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How do EAL children learn in school?

We learn a new language both through actively learning new vocabulary and rules; and passively through immersion in our environment. This week, we’re going to look at some of the ways our EAL students learn English in our lessons.

  • How do EAL children learn in school?
  • How do EAL children learn in school?
  • How do EAL children learn in school?
  • How do EAL children learn in school?

In Year 1, we’ve been learning about clothes and parts of our body. They’ve learnt this through the use of songs and games. Simple games like’ Simon Says’ give them the opportunity to practice speaking alongside the new vocabulary from the lesson. Even simple games like this can be differentiated through the length of instructions being given and the difficulty of the language being used.

Coming to the middle of the school, Year 3 have been learning about things we find under the sea (e.g. – Coral Reefs). Naturally, movies such as “Finding Nemo” and “Moana” came up during discussions. They draw connections based on what they’re learning and what they already know. English they hear in movies gives them a context as to what the topic is about; alongside how the English would be used in an everyday conversation you may hear on the street. They hear and see how words are spoken, while also looking at expression and body language of the person saying it, to help understand the word’s usage.

Higher in the school, Year 5 produced their own interview script between themselves and a respected newspaper journalist. Through the use of roleplay, they practiced natural responses to questions posed to them in everyday conversations while at the same time expanding their vocabulary based on the interview topic they chose by doing basic research online. Through listening to an actual interview, they used phrases such as “Hmm…” to buy time and “Wow that’s amazing!” to express themselves when learning a new interesting fact.

Remembering words is all well and good, but the most important part is for our EAL students to understand how they’re used and when they’re most frequently used.

By Jay Lee

EAL teacher