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New Child - No English

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Sassha, Dec 31, 2010.

  1. Hi all...

    I'm in Year 6 and am not really looking forward to the madness that is the Spring Term (pre SAT's - oh the joy!)

    I found out just before the holidays that I have a new child starting in my class in January - first day back. He is Iranian and speaks Farsi - he has only just arrived here and speaks no English at all, so I have been told.

    I am pretty terrified by this - I don't have a massive amount of experience with completely non-english speaking children, and I will have no support with his language to help me in the near future.

    My biggest fear is that I will not have the time or resources to help him learn english effectively or to really devote much time at all to him, due to the pressures of dragging all the rest of Year 6 through the SAT's!

    I was wondering if anyone has been or is in a similar situation to this, and could offer any advice??
    Also - if any of you have or know of any resources/activity ideas that I could do with him.

    The last thing i want is to just have to give him holding activities that aren't really going to help him very much.

    Thanks in advance for any info/advice you can offer me. x
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Had this problem at a school last year. Advice was to print lots of flashcard pictures with the approp. lang alongside (English & native lang if can read) for instructions etc. Label everything possible within the classroom and get a couple of 'buddy children (more than one to spread the load) to be responsible for helping child find things, play with them etc.
    If the child is in yr 6 don't forget they'll be quite able to do a lot of things your class can do, maths, art, music, pe all can avoid too much need for language.
    Hopefully you'll have someone to give some ESl training in the new year and they'll be able to suggest other things you can do.
  3. Thanks Lara - it's good to look at the positives, and to think about the lessons he will be able to do.

    I'm working on some basic phrase sheets and i'll do some flashcards to help us get through the initial period. I'm sure lots of the kids in my class will be keen to be a buddy too.

    I guess my biggest worry is what to actually give him to do when I'm teaching Literacy mainly. (we have 7+ hours of Literacy a week in Year 6).

    I'll have a think...
    Thanks for taking the time to reply.
  4. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Sit him with more able children and he will pick up a lot of English just by being there.
    SENCO needs to sort out tragetted language teaching, not you.
    Be confident in just letting him copy work from others in writing tasks. Just practising forming letters, writing from left to right, seeing patterns of letters in words, etc are all valuable learning activities and essential for him.
    Explain to the children he is a clever boy who has just not learned English yet. Get them to imagine being in France or similar and trying to manage school, then in another country who a whole different set of letters (China, Japan, etc.) They will accept him and he will learn far more from them than you.

    I had two girls arrive a year ago into year 5 from Afghanistan, never ever having been to school before. they were illiterate in their own language as well. they had an hour or two a week learning English with a TA and then rest of the time just muddling along with me (who hadn't a clue) in class.
    I moved to year 6 with them this year and they are doing extremely well. (Not going to make it to level 4, or even 3, for Sats but still doing well.)
  5. Thanks minnieminx!

    Great advice... I'm feeling a lot better about hows things will go now!
  6. and get the other kids to always say the word - if they pass him a
    pencil, they say 'pencil' - thumbs-up if he repeats it - all the kids in
    class, not just the buddies - as someone else said, kids love being
    if he does find the playground a bit much at first, are there any clubs he could go to any or all lunchtimes?
    do you have any farsi-speaking children or parents who can talk to him for an hour or 2 a week for overcoming homesickness purposes?
  7. flickaz

    flickaz New commenter

    I had a boy arrived from Afghanistan just over a year ago now and was completely terrified to begin with. I didn't have a clue where to begin! I soon found out that although he didn't know a word of English (apart from dog, chocolate and television - very random) he was of a similar level to the rest of the class in maths and brilliant at PE. The rest of the class loved helping him. Ask a few of your HA children to spend the first few days with him teaching him basic words and phrases. Also talk to the stage in Foundation Stage and year 1. I robbed a load of their resources and also used a lot of things off www.senworksheets.co.uk He spent a lot of time with my SEN group in literacy just listening and copying. Don't be afraid to have him just sitting there and listening to what is going on in the group around him. He'll pick up a lot from this. If you can get hold of a Farsi/English dictionary. My TA borrowed one from out local library for the first couple of months and it was invaluable. We were able to get him doing some writing in Farsi and translate certain words back into English.
    The boy I teach is now with me in year 6 and writing at a mid/high level 2. He still struggles with splitting his writing into sentences but it generally flows and makes sense. When he reads it back he stops at logical points even if there isn't a full stop.
    Oh and beware...he will pick up swearwords at lot quicker than anything else!!!
  8. decj

    decj New commenter

    When I had a Farsi speaker, I bought a Farsi/English dictionary from Amazon. Wasn't cheap, but absolutely invaluable when we needed to communicate.
  9. Thanks to all the contributors for your help so far with this issue! Great Advice - and I'll definitely keep an eye on the swearing! Ha ha.
    It's great to hear from people who've been in this situation.
  10. I am an English as an Additional Language Teacher in Scotland.

    Teach your "New to English" pupil:
    both the sounds and names of the alphabet - makes decoding easier. Then CVC words etc
    days of the week and months of the year
    Time - 5 past, 10 past, 1/4 past etc - everyone else works on 24hr clock except U.K.!
    primary then secondary colours then brown, black, white, gold, silver......
    ALL the terms used in Maths i.e. plus = addition, how many more etc subtraction = difference between... and so on
    Common words - start with the 1st 100 then onto 2nd 100 etc
    BICS - Basic survival language both inside and outside the classroom - peer group will be a great help here - GOOD ROLE MODELLING ESSENTIAL!
    CALPS - Academic Language used in classroom by the Teacher so different from BICS! - GOOD ROLE MODELLING HERE A MUST!

    TALKING is far more important than worksheets! Allows your pupil to listen and pick up the local acsent and dialect.

    Give your pupil time to adapt to new culture, new environment and then watch how your pupil thrives on his/her own personal learning experience.

    I can have a pupil translating back to parents within 6 months - so can you. PM for any other help. Best wishes & good luck.
  11. flickaz

    flickaz New commenter

    How did it go Sassha?

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