Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

English as an Additional Language Isn't a Special Educational Need

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

English as an Additional Language Isn't a Special Educational Need

Article excerpt

In this SEND focus, Nancy Gedge looks how teachers can support EAL pupils

We are soaked in language in schools: everything we do, everything we say and everything we read is filtered through it. So take it away and it's as if we are operating heavy machinery with one hand tied behind us, a patch over one eye and cotton wool in one ear. We are impaired.

You'd think that difficulties with language would therefore mean an SLD (specific learning difficulty), and for many people it does. But as with anything in schools (or anything to do with human beings, full stop), nothing is as simple as it first seems.

Imagine that you have a new pupil in your class. They are quiet and well-behaved but withdrawn. They cry easily. They avoid eye contact and are clearly lonely. At playtime, they stand friendless while children at play shoot past and around them. Academically, they aren't making much progress; their attainment is low.

As a short-term solution, you place them in a lower set, or a special educational needs and disability (SEND) support group. After all, they can't keep up; they just don't have the language.

Many of the children coming into our classes who cannot make themselves understood don't have SEND, but rather English as an additional language (EAL). Just like children with SEND, they need specialist and informed teaching, but - and this is the important point - it is not the same kind of thing at all.

As a teacher of SEND, what you need to do is to slow the curriculum down, open it out, make steps to learning smaller than you would generally do. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.