English as an Additional Language (EAL)
Language cannot be separated from identity, therefore it is important that the first language of every child is acknowledged and valued. At Furzedown we welcome the cultural and linguistic experiences that pupils with EAL bring to the school. We value multilingualism and understand that simultaneous bilingualism is the best cognitive outcome for any EAL learner.
Class teachers acknowledge that EAL learners’ conceptual thinking may be in advance of their ability to speak English and work to ensure the cognitive challenge remains appropriately high. We understand that the best context to gain curriculum knowledge and subject-specific language is in a mainstream lesson. Therefore, any withdrawal of EAL learners from a mainstream class is for a specific purpose and linked to the main lesson. We recognise music, art and PE as good social and language-learning opportunities and they are never missed.
Teachers use a range of strategies known to be effective for EAL learners. Visual clues, word cards, gap-fill exercises and sentence frames allow pupils to express their learning. Prior to a new topic, vocabulary is identified, explored, displayed and modelled. When planning lessons, we consider pedagogy that promotes quality talk through paired and group work. We also recognise the importance of supporting pupils with composing and rehearsing sentences orally. All members of staff create supportive learning environments in which learners feel safe to take risks when speaking in both their first language and English.
“Knowledge of languages is the doorway to wisdom.” Roger Bacon
Language is one of the most important parts of any culture. There are over 30 languages spoken by families at Furzedown. To celebrate our fantastic linguists, we have a ‘Language of the Half term’ where children can learn words and phrases from each other’s languages. Our language “experts” in each class coach their peers and staff in learning a few basic words and greetings in their own languages.
It helps us to find out more about one another and gives us all the chance to speak to more people and therefore make more friends.
We believe “Language of the Half term” gives children the opportunity to show respect for each other’s languages and cultures. It also gives us all the opportunity to broaden our skills!