February 12, 2011

English as an Additional Language Day

Visited a school with a high population of EAL students today. Got some general information on EAL and spent the day shadowing pupils.

Having spoken to others on this course they seem to have had the same experience, my EAL pupils spoke better English than the non-EAL pupils! When I asked about this I was told that it is because their parents don’t speak English and so need extra support. When I enquired further, it turned out that there were so many instances where EAL pupils outperformed the non-EAL pupils academically.

Maybe there’s two extremes….those who really cannot speak any English and those who can. There are tricks a teacher can use to cater for pupils who cant speak English in class – simple things really and they would go a long way.

I also realised that I may have been an EAL student! The kids I was following definitely didn’t know they were EAL. I learnt Gujarati as my first language and couldn’t really speak English until year 1. I had a group of 3 other Guajarati girls and we’d only speak to each other in our own language. It is written on my Reception report. I had not even noticed! Interesting.

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