Welcome to this year’s second newsletter from the Primary English as an Additional Language (EAL) Team!
In this edition I’d like to talk about some of the ways we develop the four skills of EAL - Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing.
While we acknowledge learning a new language is hard work, we aim to make the lessons engaging, enjoyable, accessible and fun!
When we say that someone ‘speaks’ a language fluently, we usually mean that they have a high level in all four skills – listening, speaking, reading and writing. That’s why at BSB we focus on developing these skills in EAL. Very often learners will have strengths or weaknesses in particular skills, and in some cases can achieve high levels in, for example, reading and writing, while not being able to speak or listen at a comparable level. However, English is such an important skill in the global world, and needed in so many different contexts, that someone with a good ability in all four skills will greatly increase the opportunities open to them.
Students are given a wide range of activities to practice their listening skills.
Initially students listen and identify what they hear by pointing at pictures or drawing what they’ve heard. They watch short cartoons and engage in role play to reinforce their learning. Children play games such as ‘Listen and Mime’ or ‘Sing and Mime’. Listening is the skill language learners develop first. They understand much more than they can say.
As our leaners’ confidence grows, children develop their speaking skills. Year 2 students take part in in a wide variety of speaking activities. They enjoy learning through playing guessing games, class surveys, dice games, talking about stories and discussing social issues that affect day to day experiences such as what can I do if I lose something or how to play a game with my friend. It’s wonderful to see the students communicating their ideas in English and engaging with the class teacher.
Year 3 students practise reading with fluency and expression. Students enjoy reading and dramatising the stories from the Super-Minds books. During Book Week the students loved reading a range of traditional tales and were able to re write their own versions of ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ and create story boards.
Year 4 students developed their writing skills by describing dragons. They collected lots of fantastic adjectives and wrote wonderful descriptions about what their dragons looked like, where they lived, what they ate and whether they were good or bad.
Year 5 and 6
Although I have discussed developing the four skills separately, in most of our classes we use an integrated approach. This could be seen when students in Year 5 prepared interesting presentations about their hobbies and interests using PowerPoint and presented them to the class. Year 6 students were able to demonstrate these skills further. They read a story, discussed their ideas and subsequently planned and wrote their own stories based on the initial theme.
Head of Primary EAL