Contents: Contents 2. Introduction 3. What is EAL support and who receives it? 3. The aims of the EAL programme 4

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1 EAL INFORMATION International School of Stavanger Treskeveien 3, 4043 Hafrsfjord, Norway Tel: Fax: Website: Revised March 2014

2 Contents: Contents 2 Introduction 3 What is EAL support and who receives it? 3 The aims of the EAL programme 4 Principles guiding EAL classes at ISS 4 EAL Homework 5 When does a student no longer need EAL support? 5 How parents can help 6 Dos and don'ts 7 Frequently Asked Questions 7 Bibliography 11 Recommended Reading 11 2

3 Introduction This booklet is designed to give parents some background about the EAL programme at the International School of Stavanger, as well as practical suggestions to help your son or daughter adjust to an English medium education. What is EAL support and who receives it? EAL (formerly called ESL) stands for English as an Additional Language. EAL support is available for any student whose first language is not English and who needs additional language support because of his/her language background. At all school levels: Early Childhood, Primary, Middle and High, small group or individual teaching is offered by an EAL teacher. In Middle School these lessons take place as an alternative to modern languages or electives. Across the whole school, English language learners can be offered in-class support where needed. As part of the ISS Admission procedure, new students who have some knowledge of English are tested to determine their level of English. Placement in an EAL group is based on test results, information from previous school records, an interview with the student, and consultation with parents. The tests used are chosen according to grade level, and are as follows: Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) The Oxford Young Learners On-line Placement Test (OYLOPT) The Online Oxford Placement Test When starting in the EAL programme, each student will have an individual learning plan (ILP) developed by their EAL Case Manager. Each quarter, a narrative report will be written describing the progress the student has made during the previous nine-week period. In the Middle and High Schools, students will receive EAL reports in the same way as for their other subjects. High School students will be graded if their EAL classes are taking the place of mainstream English. 3

4 The aims of the EAL programme The EAL programme assists students whose first language is not English. The overall aim of the EAL support programme is to offer the student additional help in building language skills to develop confidence in social and academic English as rapidly as possible. The programme aims: To develop the student's ability to communicate effectively in English in social situations and to succeed in the academic programme at ISS. To develop the student's skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing in English in all subject areas. To build on the student's linguistic and cultural identity to motivate his/her learning and raise self-esteem. Principles guiding EAL classes at ISS The process of learning a second language is quite similar to learning a first language. Children take many years to become fluent users of their first language. Similarly, EAL students need adequate time to achieve proficiency in learning English. Students' skills in their first language influence their rate of second language learning. Students should continue to study their first language while they are learning English. ISS endeavours to facilitate mother-tongue tuition within the school day, and at after-school programmes, in order to encourage continued language development. Learning is an interactive process. Students will learn English more easily when they have opportunities to use the language for genuine communication. Therefore EAL students need opportunities to interact socially with fluent speakers who can 'scaffold' (Bruner 1974*) the learner of English, i.e. a more English-proficient student helping the language learner. Students learn best when they feel secure and are interested in what they are doing. Successful learning takes place in a supportive, non-threatening, enjoyable learning environment. 4

5 Children are no longer seen as 'empty vessels' but are, on the contrary, good at making sense of what they know and what is around them. Furthermore, people excel in different ways. It is recognized that there are possibly more than seven different types of intelligences (Gardner 1983*). It is therefore important that students are given tasks which are set at an appropriate level and which allow them to use their particular strengths to make progress. Children need to take part in intellectually challenging learning activities. Teaching input should be just beyond the learner's level of language (Krashen 1982*). This should stimulate and challenge the child to develop his/her language while the message remains understandable and accessible. Grammatical structures are studied both in context and as discrete items from upper primary onwards. More than one language can be learned at the same time. EAL students are able to take part in the Norwegian or Modern Language Programme at ISS. Language is learned in every subject area. All teachers at ISS are, to some extent, English teachers. * See the Bibliography EAL Homework Across the whole school, homework may be assigned in the EAL class in order to support the development of the student's English language skills. EAL students are encouraged to read for their own enjoyment as much as possible. High School and Middle School students are required to have light reading in English e.g. story books, novels, magazines etc. in progress at all times. When does a student no longer need EAL support? A student will stop receiving EAL language support once competency in English is established and the needs of the student can be met entirely by the mainstream teachers. In order to evaluate a readiness to leave the programme, the student's language will be tested in the EAL class and a decision will be made in consultation with the student's classroom/mainstream English teacher(s). The parents will be informed of the decision by the EAL teacher. 5

6 How parents can help Most importantly, continue to develop the child's knowledge of his/her first language. Children who do not progress in their first language will have more difficulty acquiring new skills and concepts. Without a solid foundation in their first language they will find it difficult to learn anything. Use the child's first language at home. Do not feel that you have to speak English with your child. Children learning English will feel enough pressure to use English within the context of the school environment and will need the security of knowing they can use their first language freely at home. Encourage reading at home in the student's first language. If your child is already reading please continue to maintain interest and develop proficiency by providing first language material for your child to read. Children who already know how to read in their first language will find it less difficult to learn to read in English. They will simply transfer and apply what they already know from reading in their own language to learning to read in English. This is a much easier task than learning the mechanics of reading through a language which is not their own. Avoid correcting every mistake your child might make when he/she does use English with you, as this will make him/her reluctant to communicate. Give your child time to learn English. Comprehension precedes production. Children need time to assimilate the language before they can use it freely. Encourage friendships with other students who do not speak your child's first language. The children will be motivated to use English naturally in this type of situation. Encourage your child to take part in English speaking activities that involve other children, such as extra-curricular activities connected with school. This will facilitate 'social' language. See The Informer for possible activities or obtain further information by contacting The Parents' Association. Use the school/public libraries to borrow books in English to read at home. Audiobooks are highly recommended. Provide opportunities for your child to listen to stories and songs in English on CDs. Allow your child to watch appropriate English language television and DVDs. Take your child to the cinema when suitable films in English are being shown. 6

7 Dos Do speak the first language. Do read in the first language. Do be patient. Learning a language well takes time. Do be relaxed and supportive. anxious. Do praise your child's effort at speaking English, errors. makes. Don'ts Don't feel you must speak English. Don't read English only. Don't expect too much too soon. Don't pressurize the child by being Don't make your child reluctant to speak by correcting every mistake he/she regardless of any Frequently Asked Questions 1. WHEN IS THE BEST AGE TO LEARN A SECOND LANGUAGE?* Many people believe that the younger a child begins to learn a second language, the easier and better he/she will learn it. Probably this only applies to the ability to speak without a foreign accent. There are many factors affecting how quickly a child will learn a language including: a. The student's motivation to learn b. The student's personality and learning style c. The type of instructional programme d. Access to first language speakers of the language e. The status of one's own language vs. the second language to be learned 2. DOES THE LEARNING OF MORE THAN ONE LANGUAGE AT THE SAME TIME CONFUSE THE STUDENT?* The human brain can store many languages at the same time in much the same way that a computer can process input. In some countries, children become fluent in five or more languages. Having strong skills in one language enables children to learn other languages more easily. 7

8 3. WHAT SHOULD BE DONE WITH THE FIRST LANGUAGE OF THE EAL STUDENT?* Students who learn English as an additional language must also develop academically in their first language. These skills should be provided by mother tongue programmes. 4. SHOULD STUDENTS BE REQUIRED TO SPEAK ENGLISH AT ALL TIMES IN SCHOOL?* Students in international schools should have as many situations as possible to communicate in English. This is especially important since it is only at school that many students get the chance to practise their new language. However, it is natural for EAL students to speak their own language with their peers, especially in their home country. Furthermore, discussing academic subject matter in their own language helps to reinforce understanding. Students should never be made to feel that speaking their first language at school is ever wrong. However, it should be remembered that English is the target language. 5. WHY DO SOME STUDENTS SEEM TO SPEAK ENGLISH WELL BUT HAVE DIFFICULTY IN SCHOOL?* There are two kinds of language proficiency - social language and academic language. The ability to use English for personal communication is usually learned more quickly than academic English. Academic English involves more time to develop reading and writing skills. 6. WILL THERE BE SOME STUDENTS WHO WILL SIMPLY NEVER LEARN ENGLISH?* All children can learn language given a natural social setting. Of course, different students will learn languages at different rates. The more accepted and comfortable children feel in the learning environment, the more progress they will make in language learning. 7. WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO DETERMINE LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY?* It is not wise to determine language proficiency on the basis of one test or numerical score. A much more practical method is to use a multiple measures approach to language assessment. This means that many different kinds of data are used to arrive at an estimate of a student's language proficiency. 8

9 8. HOW ARE EAL STUDENTS ASSESSED IN LANGUAGE SKILLS AT ISS? At ISS data gathering tools depend on the student s age and can include the following : a. Biographical data from previous records b. Developmental Reading Assessment Data c. The Oxford Young Learners Online Placement Test d. The Oxford Placement Test e. Anecdotal Data from classroom teachers f. Student writing sample g. Student conference 9. HOW OFTEN SHOULD EAL STUDENTS BE ASSESSED? Incoming EAL students will be assessed when they first arrive at ISS. Those students who are identified as needing EAL instruction will be placed in the programme and a schedule set up according to the individual student's needs. EAL students will be assessed at the end of the school year to determine further EAL class placement, if any, in the next grade level. Students are also tested before exiting the programme. Other informal assessment in EAL occurs continuously throughout the year. Throughout all school levels a quarterly narrative report on progress is recorded on the student s ILP. 10. WHICH KIND OF PROGRAMME HELPS STUDENTS TO ACQUIRE AN ADDITIONAL LANGUAGE AT THE FASTEST RATE?* Research shows that children learn languages best in environments that are interactive and where emphasis is placed on the content of the communication rather than the form. Students also learn English better when it is not only studied as a subject but rather as a medium for learning academic subject matter. 11. SHOULD ALL OF THE STUDENT'S ENGLISH ERRORS BE CORRECTED?* No. Language learning is a developmental process. It is a set of stages through which learners pass. In this process mistakes occur, gradually change and hopefully disappear. Successful language learning depends upon the freedom of the student to make mistakes. Too much emphasis on perfection and accuracy frustrates the student and inhibits this natural process. Teachers aim to create an atmosphere that allows students to make mistakes and learn from them. 9

10 12. WHAT CAN PARENTS DO TO HELP?* Parents of EAL students should keep informed of their child's progress in the English language. They must also be sure to provide continued first language development and literacy opportunities. 13. SHOULD I SPEAK TO MY CHILD ONLY IN ENGLISH?* No. Parents of EAL students should continue to use the language of the home to communicate with their children. If parents are proficient in English, they may want to assist their children with homework if they feel comfortable doing so. Encourage your children to read in their first language because reading skills transfer across languages. First language literacy will greatly help their second language development. 14. HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE MY CHILD TO LEARN ENGLISH? SHOULD I WORRY IF MY CHILD IS NOT LEARNING ENGLISH AS QUICKLY AS OTHER EAL STUDENTS?* Second language acquisition cannot be put on a schedule or timetable. Few children learn a second language at the same rate. Parents should not be concerned if their child is not appearing to learn English as quickly as others. Remember, it will take three to five years or more for your child to become proficient in academic English. 15. HOW CAN I MOTIVATE MY CHILD TO LEARN ENGLISH?* Parents of EAL students should not put too much pressure on their children to learn English in a set amount of time. They should encourage friendships with children of various language backgrounds so that English will be used as the language of communication. Also, providing your child with a variety of high interest language learning materials and English books in your home will be a great help. (NB * Reprinted from The Munich International School Parent Information Handbook, prepared by Dr. Virginia Rojas.) Finally.. Please contact the EAL department or your child s EAL teacher with any questions or concerns you may have at any time. 10

11 Bibliography Bruner J. (1974) Beyond the Information Given. London: Allen and Unwin Longman. Gardner, H. (1983) Frames of Mind: the theory of multiple intelligences. New York: Basic Books. Krashen, S. (1982) Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Pergamon. Williams, M. Ten Principles for Young Learners IATEFL Newsletter Issue No. 142 April - May 1998 page 6-8. Recommended Reading Brumfit, C. Moon, J. Tongue, R. ed. (1991) Teaching English to Children. Cummins, J (2014) Teaching through a multilingual lens dpdf&wdo=2&authkey=!abv2zbpeabor6rw Diaz-Rico, Lynne T. (2013) The Crosscultural, Language, and Academic Development Handbook. Pearson Donaldson, M. (1978) Children's Minds. Fontana. Douglas Bown, H. (1994) Principles of Language Learning and Teaching. Prentice Hall Regents Prentice Hall, Inc. Fisher, R. (1990) Teaching Children to Think. Basil Blackwell. Hamayan, E. (2014) Role of the Home Language in International Schools and Classrooms dpdf&wdo=2&authkey=!aemrlovy8yl09h0 Lightbown, P and Spada, N (2013) How Languages are Learned, OUP. Pollock, David C and van Reken, Ruth (2009) Third Culture Kids: Growing up among Worlds. Nicholas Brealey Pub. Richards, J.C. Lockhart, C. (1994) Reflective Teaching in Second Language Classrooms New York: Cambridge University Press. Sears, C. (1998) Second Language Students in Mainstream Classrooms. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in Society. London: Harvard University Press. Wells, G. (1987). The Meaning Makers. Hodder and Stoughton. Williams, M. Burden, B. (1997) Psychology for Language Teachers. Cambridge University Press. 11

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