 ü  Designate a senior member of staff as a key contact (if you have an EAL department, they may have already done this, so you just need to liaise with them);

ü  Allocate a trained peer ‘buddy’ or ‘mentor’ who will look after the pupil at break and meal times and explain school routines. The Buddy doesn’t always have to be a pupil who speaks the NA’s language – you could also train sympathetic English pupils who can act as positive role models;

ü  Assess pupils’ level of English through information gathered from a wide variety of sources; this should include school reports from schools outside the UK and first language assessments, if possible. Written formal tests (like CATs, for instance) are unlikely to accurately reflect the potential of a pupil new to the English education system.

 Any assessment done should aim at identifying what the child can do, as well as highlighting gaps (area a teacher can build on).

 For more on Initial Assessment, check the link: you will also find 2 examples of assessment tools you can use: https://public.rgfl.org/EAL/Pages/InitialAssessment.aspx

 ü  Place pupils appropriately avoiding lower groups or sets because of a perceived lack of English; sometimes, it is recommended that NA be placed in higher-level sets to ensure they have access to good language-models;

ü  When allocating new arrivals to a new class, consider class size and gender balance, whether there is a same-language speaker in the class, support provided during class periods, gender of class teacher and supportive nature of the class.

ü  Be flexible when timetabling as it may be necessary to change timetables soon after a new arrival has started once further initial assessments have been carried out by the subject teacher or EMA teacher.

ü  Ensure that tracking and monitoring systems are in place so that the progress of new arrivals is carefully followed. Even if an Initial Assessment was carried out (either by you or by the EAL specialist), this will give you an indication of the child’s ability to speak English, and not their ability in relation to individual curriculum areas. To prove progress for EAL learners who are new-to-English, teachers are not advised just to record W – instead, if the learners are not Level 1, National Curriculum level (you may be able to use Assessing Pupil Progress), devise your own assessment criteria to be able to demonstrate progression.

ü  Set short-term social and academic targets to enable the school to monitor early progress and alert staff to potential difficulties.

ü  Plan a review meeting with the relevant parties, a few weeks after the new arrival has started; this will give you an opportunity to discuss/clarify any issues that may result in the pupil not making expected progress or settling into the life of the school. The pupil and parents can clarify concerns and ask questions. This would also enable school staff to identify further support that the family might need. After each review, identify appropriate intervention and communicate what you’re trying to achieve with the pupil, their parents, as well as the other teachers.

        For examples of review pro-formas you can use to find out teacher’s perspectives, check the link: you will find different ones for KS3 and KS4:   https://public.rgfl.org/EAL/Pages/ReviewofNewArrivals.aspx

 ü  Monitor and review pupils’ learning progress closely and frequently to alert staff to potential ability or difficulty.

 The induction of the New Arrival

If you have an EAL department, they are likely to lead on the Induction of the NA. If you don’t, you need to think about the settling-in period: who is going to be the key contact, are learners going to be withdrawn for focused language intervention, who is going to conduct the sessions, who is going to explain to the NA the rules and expectations of the their new school, etc.

 An important factor to consider at this stage as well is the engagement of parents. Families coming from other countries may have very limited understanding of the education system. For example, in some Eastern European countries, the assessment system is totally different to the English one - you may need to explain to them that there are 3 assessment points, that teachers use the student planner as a means of communicating with parents (and that they have to check it regularly, etc.).

 It is a very good idea to create your own New Arrival Pack containing things like:

  • details of your school (where it is, telephone numbers, what it specialises on, courses on offer, facilities, lunch arrangements, strengths, etc.)
  • annual diary (when the day starts and ends, how long each period is, how many breaks there are; when holidays begin and end, when you have INSET days);
  • home-school agreement detailing responsibilities and rights on both sides; this is a good time to clarify expectations in terms of attendance, behaviour, homework, extra-curricular activities, etc.
  • summary of English Education System: KS3 – expectations in terms of progress, subject choices, etc; the same for KS4, together with a simple explanation of what GCSE are, how many are needed, etc.

It is vital teachers don’t limit the NA’s life opportunities by encouraging them to go for more practical GCSEs because of limited English. Good practice dictates a conversation with parents will take place to establish what their hopes are for the NA, what the NA wants to do in terms of future job and then, together, agree the best support to enable the NA to reach their full potential (they may want to go for more challenging subjects, but they may need enhanced support, either in-class, as part of a mentoring programme, or extended homework);

  • key contacts if they need to call/visit school;
  • support they are able to access through school – English lessons, coffee mornings, etc.;
  • support they can access locally (advice centres, benefits offices, local surgeries, local community groups, parenting advisory services, etc.)


Induction courses – things to keep in mind

When planning to develop an induction course for newly arrived pupils at secondary level, it is important to note the following requirements:

  • Induction courses require a clear, shared rationale (why are you withdrawing the NA and do the other teachers know what you are trying to do?);
  • Courses should be time limited (specify how many weeks you are going to have this intervention);
  • There should be clear entry and exit procedures (in other words, you should have a clear intervention plan, with clear targets);
  • There should be detailed, accurate baseline assessment;
  • Progress should be monitored continuously and end of course assessments should shared with mainstream teachers;
  • Intended outcomes of the course should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time scaled);
  • The programme should be delivered by teachers with a sound understanding of second language acquisition;
  • As part of a review of provision, pupils should be consulted to judge their post-course satisfaction;
  • The course should be supported by strong leadership from the senior management team;
  • The course should be directly linked to learning in the National Curriculum to avoid de-contextualised language activities (whatever the NA does during induction should prepare them for mainstream; you could have taster sessions for Maths, for instance, where they learn basic key words in Maths; or you could go outside and have a geography lesson where you point and say key word sin Geography: sky, soil, grass, etc.);
  • Parents should be informed of the provision and the outcomes in an accessible manner
  • Pupils’ achievements should be celebrated and rewarded.

 Teaching EAL pupils

 DCSF developed the following core principles in relation to all learners (these are strongly aligned to the five expectations outlined in Every Child Matters, 2003):

  • Ensure that every learner succeeds: set high expectations;
  • Make learning of subjects and the curriculum real and vivid;
  • Make learning enjoyable and challenging: stimulate learning through matching teaching techniques to a range of learning needs;
  • Develop learning skills, thinking skills and personal qualities across the curriculum, inside and outside the classroom;
  • Build on what the learners already know: structure and pace teaching so that they can understand what is to be learned, how and why;
  • Use Assessment for Learning to make individuals partners in their learning.

The same principles apply when you teach EAL learners; the challenge is to find appropriate ways to meet these principles.

 Firstly, if helps if you are aware of potential barriers EAL may encounter. Typical difficulties experienced may include:

  • learning EAL;
  • finding it difficult to adjust to life in a new country;
  • coming from a radically different system (so the new system is quite bewildering);
  • being very bright, but not being able to express oneself and show their ability, hence teachers will give the NA low level work which frustrates the learner;
  • understanding the different expectations of pedagogy and school routines (if they are used to different rules, they may not realise when they are not doing what is expected as standard in most English schools; for instance, in some countries, uniform is not obligatory; being late is not monitored, so there are no consequences to going to a lesson late);
  • feeling insecure or traumatised due to prior experiences;
  • frustration because of inability to access lesson (little or inappropriate differentiation);
  • experiencing isolation;
  • separation from one or both parents or other family members;
  • no previous schooling or an interrupted educational history;
  • not seeing their culture, language, experiences, valued or reflected around the school or in the classroom;
  • not having decided to move (usually, children see it as the parents’ decision), which leads to undermining the whole experience: “I hate it here”- reaction;
  • facing racism in or out of school;
  • difficult home situation (housing, finances, etc.)


You may find it useful to try and learn a few key words in the language spoken by the NA: google “before you know it” – you can download (for free) flashcards in various languages.

 Alternatively, check the Resources section on our website:  https://public.rgfl.org/EAL/Documents/Forms/AllItems.aspx?RootFolder=https%3a%2f%2fpublic%2ergfl%2eorg%2fEAL%2fDocuments%2fResources&FolderCTID=0x012000D66AF24175662D49A6E86300801D549E

 Irrespective of what subject you teach, you may find it useful to be aware of the NASSEA steps (this can be seen as an equivalent of APP for pupils whose performance is below National Curriculum Level 1) – check  https://public.rgfl.org/EAL/Pages/NASSEASteps.aspx

 The NASSEA steps give you an indication of the level of English a NA may have, which will help you plan appropriately (you will know the words/phrases they are likely to understand so you can use those in your teaching). The Pupil Assessment Record found on the website (see link above) helps English Teachers (or EAL co-ordinators) to track progress in terms of English language acquisition. If you teach another subject, you will have to have your own means of evidencing progress in your subject area (if you have APP – Assessing Pupil Progress, that will give you a good framework for tracking progression).  

 Effective strategies for supporting new-to-English learners:

  • The 'buddy system' often works well (find a sympathetic pupil who can help the EAL learner);
  • Always use visual support wherever possible – pictures, photographs, pictorial dictionaries, real objects, drawings, diagrams; always write instructions/things down (seeing the words helps the EAL learner);
  • Pictorial dictionaries are usually an excellent resource and many have accompanying vocabulary activity books;
  • Face the pupil whenever you are talking to him/her and expect him/her to watch you carefully;
  • Speak in a clear voice using straightforward sentences;
  • Avoid rapid speech and figurative or idiomatic expressions;
  • Make a point of speaking to the pupil every session, even though s/he may not appear to understand;
  • Allow time for the pupil to process what you have said: repeat the sentence if this is unsuccessful; only re-phrase if this does not seem to be working;
  • Include the pupil in class lessons from the very first day – these allow him/her to acquire vital listening comprehension and speaking skills;
  • Some pupils go through a 'silent period' as they tune into a new language (although they don’t seem to engage, in actual fact they are constantly learning – absorbing routines, what you do, what the other children do, etc.);
  • Using the pupil's first language in order to record work is particularly useful for older pupils (let them write things down in their preferred language – then they can translate their notes into English)
  • Concentrate on talk (anyone new to a language will need to listen to others speak it, then they begin to understand; reading and writing are the last to be mastered); be mindful not to ask pupils to write extended sentences in English, even before they can say them; 
  • Reading activities are an excellent way of engaging bilingual pupils;
  • Phonic work has a very limited value at this stage and should be confined to looking at words already in the pupil's vocabulary.



Even EAL pupils that are new-to-English can be taught in mainstream, but teachers need to differentiate their lessons carefully. The 2009 OfSTED framework placed increased focus on adaptations made to support all groups represented in the classroom, to ensure everybody accesses the lessons and progresses their learning.

 Example 1 and Example 2 (below) are examples of a differentiated worksheet. You will notice that some of the ways the worksheet has been differentiated are by:

ü  careful consideration of key words that are then illustrated through pictures;

ü  giving plenty of examples;

ü  scaffolding through modelling (show how) or through offering steps learners have to go through (how do I get there – what are the things I need to consider: example: if you are asking the EAL learner to write a news item about something that happened at school, you could scaffold that by saying: I want you to consider: WHO was involved? WHAT happened? WHEN did the event happen? – this will enable the learner to address your WILF and achieve.


Inclusive teaching style – another type of differentiation

 However, most often than not, effective delivery is at the heart of a successful lesson: teachers use questioning effectively (re-phrasing in simpler terms, if needed, asking open questions, writing things down, giving EAL learner time to re-hearse an answer, being encouraging and inviting, training students to take risks and feel safe to try and express themselves, offering incentives to EAL learners to contribute, incentives to English pupils to be good Buddies, etc.).

 The NAEP makes the following points when it comes to differentiation. “Teachers need to begin by identifying the language that children new-to-English require to actively participate in the lesson. This could be verb tenses, language structures, vocabulary – or any combination of these. Once the language demands of the lesson or specific activities have been identified, teachers need to plan how they will model that language in a supportive context, scaffolding children’s understanding. Teachers will then need to plan opportunities for children new-to- English to use the identified language.         

 Tasks that enable children new-to-English to attach meaning to language are those that will most support them in developing their English language skills. When planning for these children, teachers might want to consider how to incorporate the following approaches:

  • anticipating language that might create difficulties, such as language structures and tenses and planning how it will be introduced;
  • providing models of the language the child will be expected to use, both oral and written – either by the teacher or by other children;
  • identifying vocabulary that might create barriers to understanding and teach it explicitly;
  • encouraging the use of a bilingual dictionary for a child who is literate in the first language, and encouraging the child to develop their own dual language dictionary;
  • using the child’s abilities in their home language, pairing them with a confident speaker of their home language if appropriate/possible; if not, encourage them to do extended writing task in home language first and then they can translate it;
  • using AfL processes to gauge children’s previous knowledge at the start of any new unit of work and continuing to assess understanding on a regular basis;
  • ensuring that there are elements of every task or activity at which children new to English will be able to succeed;
  • using visuals, actions and real objects as much as possible to support meaning;
  • using active tasks such as card sorting, transferring to grids, role-play and drama;
  • using practical tasks as much as possible, ensuring that someone speaks to the child about what they are doing to support them in attaching meaning to language;
  • varying the activities in a lesson so that concentration is maintained and the same language is encountered in a range of contexts;
  • respecting the need of children who are going through a ‘silent period’ to assimilate the language before speaking it, providing them with opportunities to use visual and practical rather than oral responses to demonstrate understanding;
  • ensuring that speaking and listening activities are planned for specifically, with scaffolding for children learning EAL (ensure careful selection of talk partners);
  • repeating instructions, key phrases and questions to increase familiarity;
  • summarising key points in simple sentences;
  • ensuring that reading materials are geared to the child’s interest and maturity levels as well as their ability to read in English.” (NAEP, page 22)

 Teaching vocabulary

Vocabulary is one of the key language features for EAL learners and will be the starting point for many children new to English. Enabling these children to develop an understanding of new vocabulary is a process that occurs over time and requires numerous encounters.

 To teach new vocabulary, teachers will need to:

v  model it in context (show them);

v  prompt for it and elicit it (ask them if they remember);

v  draw attention to it and use it in other contexts (point it out when encountered again at a later stage);

v  display it (give them a visual anchor for it);

v  provide meaningful opportunities for children to practise it (something that they will have to engage with so that they will remember – for example, if they learn about money, let them use real money; if they learn about vegetables, let them use role play pretending they are at the market with lots of different fruit, etc.).

Where possible, teachers should also support children in making connections to similar vocabulary in their first language.

 Enabling access to the curriculum and developing additional language – effective strategies for the classroom (NAEP pages 23 onwards)

 The key to success is to build on the child’s previous knowledge and understanding and scaffold new learning.

 Building on previous experience

Good teachers will find out of identifying what children already know/can do, and will plan learning experiences that extend hat learning. Because newly arrived children will have come from a variety of backgrounds and knowledge, activating prior knowledge is a way to draw on their experiences and bring their cultures and backgrounds into the classroom.

 Prior knowledge comes from more than children’s backgrounds, though. It may simply be what children have learned in the previous lesson. It may also come from a shared experience created by the teacher.

 There are a number of strategies for activating prior knowledge. These include:

  1. artefacts and pictures – visual prompts are particularly effective for activating prior knowledge in newly arrived children who have little English. The artefacts or pictures provide a stimulus that unlocks knowledge children may have not realised they have. Allow time for discussion in pairs or groups as children explore their ideas around the visual prompt;
  2. concept maps – these enable learners to represent ideas that are linked together in some way, visually displaying the categorisation. They can be given to children with the headings already on them or the headings can evolve as contributions around the main subject are added. Concept maps with pictures can be particularly supportive of children new to English;
  3. KWL grids – used at the beginning of a topic, project or lesson, these grids are divided into what children know, what they want to know and, to be completed at the end of a project, topic or piece of research, what they have learned.

 Being able to use the first language is another way of keying in to previous knowledge for children new to English.

Scaffolding language and learning

Scaffolding can take place through various means:

v  scaffolding by adults;

v  scaffolding through planned opportunities for speaking and listening through collaborative work and encouraging the use of the whole language repertoire for learning;

v  scaffolding through visual support and use of ICT.

 Scaffolding by adults encompasses a number of areas. These include:

  • modelling and demonstration;
  • recasting and remodelling children’s language;
  • guided talk, guided reading and guided writing;
  • ensuring that EAL learners understand what is expected of them;
  • focused feedback and explicit praise.

 Modelling and guiding by adults and peers

Vygotsky’s work speaks of ‘internalising dialogue’ and the strategy of modelling is based on this concept. Modelling is the demonstration of key learning strategies that scaffold children’s learning and take them from what they already know into new learning. Quite simply, modelling incorporates what to do, how to do it and what to say or write in order to do it.

 Once they have identified the language demands of a lesson, teachers need to model this language within the context of the lesson. They then need to provide opportunities for EAL learners to use this language.

 Modelling goes beyond formal strategies however. In fact, anyone more expert than the child can provide modelling. Therefore, children who are good role models of English can model language for EAL learners in situations such as during collaborative work, as talk partners and even in the playground.

 Modelling for EAL learners incorporates placing the language required alongside the demonstration of learning strategies, thus attaching meaning to the language being used.

 Modelling can also be extended to incorporate strategies such as recasting or remodelling the utterances of EAL learners. Recasting a corrected form of what the child has said deals with errors in a positive way and also offers the opportunity for the child to extend his speech.

 When a child says we goed to the park the adult acknowledges the successful communication but also models the correct form you went to the park... did you go with your brothers?

Recasting can also be used to extend the vocabulary of children learning EAL as an additional language, nudging them from their comfort zone.

 Guided talk

Guided talk is based on the concept of children being guided through a sequence of tasks and/or discussions with a focus on specific language.

 Guided talk provides the opportunity for EAL children to:

  • rehearse specific language forms that have been modelled by proficient speakers;
  • use language purposefully;
  • use extended stretches of language;
  • use new subject-specific vocabulary in meaningful contexts;
  • interact with others.

 Guided talk can take the form of:

a)    guided group work – the group works with an adult who guides the learning through a planned sequence of tasks and discussions. It provides the opportunity to listen to and use specific language;

b)    guided talk for literacy – these sessions can form part of the teaching sequence for writing, creating a bridge between shared writing and independent writing where children orally rehearse their writing;

Activities could include describing pictures and objects, giving and following instructions, retelling familiar stories and news telling. There is an emphasis on specific praise and specific prompts to extend children’s range of English.

 Guided talk uses the strategies of pause, prompt and praise by the adult. Children are allowed time to organise their thoughts, to construct how they will express these thoughts and to self-correct linguistic errors (eg “Do you want to try that again?”). Children are prompted through the modelling of the appropriate form of

grammar or vocabulary for that particular purpose. Alternatively, teachers might ask children to think of a different way of saying it.

Specific praise, which explicitly focuses on the speaking behaviour, vocabulary or structures used by the child, is another important element of guided talk.

 Scaffolding through planned opportunities for speaking and listening

 Speaking and listening should be one of the cornerstones of learning in any classroom. It is also a strategy that is particularly supportive of EAL learners.

 Speaking and listening is different from reading and writing in a number of ways, the prime one being that talk is constructed collaboratively. It is the collaborative nature of talk that extends EAL learners’ abilities, both in comprehending input and constructing output.

 Some of the distinctive features of listening and speaking for EAL learners are:

  • visual linksobjects in the environment can be used to clarify meaning. This is particularly supportive of new-to-English pupils;
  • non-verbal communicationfacial expressions, intonation and gestures can also support understanding in speaking and listening;
  • reference wordswords such as ‘this’ or ‘that’ can be used in place of the actual vocabulary. This supports early speaking by new-to-English children;
  • clarificationchildren can ask for immediate clarification if there is something they don’t understand;
  • flexibilitysentence structures and grammatical features are less strictly adhered to in speaking and listening than they are in written texts;
  • repetitionideas are often repeated, yet described in different ways, therefore extending the language of the EAL learner.

 Listening will be the primary focus for many pupils new-to-English in the early stages of English acquisition. Teachers need to ensure that children are provided with the scaffolding they require in order to attach meaning to the language they are hearing.

 Planned opportunities for listening and speaking are provided in a number of ways:

    1. whole-class sessions for speaking and listening;
    2. extended dialogue between adults and children;
    3. paired talk;
    4. guided talk;
    5. exploratory talk in small groups;
    6. communicative activities such as barrier games.

 See Creating the learning culture: making it work in the classroom (DfES 2133-2006DCL-EN)

 Paired talk

Many children feel uncomfortable speaking in a whole-class situation and for EAL learners, particularly those new-to-English, this can be especially daunting. The use of talk or response partners encourages all the children in the class to explore ideas, opinions and planning with a designated partner.

 Paired talk as a strategy is particularly supportive of EAL learners in that it provides them with adequate time for thinking and mental rehearsal, enabling them to formulate not only their ideas, but also the language they require to articulate their thoughts.

 EAL learners should be paired with children who provide good role models of English. It may also be useful to pair an EAL learner with a more proficient speaker of English who also shares their language.

 Paired talk can be scaffolded and supported in various ways:

ü  Children use whiteboards to jot down their ideas.

ü  Children use sticky notes to record and contribute thoughts and ideas.

ü  Children record their ideas using pictures or diagrams.

ü  Children use speaking frames to prompt key words and phrases.

ü  Children use their first language to explore ideas and then translate the ideas into English.

ü  Teachers ensure that adequate time is allowed for thinking and mental rehearsal.

 Collaborative learning

Collaboration, in pairs or in groups, enhances learning for all children, but there are additional benefits for children learning EAL. Some of these benefits are as follows:

  • EAL learners hear more language, a greater variety of language and have more language directed towards them.
  • EAL learners interact more with other speakers.
  • Language is heard and used meaningfully for a particular purpose.
  • Similar ideas are often expressed in a variety of ways. Asking questions, exchanging information and solving problems all provide a context where words are repeated, ideas are rephrased, problems are restated and meanings are refined. This supports comprehension.
  • The need to get information or clarify meaning increases the opportunities for EAL learners to ask questions that genuinely seek new information.
  • Children who are not confident in English often feel more comfortable when working with peers.
  • Occasional collaborative work with peers who share the language enables children to use their whole language repertoire for learning.

 Collaborative learning creates a socially and linguistically supportive situation where EAL learners can engage in cognitively demanding activities. It is distinctive from group work in that it is based on ‘thinking aloud’ and requires the interaction of all involved to produce a specific output.

 ‘One important view of learning, based on the ideas of Lev Vygotsky, is that inexperienced learners learn from working with more expert others. Working with a more experienced person, the inexperienced learner can achieve more than they could working on their own – they are ‘scaffolded’ by the expertise of the other. Gradually, the learner takes over more and more of the task from the expert until they can do it without assistance. They are then ready to take on new, more challenging learning, again scaffolded by an expert. Thus, they continue to move from dependence to independence, constantly increasing their own expertise. Vygotsky claimed this was how children learned naturally within societies and families.’

Excellence and enjoyment: learning and teaching in the primary years, Creating a learning culture: conditions for learning (DfES 0523-2004G)

Scaffolding through visual support and use of ICT

All children learning EAL will benefit from the use of visuals. These can take the form of pictures, objects, diagrams, mind maps, plans, writing frames and graphic organisers. Visuals can reduce the amount of language content while still retaining cognitive demand. They can also support children in constructing talk or text through providing prompts and scaffolds.

 ICT offers a range of possibilities for scaffolding learning and English language acquisition. Activities based around ICT are generally inherently motivational and can provide an impetus for reluctant learners.

 Some examples of ICT that have proven to be effective with EAL learners are:

ü  Problem solvingone of the most effective uses of ICT in the classroom is to use it as a focus to engage EAL learners in exploratory talk. Exploratory talk is based around problem solving and is designed to include all the members of a group in the decision-making process. Some examples of encouraging exploratory talk would be children in a group using evidence obtained from the Internet to solve a particular problem or children working together with specific software designed to elicit problem solving.

ü  Interactive whiteboardsthe implementation of interactive whiteboards in classrooms creates a tremendous opportunity to present learning in a more visual way. Whether through visual literacy, manipulative mathematics or simply pictures that support content, the visual and interactive nature of interactive whiteboards can be used to effectively scaffold learning for EAL learners.

ü  Writing programmesthese provide another type of scaffolding for children learning EAL.  Some EAL children are in the process of developing their writing skills, but EAL learners have the additional difficulty of acquiring the language to write in the appropriate language register and writing genre. This is far more demanding than simply conversing in English. There are various programmes designed to scaffold writing. Some are based around sentence construction while others provide pictures that can be constructed into illustrations for both fictional and non-fictional texts to support planning for writing.

ü  Mind mapping softwarethis can be used in a whole-class situation, groups, pairs or individually for children to organise their thoughts on a particular topic. This could be in preparation for speaking, writing or even simply researching.

ü  Web queststhese guide children to procure specific information from designated sites. Children working together offers the opportunity for focused speaking and listening at a cognitively demanding level.

ü  Camcordersthese can be used for a range of purposes, from putting together a presentation about a particular subject or topic (such as a film providing information for new arrivals) to being used to record performances developed by children for the purpose (such as drama, music and so on).

 Working with additional staff

There will be marked regional differences in terms of the support available for working with newly arrived pupils in the classroom. Some schools will have an EMA team or specialist on the staff; others may have a small number of TAs and some schools in more isolated areas may need to access support from a central EMA team or to network and share resources with other schools.

 Working with another adult in the classroom requires clear planning of respective roles. To maximise the effectiveness of working with a (bilingual) TA, the teacher and support staff will need to plan together. If you have the opportunity to work in a regular partnership (subject teacher and EMA specialist) the best outcomes for all pupils will be achieved when both teachers:

v  plan together the aims, objectives and learning outcomes for the lesson; if, because of time-factors, it is impossible for you to plan together, at least ensure they are involved in the process (perhaps via emailing your planning/schemes of work) so they are aware of your objectives, etc.

v  agree the different roles each will take in the lesson;

v  decide in advance who is responsible for starter, delivery of lesson, plenary, praise, discipline;

v  decide who will make or adapt materials for the lesson;

v  decide in advance who will be responsible for setting and marking homework;

v  decide who will be responsible for monitoring which individuals or groups of pupils;

v  build in time to evaluate the lesson and plan next steps in learning.


 Tip: if you rest your mousse on the link, press CTRL + Click, it will take you straight to the page.

 The websites are not in a particular order and it is suggested you browse through the ones you find interesting. The ones classed as “recommended” are probably the most versatile ones (could be used for different levels), but you may find your own favourites:



-          reading stories, activities on comprehension, you could make a story as well, etc. : http://www.britishcouncil.org/kids.htm

-          booklets to download – mainly for higher level English: http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/download/books.shtml

http://www.mes-english.com/ - excellent website with flashcards, games, powerpoints, etc; you can create your own worksheets/dice/flashcards/certificates, etc.

- To create your own handwriting worksheets, try: http://www.writingwizard.longcountdown.com/multi-word_handwriting_worksheet_maker.html

- To create your own handouts: http://www.toolsforeducators.com/handouts/

- To create your own flashcards: http://www.mes-english.com/flashcards/feelings.php - lots of flashcards, worksheets, dice maker, etc.

 ROTHERHAM LOCAL AUTHORITY SITE: https://public.rgfl.org/EAL/Pages/NewArrivals.aspx - lots of resources if you want to set up systems of supporting your New Arrivals (examples of Initial Assessment packs, Induction Plans, Pupil Assessment Records, resources in various languages, etc.)


http://www.blss.portsmouth.sch.uk/resources/index.shtml  - resources across the curriculum, board games, intercultural resources (welcome poster in various languages, etc.)

 http://thornwood.peelschools.org/Dual/index.htm - stories written by other new-to-English learners (some are bilingual) – useful to encourage reading for your EAL learners (they can read about someone’s experiences in similar circumstances) – you could also use this as a model for encouraging your own EAL learners to write their own stories

 DICTIONARY ONB LINE:  various languages of the world: http://www.yourdictionary.com/languages.html

 BIRMINGHAM GRID FOR LEARNING: various resources – may need adapting for EAL – cross-curricular. : http://www.bgfl.org/index.cfm?s=1&m=217&p=124,index

 ACTIVITIES FOR EAL: grammar, crosswords, bilingual quizzes, games, etc.: http://a4esl.org/

 IMAGES: google pictures or images and introduce new vocab that way. 

NB: Google also has an incorporated dictionary – see Google, Tools, Language

 http://www.collaborativelearning.org/recent.html ; some useful resources (drama, English): http://www.collaborativelearning.org/englishfictiononline.html

 http://www.qca.org.uk/qca_7526.aspx - QCDA view of who is a New Arrival, what schools should do, etc.

 http://www.emaonline.org.uk/ema/ - some useful resources, but not all are free

http://www.myguide.gov.uk/myguide/html/learning/learning/visitorcoursedescriptions/tasteofenglish/shell.html  - A Taste of English is an interactive resource that helps learners revise their basic words (house, flat, garden, etc.)

 http://www.blss.portsmouth.sch.uk/sitemap.shtml - resources, key documents, etc.

http://www.qca.org.uk/qca_5739.aspx  - assessing EAL students (A Language in common – assessing EAL = this is the key document that most assessment tools will use as reference when deciding how to monitor progression, etc.) If you go to the Rotherham LA website (https://public.rgfl.org/EAL/Pages/NASSEASteps.aspx ), the Pupil Assessment record you can find there already incorporates the main principles of the document mentioned above

 http://www.uel.ac.uk/education/research/duallanguagebooks/  - using dual language books; also, you can see lots of ideas that other teachers like when it comes to multilingual resources:  http://www.uel.ac.uk/education/research/duallanguagebooks/resources.htm

 http://www.naldic.org.uk/docs/resources/featured.cfm - ass. of national development of language curriculum; lots of freebies too (resources in Polish, Romanian, Lithuanian) : http://www.littlelearner.eu/freebies.htm

 www.emteconline.co.uk. Resources for various subjects (art, history, numeracy, literacy, lots of picture key cards)

 http://www.primaryresources.co.uk/letters/ - standard letters translated into various languages (look at the English version to check what letters say)

 www.naldic.org.uk – the site of National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum: you can find research relating to EAL, resources, etc.

 http://www.byki.com/fls/FLS.html - free downloads of a few basic lists (flashcards, recordings, etc.) in various languages – good to use either for English staff to learn key words in various languages, or, for pupils who are literate in their own language and can learn basic English by comparing it to their own language

 www.schoolslinks.co.uk free dual language signs.

 http://www.mantralingua.com/home.php - lots of resources for New Arrivals, but not free: CD-ROMs, talking pens, posters, books, etc.

  http://www3.hants.gov.uk/education/ema/ema-resource/ema-resource-packs.htm - background info books and translated words for wide range of languages each about £4.00

http://www.logosdictionary.com/pls/dictionary/new_dictionary.home_project?pjCode=10&lang=en&u_code=4395  = multilingual dictionary for children FREE

 http://www.teachers.tv/video/3077 = teacher’s TV video on EAL (case study of a school – how they accommodated their New Arrivals – may be useful to use with colleagues)

 http://www.mothertonguebooks.co.uk/shop/albanian-bilingual-books-8-to-11-years.shtml - bilingual books

 http://www.rong-chang.com/kids.htm - online reading for kids

 http://www.eslfast.com/ - online reading books for Step 3 (and above) (option of dictionary on the screen)

 http://www.elllo.org/english/Points.htm - mini talks in English (you can listen to a mini session and then you have to answer a question about what you’ve listened to)


 [I1] The worksheet has been kept as similar to the non-differentiated one, as possible

 [I2] Language is very simple – stripped down to instructions (what do you want the learner to do?) Remember: if you are to learn a different language, what sentences/words are you likely to know? It’s the same principle here

 [I3] Using the word”number” and then using examples of numbers to offer a link for learners to realise what count means. This can be re-enforced verbally when you give instructions

 [I4]Offer EAL pupils the sentences (they may know what they have to do, but they may not know how to phrase the question- that’s where they need your help).

 [I5]Offer visual support wherever possible

 [I6]Offer lots of examples – they may not know the word “country” but they may know India, China, Poland, etc. (so they can make the link)

 [I7] You can teach new words by explaining what they are and then using examples

 [I8] Offer examples in sentences when you introduce a word that may be new/unfamiliar to them

 [I9]Teaching vocabulary by labelling: pupils can either use a dictionary, or they can ask English classmates what the words mean. The trick is not to give the pupils the opportunity to guess the words

 [I10]Check the comprehension of a text by asking pupils to choose the correct word (this type of exercise is easier for the EAL – they can see the words, the sentences have simple words/phrasing – this type of AfL activity is more suited than questioning, especially after long reading activities)

 [I11] Create opportunities for independent writing, in case you have pupils who may want to venture to write on their own (it depends on how confident they feel)

 [I12]Another way of checking/developing vocabulary is ticking the words they see (by writing the words they can choose from, you are scaffolding, not spoon-feeding them; the pupils still have to think about their choices (they can’t guess the words) 

 [I13]New-to-English pupils need a lot of support with sentence construction; the support here is given by the fact that you choose very simple words, you have written the sentences for them (though they are in sections), and, you vary the difficulty: number 1 is easier than number 2. All the sentences relate to the text you are reading (about frogs), and depending on how the pupils do, you will have an idea of whether they can follow the story or not

 [I14]True and False activities are another way of checking comprehension. In this case, the teacher wants to see if the pupils can follow the text they are reading. The sentences chosen are very clear (most pupils learn colours at the very beginning, so they are likely to know words like “green;” most pupils know “dead” rather than “not alive.” As a rule of thumb, try to think what words you would be likely to know if you started learning another language, like French or German.

 Ramona Fletcher

Curriculum Adviser

Ethnic Minority Achievement


Tel: 01709 740 226