EAL teaching is an important part of the educational provision for a fifth of the school population. At present it does not have a recognised subject status; it is not regarded as a subject specialism in teacher education. The current conceptualisation of EAL in England is that it is an ‘aspect’ of compulsory school education. However, it is a recognised subject (generally known as English for Speakers of Other Languages, ESOL) in post-16 provision.
The current Teachers’ Standards (DfE, 2011) which apply to all trainee and qualified teachers note that every teacher must: ‘adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils’. They must ‘have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those with special educational needs; those of high ability; those with English as an additional language; those with disabilities; and be able to use and evaluate distinctive teaching approaches to engage and support them’. (Standard 5).
To meet the current Teachers’ Standards, all teachers and trainee teachers will benefit from an understanding and recognition of EAL as a significant field of teaching and learning.
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