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EAL in Maths

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by harperceh, Jan 17, 2012.

  1. Hello all, I'm fairly new here. Read lots, post little :)
    I have a new student in my Y7 class. He's new to the country from Sri Lanka and speaks very very little English. It's set 4 out of 10. So far he seems very able, doing fantastically. He had an LSA with him for the first few lessons and has been paired with a lovely student. We were covering fractions and he was able to keep up independently, all questions right, getting through as much work as anyone else in the class. The LSA and myself agreed that he doesn't need support in Maths, but obviously I'm to monitor the situation.
    We've moved onto percentage and he is keeping up, even putting his hand and answering questions a few times. He told me he didn't understand at one point and I explained, writing down the maths, and he got it. He is very polite though and the school noted that he will smile and nod even if he doesn't understand - but this doesn't seem to be a problem yet.
    I'm an NQT and although I've had a lot of experience with SEN, EAL is new to me. I was wondering if anyone had any tips or good ideas for helping him. He seems to be very able in maths, but we're not sure how much English he understands so I'm making sure to write very very clear examples and have people copy them, instead of relying more on talking through (Obviously I've always given examples, but copying's usually unnesesary for this class). I was considering giving him a mini-whiteboard so if I need to explain more I can write on that instead of jotting things in his book.
    As I said he is doing very well so far, but any pointers or things to consider would be very well recieved.
    To pre-emt any critisism of my spelling, I am dyslexic and my checking software seems incompatible with this forum, unfortunately.
  2. afterdark

    afterdark Lead commenter

    Improve his vocabulary of mathematical words by all methods possible. Wordsearches are nice as little extras. You can make them online.
    is quite nice.
    He will need to become fluent in listening for and saying our numbers and the names of our operations.
    I found that the electronic version of the COED is very useful for this as it has the recieved pronunciation.
    It may help to have him convert worded questions to mathematical symbols.
    There are some nice tasks at level 3 on 10 ticks that practice words to numerals and visa versa. Times table songs help as well.
    Good luck.
  3. pwc9000

    pwc9000 New commenter

    Is set 4 of 10 the right place for him?
  4. in y7 with little english, he has plenty of time to work his way up through the sets
    worth keeping a beady eye on that, but to move him up too fast, resulting in his lack of english knocking his confidence in his maths, wouldn't be great
  5. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Agree - I don't know on what basis he's been placed in your set, but it might be worth doing a little more to find out what he can do. Some topics can be fairly easily tested without language: number, algebra, missing angles, area (____cm^2 will probably be enough instruction). I used to keep a special EAL new pupil test, plus an extra page of level 7/8 algebra for any who looked as if they recognised it (Chinese, Koreans...). It also included a symmetry question, to see if they recognised it - many countries seem to do very little symmetry.
    Some topics are easier to cope with than others - I had one lad arrived when we were doing probability, which had more words than most. I told the lad next to him to allow him to copy - looking to see what he'd put for the first few allowed him to work out what was going on.
    If his maths is up to being in a higher set, he shouldn't be kept down on language grounds - he'll pick it up soon enough.


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