EAL Teaching Strategies

There are currently over one million EAL pupils studying in the UK and this figure has continued to rise year on year.

Creating engaging, informative and useful lessons for EAL pupils with a wide range of literacy needs comes with its own set of unique challenges. However, there are a number of teaching methods and techniques that can be employed in order to engage and educate all of the children in your classroom.

Firstly, keep these three points in mind and you will have a great starting point for working with EAL learners: 

  • Think about the images a learner can see in the classroom and how these might aid their understanding of words both written and spoken. 
  • Consider your own use of language and the ways in which you can improve the clarity and concision of your speech. 
  • Use your body language, gestures and facial expressions to emphasise what it is you are asking, explaining or expecting. 

10 top tips for the classroom: 

  • Create a welcoming and secure environment.
  • Prepare the class by telling them the background and language of a new pupil. 
  • Place the pupil with other bilingual pupils if possible.
  • Use a buddy system to help to show the pupils the classroom and school routines. If possible, pair pupils that speak the same language together to help them to integrate into school life.
  • Group pupils with those who will provide good linguistic models.
  • Provide labels of school equipment in both English and their native language. 
  • Provide bilingual and picture dictionaries to aid with language learning via visual reinforcement. 
  • Produce practical activities that will allow newly arrived pupils to participate without having the pressure to speak.
  • Allow pupils to use their first language.
  • Learn key phrases in child’s language and teach greetings to your class. 

Our Top Tip

Wall displays make a tremendous difference to children learning English as an additional language. They are a key source of support when working on a learning task and can offer crucial opportunities for reinforcing recent learning. Your displays can play an important part of empowering pupils and supporting their growing independence.

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