These pupil portraits were written by teachers and show how real bilingual pupils learn EAL in the mainstream classroom and how their teachers support them to do so. Teachers talk about aspects of spoken language, social and cultural context, language demands and language and cognitive development which are so important in learning EAL.
Pupils learning EAL share many common characteristics with pupils whose first language is English. Many of their learning needs are similar to those of other children and young people. However, these pupils also have distinct and different needs from other pupils by virtue of the fact that they are learning through an additional language at the same time that they are learning the additional language. In addition, they come from cultural backgrounds and communities which may have different understandings and expectations of education, language and learning.
Amal is in Year 3 and was a beginner in English when she joined the early years class of her school. Her portrait outlines how her teachers are helping her develop the formal language and literacy skills required in the National Curriculum.
Anna was at the very early stages of learning English when she joined her school in Year 5. Her portrait shows how she begins to learn Engish and how her teachers have supported her language development at the same time as her cognitive development.
Ahmed is a Year 6 pupil who started learning EAL when he joined his local Nursery class. Although all of Ahmed's formal education has been in English and his spoken English is fluent he is still acquiring academic language proficiency to meet all the language demands of the National Curriculum.
Trevor was at an early stage of acquiring English when he joined his 'mainly white' school in Year 7.
Ubah and Said are Year 10 students who joined their schools in KS3 as beginners in English. Ubah had had no prior experience of schooling whereas Said had attended a number of schools in other countries.
Yvette joined her school in Year 10. She had some experience learning English at school but she needed to be able to access her GCSE courses through English.
Some portraits concern pupils who are learning EAL and who are facing learning difficulties. Olamide has a statement and attends a special school and Fabio is experiencing difficulties learning to read.
If you would like to contribute a pupil portrait, email Frank Monaghan