Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Resources to support new EAL learners

We've all been there. A child turns up for school on Monday with barely anyone aware of who they are. Half-way through Period 2 they are brought to join your class but lo, they don't speak a word of English. Ensuring students are welcomed can be done with social skills and good manners. But finding appropriate activities that will give confidence to such students is tricky, especially if current pupils are working on a complicated topics. There are two ways to get around this:

1. Always have a stock of 'language-related' activities ready
Generic English language worksheets introduce learners to the language while you can source more appropriate material. Such sheets give students a head-start with their English and provide learning at the right level for their language learning - i.e. beginner, or just above. On the downside, students from abroad are often very intelligent and become jaded with continually learning English in a 'baby-ish' fashion rather than grasping new content. This leads to tip 2....

2. For each topic you cover, have some KS1/2 resources ready on a related subject
While students may still be frustrated by having 'easy' sheets, worksheets that are on the same topic can be reassuring for EAL learners. Having resources that are related means the student feels less isolated and becomes less concerned about 'missing out' on topics.

Good worksheets that vary in difficulty and include appropriate pictures without feeling 'babyish' can be found at www.easyed.co.uk/worksheets. There are 99 free downloadable sheets on a variety of topics and straightforward 'english skills' for those subjects which do not easily lend themselves to KS1/2.