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Seat the pupil next to a sympathetic friend and if possible someone who speaks the same first language.
Frequently provide short lists of key words and vocabulary of immediate application such as names of
equipment and provide as much visual support as possible, including all audio-visual aids.
Talk clearly and at normal speed and make a point of speaking to the individual in every lesson, using
each other‟s names.
Involve pupils in collaborative group work.
Recognise the use of the first language as it enables pupils to draw on existing subject knowledge and to
develop English language skills in context. Encourage them to label diagrams and pictures in their
Ensure worksheets are clearly designed with visual clues, diagrams, examples etc.
Provide practice in copying sentences with multiple choice answers.
Encourage filling in of blanks in sentences or short paragraphs. Complete sentences and sequence
Provide simple writing frames
Include and emphasise oral/talk activities to maximise the learning potential
Activate links to prior knowledge
Use multilingual resources
When available, make use of bilingual support
Resources relevant to a topic or ones that relate to his / her culture in the home language will support the
The Internet is a very useful tool for finding such written resources, images and maps. The following are
A taped story in the student‟s home language
A book in the student‟s home language (Many local libraries have a small stock of bilingual books in
Bangla, Urdu and other community languages)
A book, picture, newspaper or poster which reflects the culture or country of the student (particularly
in curriculum areas such as Humanities, Religious Studies, Art, Textiles, Food and some areas of
Science and Maths)
Access to bilingual dictionaries help students to both read and write in their home language as well
as extending their vocabulary in English. Students (particularly early stage learners) should be
encouraged to extend their own glossaries in the home language in all areas of the curriculum. It is a
good idea to start with picture dictionaries and extend to more comprehensive ones. There are also
many free online bilingual dictionaries such as Collins or oxford dictionaries. These should be used
in preference to translating software like google translate which is often inaccurate.
How to activate links to prior knowledge
It is vital to activate existing knowledge, introducing new vocabulary or reinforcing previously learned /
introduced vocabulary when teaching any EAL learners and all strategies involve using a visual element to
provide access for bilingual learners.
a) Oral Starters
Brainstorming: this is elicited from the class / group and draws together students‟ broad area of knowledge.
At the beginning of a topic:
Science – What do you know about metals?
History – Ancient Egyptians – What does the word Egypt mean to you?
At the beginning of a lesson:
What do you know about liquids?
How do we get our fruit and vegetables?
Demonstrate on the board, use pictures / projected internet sites, pupils can write a list, a web or a semantic
b) Visual Starters
This might be a picture, diagram, chart or an object to introduce the subject. A cover of a book for
prediction or recall.
Be careful, especially with beginners, not to assume a knowledge of vocabulary which is not there. A useful
strategy is to point to items in the visual starter and to get the students to name the items in their mother
language and then to speak and scribe the word to them in English.
C) Written Starters
These are likely to be in the form of written questions on the board which the teacher reads out. The
students may then answer orally while the teacher writes the responses on the board or the students may
be asked (depending on their language acquisition) to write the answers down themselves.
Pupils working in pairs, write an answer on paper either in English or in their home language.
Each member of the group writes an answer if they can and passes the paper round the group until
everyone has had a chance to write their idea.
What I Know
What I want to
How am I going to
What I have
Students brainstorm what they know about a topic and list their ideas in the first column. They work
together to complete the next two columns. As a plenary at the end of the lesson, they fill in the final
Underline keywords from a passage relating to the lesson
Odd one out – place a set of words / sentences which are linked and one that is not
Sequencing – put a set of words / numbers on the board (eg. Newt, frog …., 1, 3, 5, ….) and students
have to add to the sequence
A-Z of a topic – students write out the alphabet in a book and each lesson try to fill in 5 more words for
the topic that start with a different letter
Making words from a keyword
Last letter / first letter – a word is written on the board and students have to think of another word to do
with the topic starting with the last letter of the word and so on
Learning from display – students write down 5 things they can learn from the classroom display
Completing sentences – write 5 half finished sentences about the work from the last lesson on the board
and students have to complete them (eg. An igneous rock is formed when ………)
Individual tasks – write individual tasks on pieces of paper and give out to each student at the start of the
lesson (differentiated for early stage learners). These may be very simple (12 x 2 =) or more challenging
(Write down 6 Hindu gods)
Bet you can‟t – based on the learning of the last lesson „bet you can‟t remember 5 things we learnt
Speaking and Listening Strategies
These strategies all rely on students working in pairs or small groups so this first section will relate to grouping
techniques. The teacher needs to manipulate the grouping procedure to maximise the learning experience. For
new arrivals and early stage learners, it is important that they should be placed in a group with a sympathetic
friend who speaks their own home language, otherwise they will not be engaged in the task and might even feel
Roles within the Group
It is often useful to allocate roles within a group as this often clarifies the task for the students and keeps them
on task. Possible roles are:
Chairperson – to keep group at work
Record keeper – to keep track of the work
Time keeper – to ensure the whole task is covered
Spokesperson – to report or speak for the group
Students‟ names drawn from a box
Birthdays in the same month
Different categories of card in a box (colours, animals etc) with a number of cards the same depending
on the group sizing required
Same height, colour of eyes, colour of hair
String pairs: tie half as many pieces of string together (into a loose knot) as the number of people in the
group; everyone takes an end; string is untied leaving learners attached to their partner
Letters and numbers; cut paper into strips and write a letter on one side d a number on the other; half the
learners take a paper strip and memorise the number; the strips are reshuffled and the other half take a
strip and memorise the letter; the teacher calls out the pairs by matching the letter to the number eg. A/1,
Jumbled words – learners unjumble their word and find another student with the same word
Letters of the alphabet matched with pictures of an object which starts with that letter
Jumbled words matched with pictures of objects
Synonyms / antonyms
Text jigsaws – cut up a piece of text into 2 or more pieces and the students match their texts to form a
Paragraph pieces – a paragraph is cut up into sentences and students form a group by finding those with
sentences about the same topic
Problem solving – students solve a problem by consensus e.g. Discussing the importance of an idea or a
statement or an interpretation of an ambiguous picture
Information gap – each student holds part of the information required to complete a task and they need
to share this information thus stimulating interactive discussion. Alternatively, student A has all the
information and student B has to obtain this information by appropriate questioning
Rank ordering – students place a certain number of items from a given list into an order of importance or
Thinking strategies – students collect different ideas around an issue and then order and evaluate these
Jigsaw tasks – the group have several pieces of a text or a picture and they have to fit them together to
form a whole
Mutual dictation – a short text is cut up either vertically or by alternate lines and the students work as a
pair each dictating their half in turn to the other in order to complete the whole text
Treasure box – each student brings an object from home and this is placed in a brown paper bag. When a
bag is held up, the other students ask questions about it to determine what is in the bag eg. Its shape,
colour, size, texture, possible uses etc.
What happens next? – the teacher writes a sentence starter for a range of different stories. Each group
has to continue the story. After a few minutes, the teacher makes a signal (whistle etc.) and the groups
rotate to the next story. They must then add to the already existing story. When all the groups have
rotated, the final stories can be read. This exercise works particularly wee using computers when the
final stories can be printed out.
The teacher needs to make sure they are clear about the kinds of reading tasks the students will undertake and
that appropriate materials have been selected.
Preparing students for the reading task
Introduce the activity and make clear the purpose of the activity and the skills to be developed
Provide a shared experience – film, video, pictures, music, experiment etc.
Provide a diagram or flow chart representing the context of the text or the sequence of instructions /
Brainstorm the topic and produce a concept map
Get students to pose questions about the topic which they would like their reading to answer. This is a
valuable exercise as it also provides a plenary in that after the reading the students can check to see if
their questions have been answered
Get students to provide a graphic outline (headings, sub-headings, illustrations0
Picking out key words and getting students to predict what the text will be about
Using non verbal clues such as cover and illustrations
Looking at the layout features of a text before reading the content
Using verbal clues such as title, headings and blurb
Using scanning and skimming techniques
Introduce new vocabulary, idiomatic and metaphorical language
Use a parallel text first
Highlight words with more than one meaning
Identify expressions that may not be understood
Jumble sentences up
Supporting students during Reading
Students reading aloud
Student reading to teacher
Stopping after a short while and getting students to predict what will happen
Use what / when / where questions to help secure knowledge of sentence structure
Ask who or what reference words refer to
Model the pronunciation
Provide activities which require the student to look for information in the text
Discuss language or cultural points
Point out features of the text , pictures and diagrams and their style and organisation
Explain unfamiliar / new vocabulary
Use big books
Students read and discuss texts in small groups
Provide „talking‟ books
Provide parallel texts
Provide chapter summaries, outlines and graphic outlines
Processing and Responding to the text
Produce visual materials and graphics
Use questions and other written responses
Use different levels of comprehension questions (literal, interpretive – between the lines, inferences,
applied – relate to other knowledge)
Students ask / write their own questions
Use noting and summarising techniques
Get students to change the style of the text
Look at sentence structures
Retell the text
Recall, dramatise or graphically represent the sequence of events
Go beyond the text make a display
Have a debate / talk
Telephone for more information
Write letters for various purposes write a newspaper article, pamphlet, review, story, essay
Before starting a writing activity
Determine the purpose of the piece of writing
Determine the genre
Discuss and list vocabulary and key phrases which will be needed
Discuss who the audience will be
Help students generate their ideas by letting students of the same heritage work together in their mother
Brainstorm the topic and write the ideas generated on the board – perhaps in a spider diagram
Get students to write about the same topic for different audiences
In all curriculum areas, decide if writing is the most appropriate response to the activity
Ensure the students are familiar with the context and content
Be explicit about purpose, genre, vocabulary and audience
Establish a context for the writing task (eg. Reading a text, viewing a video / film, listening to music / a
speaker, going on a trip, doing an experiment etc.)
Provide opportunities to discuss the writing task
Provide techniques for organising ideas (writing frames, visual charts, outlines, notes etc.)
Provide examples of the language needed for the purpose or function of the writing
Teach / revise the text types you are expecting students to use
Model the kind of writing required
Supporting students during writing
Focus on meaning and appropriateness
Give ongoing feedback
Address language difficulties in context
Use conference techniques to encourage collaborative writing
Maintain a balance between process and product
Publish / display student writing
Give a meaningful response and comprehensive feedback to student writing either written or verbally
Consider further developments
Ruler Game – Put words relating to the lesson on the board. Split the class into 2 teams with a
spokesperson. Give each spokesperson a ruler. As questions are asked, the spokesperson has to run to
the board and point to the answer. Whoever is first gains the point.
Test at the beginning and end – Start with a test about the leaning objectives and what will be covered in
the lesson. At the end of the lesson retest the class using the same questions to shw what they have learnt
in the lesson.
Paired sharing – Students work in pairs and feed back the key points to the class.
Three things – Explain either orally or in written form three things that you have learnt in this lesson.
Reduce the lesson to a sentence – Write one sentence to say what the lesson has been about. Read out
Explain the lesson to a younger brother or sister – Make the explanation understandable to a young
Active brainstorm – The topic is written on the board and students come out in turn to write one thing
they have learnt about the topic. The same thing cannot be written more than once.
Bingo – Students write down a set number of key words about the lesson. The teacher then reads off the
words that were most important and students tick them off. The first to get all the words wins.
“Stop when you think it‟s right” – Write on the board the key things students have been learning. Ask a
question and then using a ruler start at the top and slowly move the ruler down. Students should say
„Stop‟ when you have got it on the right answer.
Peer assessment – Review for group work. Students are given a slip of paper on which they write the
names of the people in their work group. They then (including themselves) give each person a mark out
of 5 as to how they feel each has contributed to the work. The group then discusses the marks given and
the reasons for them.
Self assessment – The students give themselves a mark out of 5 and then have to justify it.
Mini whiteboards – ask students questions about the lesson and they write the answers on mini
whiteboards. When prompted, the students hold up their answers together.
Questions to go – Students answer questions about the lesson in order to gain permission to pack up.
Letters – A letter is called out to each student in turn and they must either think of a word beginning
with that letter which says something about what they have learnt or a sentence that begins with that
word which summarises their learning.
Keyword hangman – Play hangman with the class as a whole using keywords or new words used in that
Post it notes – Each student or pair of students is given a post it note on which they write down 3 key
things they have learnt in that lesson. The notes are then stuck on the whiteboard and the teacher reads
key ones off. Students can look at them and pick out ones that they think are the best.
Text summary – Students summarise the key learning in the lesson in the form of a text message. They
may work in pairs.
Can of worms – Each pair is given a strip of paper on which they write a question about the lesson.
These are all put in a container and each pair in turn takes one out and has to try to answer the question.
Make what you have been learning about – Students work in small groups to construct a three
dimensional representation of what they have been learning about using whatever is available in the
class. Each group then explains their model to the rest of the class.