EAL tips for mainstream teachers
- Print clearly when using the interactive board!
- Make sure all students have copied notes before erasing!
- Use PPT with pictures and visual aids as much as possible; EAL learners rely on them.
- Remind students every class to have their translators on hand (either phone or laptop).
- Remember that they might say they understand when they don’t. Press the issue (privately) if you are covering a key issue.
- When starting the students on a task, spend a few moments with the EAL learners to make sure they understand what to do. Listening to instructions given one-to-one is much easier than listening to instructions meant for the class.
- Remind students to highlight key words / concepts and have them translate them (for homework).
- Make homework assignments clear when setting tasks.
- When giving the students homework or projects that need a lot of research, give your EAL learners a website list of sites that are easily understood. Not only will they get a better understanding, they could do with the extra time. We all know how time consuming research can be. Imagine doing it in a different language.
- In order to acquire all the necessary academic language items and structures, EAL learners need to link newly presented or encountered knowledge with pre-existing knowledge. Learning is, by definition, built upon previous learning, and the most significant resource that learners bring to the language learning task is their existing linguistic knowledge.
- Home languages form a significant part of everyone’s roots and cultural identity. They link us to friends and family in our home countries and at some point, they may well be essential if students are to reintegrate into their home countries, national schools or universities. Teachers should make active and creative use of them in the classroom – and not just ‘have them’ there!
- Permit (and remind) students to write notes in their language to reduce the cognitive load and help them keep apace.
- Create also a strong learning environment for the EAL learners. Visuals, key vocab and even key words in their language (They would love to help you with the writing!) around the classroom will not only help them in class but will give them a sense of belonging.
- Remember that these students are not EAL students, they are like any other student. They deserve access to the material just as much as the smartest native English speaking students.
- Give EAL learners texts or copies of the texts to take home. They usually need extra time and parental help with this material and often need to highlight and translate key vocabulary.
- Give your EAL learners a course book.
- Give EAL learners a list of websites.
- Provide students with glossaries (at the very least, a list of key words) for each chapter.
- Scan and project exam answers when correcting them so that students have visual and oral cues.
- Make sure photos and pictures on exams and other class materials are clear. EAL learners rely on these visual cues for vital information.
- EAL learners never have enough time to correct their exam in class. Good answers are given quickly and the students that need most correcting and support are left behind. Give them a copy of the correct answers.
- Review tests with an EAL teacher to identify challenges for EAL learners and offer a differentiated test, if appropriate.
- Provide opportunities for pupils to talk to you.
- All EAL learners have to constantly catch-up. They make huge progress language wise in a very short period. Praise their language skills from time to time. They expect it from us but would really appreciate it from you.