To complement this CPD, have a look at Gererd Dixie’s Top tips for teaching EAL students (from The Ultimate Teaching Manual):
• Make sure that you carry out some basic research into the cultural and personal backgrounds of the EAL pupils in your classes.
• Ensure that these pupils are comfortable in the classroom. Have them seated in front of you so that they can easily access pictures and texts and where it is easier for you to make regular eye contact with them.
• Ensure that you start each lesson by explaining the key vocabulary being used. Make sure you provide your EAL pupils with a visual version of the glossary of terms to put into their books.
• As far as possible, allow each EAL pupil to sit next to a reliable pupil who can act as a translator.
• Identify any cultural content that may be unfamiliar to your EAL pupils and be prepared to explain this, perhaps drawing parallels with other cultures.
• Make sure that you repeat and summarize instructions and requests, but be very careful not to vary your language too much when you repeat yourself as this might result in the pupil spending unnecessary time working out if there are any differences between the two messages. Moderate your speed of delivery to meet the needs of these pupils.
• Wherever possible give practical demonstrations to your EAL pupils. Supporting your words with actions is a highly effective way of conveying a message to them. However, you do need to be highly sensitive to the fact that body language and gestures vary in meaning between cultures. In many cultures children are taught to avoid making eye contact with their elders. A thumbs up gesture in Britain, for example, symbolizes encouragement. In Bangladesh it is the equivalent of the two-finger sign.
• If you are a teacher of English, use dual textbooks where possible.
• If there is a bilingual teacher in the school who can help you, get them to produce worksheets in the pupil’s own language.
• Do not over-correct the mistakes of your EAL pupils as this will soon cause them to become demotivated. Have a specific focus when assessing pupils’ work and when setting targets.
• When you are correcting the written work of your EAL pupil, use the same colour as the pupil has used.
• Encourage risk-taking within a safe and secure environment. Create a can-do culture within the classroom and have high expectations of your EAL pupils. Expect them to succeed.
• When providing work for EAL pupils make sure that you differentiate. For example, single-word answers are acceptable from a pupil who is new to English but, with increasing experience, pupils must be encouraged to expand their answers and use full sentences.
• Find opportunities to use role play and drama.
• Make use of writing frames but only if pupils have had the opportunity to talk through their work prior to the written task.
For further ideas, check the EAL Toolkit in the N Drive!
EAL -classroom support