Best Practice

Supporting EAL students: Ideas and resources for teachers

How can we empower and support teachers who are new to teaching learners using English as an additional language? Glynis Lloyd advises
Image: Adobe Stock

As school communities across the country become more linguistically diverse, many teachers who are new to their school find themselves with responsibilities, for the first time, for teaching multilingual children who are learning English as an additional language (EAL).

This can be a bewildering time, but help is at hand in the form of policies, guidance, and networks of practitioners ready to share their extensive experience.

In this article, I will consider how teachers new to supporting multilingual children can equip themselves to deliver best practice by drawing on existing resources, knowledge, and experience.

Expertise in EAL pedagogy draws on an ever-widening body of research. This shows that best practice occurs in schools with clear language policies in place, that celebrate multilingualism, that include children new to English in all aspects of school life and learning, and that devise language support to build English proficiency by drawing on the rich linguistic repertoires that multilingual children bring to their learning (see Chalmers, 2022; Evans et al, 2020; Sharples, 2021).

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