History, geography, English literature and religious studies are undeniably language-heavy subjects, making them particularly challenging for learners who have English as an additional language. Caroline Bruce offers some advice, ideas and resources to support your teaching of EAL students


The humanities subjects bring with them the opportunity to learn about humans, about our world and our place in it, our interactions with cultures and religions, the marks we have made in the world, and the challenges facing us in caring for its future.

It is a rich and fascinating area of study, involving factual knowledge, conceptual understanding and the application of both to evaluate issues. It is filled with opportunities for critical reflection, evaluative discussions and collaborative planning, all of which requires competent and fluent command of the language of instruction. Language is at the heart of humanities subjects.

A look at the demands of GCSE exams also points to the importance of language. Even without the five per cent of marks awarded for SPAG (spelling, punctuation and grammar) at GCSE in history, geography, English literature and religious studies, the humanities subjects are undeniably language-heavy.

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