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Help with EAL child in my class

Discussion in 'Primary' started by davidjones123, Jan 26, 2011.

  1. davidjones123

    davidjones123 New commenter

    Hi all,

    I have a new EAL child in my class who I am trying to encourage to be more confident when speaking English. His parents are concerned that he is behind his peers (which he is in terms of language but not with work ethic, behaviour and everything else) but they would like to build his confidence and get him using more English at home and at school. However, I am really stuck on what I can do here. I was thinking reward charts, little extra homework, more reading stories, lots of praise but I am not an expert in EAL so I would be really grateful if anyone could recommend things I could do or resources I could use.

    Please help, this child is a star and I want him to achieve!
    Cheers
    Dave
     
  2. davidjones123

    davidjones123 New commenter

    Hi all,

    I have a new EAL child in my class who I am trying to encourage to be more confident when speaking English. His parents are concerned that he is behind his peers (which he is in terms of language but not with work ethic, behaviour and everything else) but they would like to build his confidence and get him using more English at home and at school. However, I am really stuck on what I can do here. I was thinking reward charts, little extra homework, more reading stories, lots of praise but I am not an expert in EAL so I would be really grateful if anyone could recommend things I could do or resources I could use.

    Please help, this child is a star and I want him to achieve!
    Cheers
    Dave
     
  3. Hello!
    What age is the child?
    I am a TA and I help to support an EAL lad in my Year 6 class. He arrived in the UK from Asia in Sept 2010 and knew only basic English.
    Our initial work was to seat him with children in the upper abilities for literacy. Numeracy has not been such an issue as he understands equations - it is the worded numeracy questions we have worked on the most.
    EAL tend to pick up a lot from imitating other children. Once he had found his feet with the upper groups, we switched him to a middle group so he had to do more work himself. He is mentally capable of the literacy tasks, but the vocabulary is the issue.
    Reading more books has helped him tremendously. As with younger children, he takes what words he does know, and deduces the meaning of new words from them. He really enjoys Enid Blyton books! We also have conversations about topic work (and anything else!) to help his speech.
    One thing we had noticed was that he 'used' the language difficulties to dodge working. He's a clever lad and initially thought he wouldn't be expected to work so hard due to the second language issues. Hmmm....... once he realised that we expected his best, not his 'make do' effort, he has progressed really quickly. He now participates in class discussions too.
    He's already progressed from Level 2a in literacy in September, to Level 3c last week...... children can make fast progress when given the right support!
    Hope this might help?
     
  4. Hi
    THe training I have had on EAL confirmed that it is really important that the child speaks their own language at home, rather than English. This is because they should have some time to speak in their first language where they are most confident and also to ensure their heritage and connection to their first language is maintained. We have had to chat this through with parents so they can see the importance of this as the temptation is to try and just use English and lose their first language which is very tiring for the child and risks them losing their family language.
    The other intersting piece of advice (with my or may not be relevant depending on the child's level of English) is that EAL children often go through a silent period where they absorbed the language and listen. It is important not to push them to speak English, rather providing opportunities for them to do so, whilst providing a good level of visual cues etc to enable communication. This period can apparently last up to six months and then usually they will gradually start to speak English at their own pace.
    WIth the younger children we have found what really interests them (from the parents if necessary) and providing opportunities for talk around this. This would really apply to younger children, whereas yours may be a lot older.
    I know this isn't practical ideas, but hope it is of help.
     
  5. invincible

    invincible New commenter

    The silent period can often last more than 6 months in some cases. Don't be worried if it does.
    For help on how to accomodate the needs of your EAL child, look at this:
    http://esl.fis.edu/teachers/support/cummin.htm

    Context embedded reading and writing activties with lots of scaffolding, visual cues, TPR and so on, coupled with the support of native speaking peers of a similar or higher ability will bring on the child's English understanding much quicker and help him move towards being able to do more context reduced tasks. Regardless of the language, the child's cognitive abilities muct not be negated so thinking about how to achieve a task that is cognitively demanding to a certain extent but is context embedded to scaffold the language learning is the key, albeit challenging for you as the teacher.
     
  6. polly2

    polly2 New commenter

    I had EAL training last night and can only echo the above. The other interesting thing I learnt was the importance of repeating phrases - our trainer spoke in a foreign language at the start of the training and we soon figured out what "well done" meant. We also leant the importance of sitting the child opposite the teacher so they could focus in on our lip movements.
     

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