Inclusive practices in multilingual classrooms: assessing and supporting EAL and SEND learners in the mainstream
Our 27th Annual Conference
Saturday November 16th 2019, 9am-5pm | King’s College London
Franklin Wilkins Building, Stamford St, Lambeth, London SE1 9NH
NALDIC’s 27th annual conference focused on inclusive practices in multilingual classrooms and on assessing and supporting EAL and SEND learners in the mainstream. The day provided an opportunity to network with other professionals in the EAL field and to purchase resources exhibited by NALDIC and a selection of other publishers.
A selection of NALDIC 27 conference presentations are now available to view – only to members.Whoops, you are not a member – JOIN NOW! – to access the conference presentations
Keynote Speaker 1 – Dr Anne Margaret Smith, ELT Well
ELT Well – helping teachers support learners since 2005
Dr Anne Margaret Smith has taught English for 30 years in Kenya, Germany, Sweden and the UK. She is also a dyslexia specialist tutor and assessor. She founded ELT well with the intention of bringing together best practice from the two fields of ELT and SpLD support, and now offers materials and training to teachers, as well as specialist teaching to dyslexic learners. She was recently instrumental in setting up the new IATEFL SIG: Inclusive Practices and SEN.
Find out more: www.ELTwell.com
Keynote Speaker 2 – Prof. Ludovica Serratrice, University of Reading
Professor of multilingualism
Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism – University of Reading
Ludovica has qualifications in simultaneous interpretation, language and literature, and linguistics. After obtaining her PhD at the University of Edinburgh with a dissertation on the bilingual acquisition of Italian and English in pre-school children, she moved to the University of Manchester where she worked for 16 years conducting research on monolingual and bilingual acquisition and lecturing on the BSc Speech and Language Therapy degree.
In 2016 Ludovica moved to Reading where she holds a professorship in multilingualism and teaches on the MSci Speech and Language Therapy degree.
Since May 2018 Ludovica has been the director of the Centre of Literacy and Multilingualism. Her research interests include language acquisition and processing in pre-school and school-age children, and she is passionate about co-producing research with teachers and speech and language therapists working with EAL learners.
Ludovica’s current research projects include a longitudinal study of predictors of listening comprehension in EAL learners, the real-time comprehension of relative clauses in monolingual children, the relationship between showing and pointing gestures and early vocabulary development, the impact of screen media exposure on vocabulary development, metalinguistic skills in EAL learners in MFL classes, the language skills of EAL learners with cochlear implants, teachers’ engagement with the Young Interpreter Scheme and Young Interpreters’ linguistic skills and intercultural awareness.
Keynote Speaker 3 – Mark Simms, Ofsted’s National Lead on EAL
EAL and the new Ofsted framework
The presentation will review the final version of the new Ofsted inspection framework and handbook which will be introduced in September 2019 and highlight where there are implications for inspectors and schools concerning EAL pupils.
Workshop 1 – Using Collaborative Drama Techniques with Mixed Level Pupils
In all areas of learning, ideas are developed through both individual and collaborative effort. Collaboration allows for ideas to be outlined, discussed, contested, built-upon, critiqued and improved, and through this process, a deeper understanding can be reached. Within this workshop, we observe how the dialogic and social nature of collaborative drama work can improve language learning and stimulate confidence in young EAL learners.
Based on my own experience as a KS2 (7-11yo) English as an Additional Language (EAL) teacher, this workshop explores social-constructivist themes such as ‘scaffolding’, ‘Zones of Proximal Development (ZPD)’ and ‘the role of the teacher’ through practical lesson examples. The importance of creative peer-to-peer talk, problem-solving, and the notion of learning as an inherently social act are discussed in reference to academic understanding and our own personal experiences.
When a young language learner is engaged in a collaborative project with their peers, a shared learning environment is created in which interactions allow for qualitatively different perspectives to build upon thoughts experienced by the individual. This collaborative decision-making process provides opportunities for shared thinking and expressive language usage more akin to real-world socio-cultural exchanges. Drama provides one such learning environment, which incorporates the cooperative and collaborative socio-cultural skills required, with the addition of communicative language use, creativity, problem-solving, and often triggers further discussion and debate.
Workshop 2 – Understanding the role of home and school context in influencing peer interaction among children in multicultural classrooms
Children’s participation in multicultural classrooms can be influenced by the context around them. This requires teachers as well as researchers to understand the interplay between children’s school and home environments, and how can it affect children’s participation in a mainstream educational setting. Drawing on a part of my doctoral thesis with 27 Year 5 children and their class teacher, I will discuss why it is important for teachers to understand the influences of children’s context on their everyday participation in a multicultural classroom.
This workshop will invite audience to reflect on the benefits and challenges of participating in ethnographic research. It will also engage audience in discussions to reflect on examples from the field work, to identify how the classroom, home and ethnicity interact in complex ways to influence children’s interactions with their peers in multicultural classrooms. The focus will be on identifying inclusive ways in which teachers are able to encounter and address the influences of culture on the educational experiences of children in culturally diverse classrooms.
Workshop 3 – Transferable vocabulary: exploiting linguistic diversity to include EAL pupils in maths lessons using storytelling, drawing and creative writing
Anna Tsakalaki, Tamalia Reeves, Sarah Rundel and Joanna Skelton
The primary mathematics curriculum in England requires the use of specific vocabulary to verbalise pupils’ understanding and to enable the solving of word-based problems. Emerging research evidence suggests that children who have English as an Additional Language (EAL) may lack specific language knowledge and general language ability, which might result in struggling particularly with word-based problems in everyday maths lessons.
This project aimed to bridge educational research and teaching practice in order to address the requirement for schools to support all their students (EAL and non-EAL). We explored development of vocabulary skills across literacy and mathematics using creative ways to interlink problem-solving, writing, and arts in everyday lessons. More specifically, we used home languages to teach age-appropriate mathematical vocabulary to 250 EAL and non-EAL pupils in Y4 and Y5 in 5 primary schools in Berkshire. The researchers collaborated with a professional storyteller, an illustrator, a musician and a creative writer, who delivered two model sessions using maths vocabulary in conjunction with oral storytelling, drawing, songwriting and creative writing over a period of two weeks. We measured improvement in key mathematical vocabulary knowledge of EAL and non-EAL students before and after the sessions using word-based problems. We explored the views of teachers on including all students by using home languages for everyday learning in mainstream education through interviews and focus groups.
In this workshop, the team will present preliminary results showing some progress in EAL children’s understanding of key mathematical concepts as a result of the storytelling and drawing sessions, as well as teachers’ views on inclusivity of practices. Ideas of how to use home languages and creativity in everyday practice will be generated in group activities based on the findings of this research and the team’s own experience of using the method with Y4-Y5 children and their teachers.
Paper 1 – The knowledge base of CLIL for EAL: Connecting theory and classroom practice
Dieuwerke Rutgers, Linda Fisher, Rick de Graaff and Catherine van Beuningen
Content and Language Integrated Learning or CLIL, an educational approach whereby the teaching of subject content (e.g. science) and an additional language (e.g. English) occur simultaneously, may offer valuable opportunities for enhancing EAL support in the UK. Yet, whilst a great deal of research has been conducted over the years to understand the nature and outcomes of CLIL, there remains a critical need for research into how integrated learning is realised in the classroom, and what teacher knowledge and competencies are required for this. This paper will report on a study on the professional knowledge base of CLIL in multilingual primary education settings. Using an interview technique incorporating a ‘CLIL teaching wall activity’, this study was designed to capture the practical and contextual knowledge of teachers working to support primary English language learners in content lessons in both the UK and the Netherlands, as vital sources of information within our understanding of what makes primary CLIL work.
This practical knowledge from the two contexts was then placed in dialogue with each other, as well as with the more theorised knowledge base for CLIL teachers that exists in the research literature, in order to identify the key knowledge and competencies underlying effective CLIL teaching in multilingual primary schools. The paper will not only set out to define more clearly what CLIL is, addressing its notoriously fuzzy boundaries as well as some of the learning theories and principles underlying this particular pedagogical approach, but also connect this theory to contextual knowledge and concrete classroom practices as captured and gathered through the study’s methodology. In doing so, it aims to identify more clearly the opportunities of CLIL for supporting EAL learners in mainstream classes.
Paper 2 – A programme to promote high-quality parent-child conversation in multilingual households
Alex Hodgkiss, Sandra Mathers and Victoria Murphy
Around one-fifth of children in UK primary schools speak a language other than English at home (DfE, 2018). Because the amount of linguistic input children with EAL receive is divided between their parents’ heritage language and English, it is critical that they receive the highest quality linguistic input in each language. Prior research has demonstrated the effectiveness of interventions that support parents to improve the quality of conversations with their children at home. However, few are designed to support multilingual families, and none have been developed with the UK cultural and linguistic context in mind. This paper will present the planned development of a parent-delivered language intervention for UK multilingual parents and their 3-4 year olds. In the scoping phase, we plan to use questionnaires, observations and audio recordings to investigate the home language practices of EAL families in London, with a focus on South Asian families. This will inform the development of the main programme. In the intervention phase, we will recruit South Asian families, who will be randomly assigned to an intervention or control group. Parents in the intervention group will receive a smart-phone delivered support programme, in their home language. The programme will support parents to use language supporting strategies, such as open-ended questions. As well as text-based content, we will send short video clips of other parents engaging in effective conversations. Throughout the programme, parents will be encouraged to use the strategies through shared wordless picture book reading. We expect to find a greater increase in the intervention group compared to the control group for parents’ use of language supporting strategies, as well as improvements in children’s L1 and L2 language skills. Because it could potentially be easily adapted to other languages, this programme has the potential to more broadly support multilingual families in the UK.
Paper 3 – Widening participation to higher education among EAL students: institutional and individual perspectives on potential barriers to progression
Karen Forbes, Katie Howard, and Sonia Ilie
There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that the attainment gap between EAL and English as a first language students in UK schools is wider in the early years of schooling and is greatly reduced (and in some cases, eliminated) by the time they reach Key Stage 4 (age 14-16). However, in spite of this, there is also evidence to suggest that EAL students are less likely to continue with their studies post-16. There is therefore a pressing need to further explore the factors which influence the choices that EAL students make when considering progression to higher education. Funded by Go Higher West Yorkshire (part of the National Collaborative Outreach Programme), the current study aimed to explore the perspectives of both EAL students and school staff on existing widening participation provision in schools, with a view to identifying any potential barriers to progression which may exist for this particular group of students. To this end, an exploratory, qualitative study was conducted in two secondary schools and one further education college in Leeds, each with a high proportion of EAL students. Four student focus groups were conducted with a total of 30 EAL students from Key Stage 4 and Sixth Form and three focus groups were conducted with a total of 20 members of school/college staff. In this talk, we will present data relating to the following key themes which emerged from our qualitative analysis: (a) EAL students’ perceptions of higher education, (b) existing sources of information and support, and (c) barriers to higher education (for individual students, for parents and for educational institutions). We conclude with a series of 8 practical recommendations for schools.
Paper 4 – ‘Linguistic outlets’: Facilitating the use of linguistic repertoires of heritage language speakers in English dominant educational contexts
This presentation focuses on ‘linguistic outlets’ which facilitate the use of linguistic repertoires of heritage language speakers in English dominant educational contexts. It will be led by two presenters – Sophie Liggins, Spanish/EAL Teacher and PhD Researcher at Essex, and Asma Mohamed Ali, Teacher and Community Leader at the Somali Brawanese Welfare Association in Barnet.
We will share a programme of multimodal ‘linguistic outlets’ including linguistic landscaping and language portraits (Coffey 2015) that Sophie uses as part of her PhD research into EAL students’ plurilingual experiences in a secondary school context. We will also share our experience of coordinating a Children’s’ Language Book Project which was designed in response to concerns regarding intergenerational transmission of heritage languages in linguistic minority communities, in this case Brawanese (Chimwini), Dari, Pashto and Somali.
The research is positioned in the view that enhancing plurilingual language practices (García and Li Wei 2014) and embracing the view of bilingualism as ‘sets of resources’ (Heller 2007:15) is an unutilised yet valuable endeavour in terms of language development and identity (Smyth and Toohey 2009).
The presentation aims to encourage reflection on ways in which practitioners can use such approaches, highlighting the value of ‘outlets’ which enable students to draw on their full linguistic repertoires, engaging in language development from a perspective which reflects the complex experiential realities of heritage language speakers in English dominant contexts, in turn challenging monolingual norms.
Paper 5 – Language Passports as a tool to capture pupils’ linguistics repertoires and to reveal unconscious processes
Fauve De Backer and Nell Foster
The way we use languages in our daily lives is complex and multifaceted, and as a result, capturing your pupils’ linguistic repertoire can be a challenging task. The Language Passport has been developed by the Centre for Diversity and Learning at Ghent University, Belgium; it is a mind map which allows pupils to present an overview of their language repertoire, thus giving teachers an insight into the reality of their linguistic lives: What languages do they know? When and how do they use them? How do they feel about them? What does the classroom community as a whole look like? The Passport captures multiple ‘types’ of languages used by pupils, including home languages, foreign languages learned in school and dialects, and it enables the positive positioning of all kinds of proficiencies and practices (e.g. translanguaging). This workshop will draw on research about the use of the Language Passports to explore how they can be used as effective classroom tools to depict and unravel pupils’ language use as well as to reveal some of the unconscious processes and practices underlying linguistic repertoires. Participants will learn how to create a language passport; how to develop additional classroom activities; and how schools can use the data to inform their language policy. They will also be invited to evaluate the relevance of a tool such as the Passport in their own settings, as well as to contribute ideas for further development.
Paper 6 – The school experiences of bilingual pupils on the autism spectrum
Katie Howard, Jenny Gibson and Napoleon Katsos
While there is a growing body of literature investigating the school experiences of children who speak English as an Additional Language (EAL), less is known about the experiences of EAL pupils who have special educational needs. This paper reports the findings of a multi-informant study that examined the school experiences of twelve bilingual pupils on the autism spectrum in England and Wales, along with the perspectives of their educators (n=13) and parents (n=16). Computer-assisted interviewing was used with children to facilitate their participation in the study. This paper will consider the following three themes: (1) perceptions about bilingualism in autism; (2) barriers to pursuing bilingualism; and, (3) strategies to support children at home and in school.
Results indicate that while parents held very positive attitudes towards raising their child bilingually and cited communication with family as central to their rationale, six out of fourteen families still opted for a more monolingual approach (e.g. predominantly using English) following the diagnosis of their chid. Many practitioners felt that bilingualism was not feasible for the specific child under discussion and some expressed concerns about the possible barriers that bilingualism may pose to the child’s development, especially their proficiency in English. The children themselves tended to report more positive attitudes towards bilingualism when they attended schools with a higher proportion of bilingual or EAL pupils. This research is the first of its kind to draw out qualitative insights into the lived experiences of bilingual children on the autism spectrum. This paper will delineate the study’s educational implications, with a particular focus on practitioner recommendations for enhancing inclusion of EAL pupils on the autism spectrum in the mainstream classroom.
Workshop 4 – Scaffolding the Explicit Teaching of Language within Disciplines: The Teaching and Learning Cycle
Gail Forey and Helen Handford
In this workshop, we introduce the teaching and learning cycle and offer practical considerations that support scaffolding the explicit teaching of language for EAL and SEND learners in the mainstream secondary classroom. Based on research and data collected in secondary schools, we workshop how the teaching and learning cycle (TLC) (or often referred to as genre based pedagogy) incorporates four phases: building the field, modelling and deconstruction, joint construction leading to independent construction. We discuss the role of the teacher, the focus on a model text, the explicit teaching of language within a discipline and how language makes meaning within a discipline.
Participants attending this workshop will be involved in discussing and planning a lesson using the TLC as a scaffold. The workshop will be divided in to three sections:
- how to build the field;
- how to use a model text to deconstruct meaning within a particular discipline,
- how to set up and use joint construction in the classroom
It is hoped that the workshop will provide the participants with practical guidelines that can be adopted and applied to their own teaching context.
Workshop 5 – Accelerated Curriculum- Accelerating Progress, Identifying and Intervening with Gaps and SEND
Jane Driver and Hayley Gilson
Queen Katharine Academy is a large secondary school in Peterborough with over 60% EAL, the majority of whom are first generation migrants. The Academy has very high mobility, with well over a hundred mid-term arrivals and departures. In addition, almost 10% of the whole school cohort is declared Gypsy-Roma, with an additional 9% suspected Roma.
To address the challenges of this cohort, the Academy has created an Accelerated Curriculum Department, where students are taught English, History, Geography, PSHE and Global Learning through a linguistics and Literacy-focussed thematic curriculum. Students are taught in slightly-reduced groups by linguistics specialists and each group has a maximum of two different teachers with TA support.
The Accelerated Curriculum supports EAL and non-EAL students, and provides a broad and challenging curriculum in a nurturing environment. It allows teachers to gain holistic, in-depth knowledge of newly-arrived students very quickly, and allows any gaps in learning to be filled, either by differentiation or specifically-tailored micro interventions, thus allowing the timely identification of possible SEND.
Students are assessed regularly on their retention of learning against the skills of: Reading, Listening, Writing, Vocabulary and Grammar, as well as being RAG-rated bi-annually against a wider assessment criteria. Once students reach a threshold point, they then move to the Academy’s Aspire Curriculum, which follows a more traditional model.
Since the introduction of the Accelerated Curriculum (after a small-scale pilot) two years ago, the Academy has seen significant progress in behaviour, attendance and achievement, with QKA making the biggest improvement in terms of progress across the City of Peterborough last academic year.
This workshop will outline the context, curriculum model and Departmental structure, as well as giving an overview of the key resources and implementation methodologies.
Workshop 6 – Walking through English: creating an inclusive classroom
Entering a school building can evoke a range of feelings and behaviours, some surprising, others unforeseen. Inviting a diverse student cohort into a shared learning space prods the unknown. Migratory flows that contribute to the development of the English language classroom may foster empathy, trigger hostility or question the hegemonic framework in which language teaching is situated.
In this workshop we will see an example of a community project engaging young EAL students in Luton. Entitled Luton 2050, students applied the language of photosynthesis to consider how architecture, urban agriculture and green technology could help in creating a sustainable community. Here students reflect on the changing uses of a single item of lexis, photosynthesis, as it weaves itself through interdisciplinary thinking.
Attempts to entice reluctant readers into the creative world of words has been a constant feature of my teaching practice. Interspersing reading tasks with reflective questions provides space for a private dialogue between the student and teacher, thereby removing unnecessary tensions that often accompany reluctant reading. In the workshop, we will explore how video can be used as a mirror to reflect students’ experiences back onto them and how differentiated tasks allow students to engage with a word, a sentence, a longer piece of text or indeed a concept. We will look at how I have made use of videos in the students’ languages in order to provide respite from the cognitive demands of language learning while simultaneously inviting multilingual voices into the classroom. The workshop will introduce multilingual voices from Burkina Faso (Diébédo Francis Kéré), the Democratic Republic of Congo (Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga) and from Syria (Marwa Al-Sabouni) to illustrate how modals of possibility can unveil portals to new discoveries across the curriculum.
The workshop is built on the premise that teachers need to reflect on their role as learners to develop their own creativity. In our own exploration of creativity, new approaches to inclusiveness can emerge. All activities in the workshop are informed by research and respond to the challenges of language teaching in a range of eclectic settings. Participants are asked to bring a mobile device installed with a QR reader. Sample QR readers can be downloaded here:
Paper 7 – Translanguaging in the Primary School- It’s not rocket Science!
Deborah Perrin, Gezina Gillen and Kuldeep Matharu
We are a British International School in the Netherlands with five campuses – three junior schools and two senior schools. Our policies state a commitment to multilingualism and cultural inclusion. Through strategic planning, we have worked to embed translanguaging as an expected practice across the primary campuses. The BSN community is multilingual and from more than 80 nationalities.
Using home languages in the classroom has been a practice at the primary schools for decades but dependent on individual staff members to plan for and implement. Since 2015 the Cross School Primary EAL team has used the research of Ofelia Garcia, Jim Cummins and Eithne Gallagher to embed Translanguaging as a cross campus strategy.
Supported by our senior leadership teams and Board of Management to implement and drive forward the translanguaging strategy we have been able to reach the point where translanguaging for many of our colleagues is a part of their daily, weekly teaching and classroom ethos. Although we have no scientific data, we have children and parents’ reflections on the use of translanguaging that support the strategy.
Non-teaching staff; whether school office staff, caretakers, playground supervisors are also using translanguaging. Everyone is included and supported to use translanguaging.
Through staff teach meets, professional development sessions and collaborative teaching an increased knowledge and expertise into how to use translanguaging and why has been achieved.
Our paper will explain briefly our journey and include a selection of staff testimonies and examples of how we engage with colleagues to increase their understanding and knowledge. We will share examples from classroom practice and give participants a take away list of easy ways to include translanguaging in their classroom and school.
Paper 8 – Incorporating Cultural and Linguistic Diversity into Policy and Practice: Case Studies from an English Primary School
The doctoral research presented in this paper examined one school’s approach to incorporating early stages EAL learners into mainstream classrooms. A cohort of newly arrived Key Stage 1 and 2 pupils (aged 5 to 11 years old) were followed over the course of an academic year with data analysed using Cummins’ (2001) theories of empowerment. Cummins defines an educator’s role in terms of four continuums: Pedagogy, Assessment, Cultural/Linguistic Incorporation and Community Participation. The closer teachers’ classroom practices are to the positive and affirmatory ends of each continuum, the greater their bilingual pupils’ chances of achievement in monolingual learning environments. When bilingual pupils’ identities are embedded in the daily curriculum, they are empowered to invest in their own learning.
Drawing on a range of ethnographic data, including vignettes, interviews with teachers, parents and pupils, this paper discusses how pupils are assigned identities through various school practices, including assessment, and how the pupils themselves accept or contest those identities. The cases of two Year Five pupils, one bringing educational capital to the school through her academic skills, the other problematized through her special needs, exemplify teachers’ attitudes and beliefs towards bilingual pupils and the resilience of those pupils in an immersive, English dominated school system.
In summary, the paper concludes that bilingual pupils are most likely to succeed when learning is guided within a curriculum that builds on their cultural experiences and is coupled with a pedagogy specifically tailored to meet their language learning needs. Empowering students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds requires action as well as empathy to achieve inclusion in today’s classrooms and is inextricably linked to practitioners’ collective, as well as individual, ideologies.
Paper 9 – Promoting reciprocal relationships between researchers and practitioners to develop evidence-based EAL support
Silke Fricke, Cecile De Cat, Caludine Bower-Crane, Dea Nielsen and Victoria Murphy
Evidence shows that children learning English as an Additional Language (EAL) often underperform on many early statutory assessments relative to their native English-speaking peers (DfE, 2018). It is therefore vital to find ways to support these children in reaching their early educational goals.
Unfortunately, there is little agreement on what constitutes best practice; two recent meta-analyses
emphasise the lack of sufficient evidence for effective interventions for children learning EAL (Murphy & Unthiah, 2015; Oxley & de Cat, 2019). Furthermore, there is limited transfer of the relevant research-evidence to Initial Teacher Education. Concerns have been raised that there is a significant lack of training on issues surrounding EAL, and a lack of specific EAL policy within the National Curriculum (Costley, 2014; Foley et al., 2013; Institute of Education 2009).
There is clearly a need for researchers and practitioners to collaborate in developing effective and feasible ways for supporting EAL learners. Researchers have a key role to play in advocating the importance of research, and explaining the different levels of evidence, which then can inform pedagogical approaches. In turn, teachers are vital to developing our understanding of the specific challenges faced in multilingual classrooms, and in supporting evaluations of new approaches.
The aim of our presentation is to encourage reciprocal relationships between research and practice, by promoting the different levels of research-evidence and highlighting how teachers can engage with research to benefit their practice. We will launch a programme of work aimed at developing new ways to support EAL learners in the classroom. The work will be co-designed with teachers to ensure maximum engagement and advocate transfer from practice to research. Our starting point will be a needs assessment based on a teacher survey identifying areas of language and literacy in EAL learners that are in most need of support.
Paper 10 – Supporting pupils with EAL in mainstream primary classrooms: How do teachers facilitate interaction to enable progress within lessons?
This research aims to explore interactions which promote progress within lessons for pupils with English as an Additional Language (EAL) by investigating how primary school teachers interact with their pupils to support learning and language acquisition in small group work. The study aims to fill this research gap by implementing a qualitative, micro-ethnographic case study employing Conversation Analysis methods. The data consists of 37 video-recorded lessons across curriculum subjects (including English, mathematics and science) involving 4 teachers, 13 pupils with EAL and 10 native speaking pupils in Key Stage 2.
Preliminary analysis reveals that teachers frequently engage in ‘pursuing a response’ from their pupils to repair displays of apparent lack of understanding, such as when pupils with EAL provide an incorrect, insufficient or nul response. Rather than directly providing pupils with the ‘correct’ response, teachers engaged in a range of interactional practices to direct pupils’ responses and promote progress within lessons by securing displays of understanding of the lesson content. Three distinct interactional strategies were employed by teachers in pursuing a response: i) designedly incomplete utterances, ii) providing options for formulating an answer and iii) scaffolding responses from pupils through targeted responses.
The structure and organisation of each strategy is examined in a minute, emic approach to uncover how teachers and pupils orient their interactions to achieve the pedagogical goals of the session. This study asserts that developing such interactional competence has practical implications for teachers in being able to effectively support the learning of pupils with EAL in the mainstream. The researcher’s interest in this issue stems from the impact it has had on both a personal and professional level, having been an EAL pupil herself and working as a teacher in primary schools with diverse ranges of pupils with EAL.
Paper 11 – Differentiating reading lessons in the multilingual classroom: An intervention study that takes into consideration students’ cognitive abilities and language background
Stella Strouvali and Eowyn Crisfield
This paper presents the results of a small-scale intervention study attempted to explore the relationship between cognitive abilities and spelling and reading abilities in English by taking into consideration students’ language background. The aim is to provide educators with inclusive practices that promote multilingual students’ reading abilities. The study was conducted in an international school in Denmark with 20 multilingual students (PYP3-5), and consisted of three parts: a. The Identification Process, b. The Intervention Process and c. The Evaluation of the Intervention.
During the Identification Process, students’ processing speed, working memory, reading and spelling abilities were assessed and parents were asked to give information for the students’ prior language experiences. Based on the results of the Identification Process, two experimental intervention groups and one control group were formed. The first experimental intervention group showed below average performance in processing speed and auditory working memory tasks. The intervention lasted for one month and focused on auditory processing and reading acceleration activities through the Fast ForWord Programme.
The second experimental intervention group consisted of students that had been in an English speaking school for less than two years and their cognitive abilities were average or above. A combination of Reading Acceleration and a Vocabulary Based Intervention based on integrating home language use was implemented for one month. In the final part of this study, the targeted areas were re-assessed to show the effectiveness of the interventions. The results and the analyses of the cases will be presented through the lens of inclusive practices that promote students’ strengths and respect their language background and needs.
Paper 12 – The intersection of Modern Foreign Language and EAL pedagogy – The way forward?
Victoria Murphy, Florence Myles and Bernadette Holmes
An area where students with an EAL background typically have manifest strengths is in learning Modern Foreign Language (MFL) (Hutchinson, 2018). However, official guidance issued to teachers concerning MFL typically omits the fact that large proportions of the school-aged population are EAL. Additionally, methodological debates in UK MFL teaching often seem to assume a context of monolingual, English-speaking students, which no longer matches the reality of many schools. Whereas MFL is now statutory for primary school pupils aged 7-11, there is anecdotal evidence of schools withdrawing EAL pupils from MFL lessons in order for them to receive additional support in English literacy.
When interacting in an MFL, however, EAL students who struggle are – for once – not at a communicative disadvantage compared to their English-speaking peers. Indeed, EAL students are prima facie likely to have certain advantages in terms of MFL learning: for example, they have more experience of learning a second language, potentially leading to more effective use of language learning strategies and greater metalinguistic awareness. These putative advantages are borne out by the academic achievement evidence at GCSE level on MFL for EAL pupils. Nonetheless, to our knowledge, there has been no systematic analysis of EAL students’ attainment in MFL. Consequently, there is a real and urgent need to consider the specific issues and challenges of EAL pupils in relation to MFL learning and teaching at primary level and beyond.
These issues were part of a broader policy summit convened by the RiPL network in November 2018. In our paper we will present a summary of key issues emerging from this meeting and accompanying White Paper [http://www.ripl.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/RIPL-White-Paper-Primary-Languages-Policy-in-England.pdf]. We will specifically focus on discussing our main recommendations for how to support MFL for both EAL and non-EAL pupils alike.