Category Archives: EAL Support

Project: Bilingualism is cool – EAL Parent and Pupil Support Group


The project is based on a 45 minute pupils-parents session; run every fortnight in the school.  The pupils’ age range is 3-12, a group up to 10 members. Each session is focused on different areas; music, family, emotions, symbols, traditions, food presented through different activities, games and role-plays. For the first 15 minutes of the session parents are introduced to the theme of the session, its aims and the ways they can practice it at home. Then there is a 30 minutes session with the children. There are 2-3 activities practiced, depending on the theme and pupils’ engagement. The aim of the session is to communicate in the first language. Parents and children communicate between themselves in their own languages,  English is required only in crucial communication.


All pupils with English as an Additional Language and their parents are welcome. As we work together the group should be up to 10 people

All children- exposed and not exposed to their mother tongue are welcome.

 We base our activities on:

-Multilingualism at school. Teacher’s guide. How to motivate children to use languages.

-30 Activities to support Multilingualism at home. Parent’s Guide on how to motivate children to use family languages.




To be a learner of EAL (English as an Additional Language) in the class or a speaker of a language that is not represented elsewhere in the school can mean ‘an isolated learner’. It is also very challenging for the learners to catch up with their peers in social and academic aspects of the language. There is a variety of cognitive demands that might be required and incorporated in classroom tasks in order to enable them to develop the English language.

*Ensure that an EAL induction is organised for new arrivals.

*If possible, learn a few words in their first language and introduce words of greeting to the whole class.

*Display a ‘welcome’ board in both English and pupils’s first language.

*Prepare collaborative learning activities with visual aids. Collaborative Learning creates an EAL friendly classroom.

*Be aware that a pupil may be distressed. Seek for EAL support if necessary.


Our schools in Scotland are a growing multilingual environment, where each child should have the right to learn a second language or a third one according to the 1+2 approach to modern languages.

As a matter of fact, a school in Angus is piloting a project  with a Parent Group  of EAL ( English as an Additional Language) which one of aims is to ensure and explore parental engagement and support the use of other languages in the school. This project also includes consideration of the role of the students’ home language(s) as part of the process of language acquisition and development.

Our project is based on school integration and social participation of parents whose children have English as an additional language in a variety of activities, such as in the classroom, playground, assemblies or school events. We understand that parents’ participation affect children’s sense of identity, belonging and their ability to make friends and cope within the new culture and ethos of the school.


Overall our schools need to start building capacity for the teaching of other languages in addition to English, as well as to develop staff confidence in teaching a modern language.



Having sampled four different languages, Polish, Russian, Sinhalese and Mandarin over four weeks the children are saying:

‘It is fun.’  ‘I enjoyed it.’ ‘I am looking forward to using the language.’ ‘I might use the words if I travel to Russia or if I meet a person who speaks the language in the school.’ ‘I felt hard how to pronounce the words’ ‘It was pretty cool.’ ‘It was tricky.’ ‘I feel pretty good sharing my language.’ ‘It is a good opportunity to learn Polish.’ ‘It is a good thing to have someone who speaks the language.’ ‘It is helpful to learn three languages.’

What are parents saying?

‘It’s very positive.’ ‘The pupils were smiling and trying to say the words.’ ‘I feel pleased to see that they were interested.’ ‘They were asking questions and they wanted to write their names in Russian.’ ‘It was amazing the questions pupils asked, ‘why do write different?,’ ‘how many letters are in Polish language?,’ ‘how many languages have you learned?’

And the teachers:

‘It was really good to have dual language books and read the same story in different languages. It is achievable and fits within 1+2 languages approach.’ ‘I enjoyed having mums in class. It gives you confidence as they can speak and read in their language and in English.’ ‘It is great to see the children so enthusiastic.’ ‘It made the class busy.’ ‘It was great to have more adults in class.’ ‘We had lots of fun.’ ‘It was exciting.’ ‘I felt relaxed.’ ‘I loved it.’ ‘It was flexible and met the interests of the pupils.’ ‘The text and the repetition of the words worked really well.’ ‘The pupils were able to pick up the language easily.’ ‘Pupils broadened their view of the world.’ ‘It is hands on through experience.’ ‘Now it is less alien to everyone.’




The school management team can organise  an enrolment meeting with the EAL coordinator, an interpreter, and a family member to welcome the new pupil. The aim is to gather vital personal information and identify the pupil’s needs.


Assess and record first and English languages development on arrival and again at the end of the induction programme, when the pupil will have settled in.


It is important to adopt a consistent  and appropriate symbol system  according to the age  and stage of language development of the new arrival,  such as photos, pictures or drawings with words.

imageThe cards above are displayed on the pupil’s desk from left to right, but they can also be displayed on the board from top to bottom.


The pupil will be glad to visit key locations such as the classroom,  the toilets and the lunch area.  A peer who speaks the same language of the new arrival can be very supportive and explain the school routine.


Label a tray or a locker as well as a place to hang their coat with his or her name.


Pupils with EAL need good role models, face the class teacher and the board.


It is a good way to introduce the new pupil and encourage everybody to  try the pupil’s first language.



Encourage the pupil to use their first language.


Plan a variety of group activities that promotes engagement and participation of everybody in the classroom including the new arrival.



Encourage the learner with EAL to write their work in their first language if literacy skills in their first language is developed.






When possible provide dual language books with visual support as well as a dictionary or electronic translator and pair the learner with a fluent peer for reading.


Pupils with EAL can do maths at the same rate as other pupils of their age. Ensure that there is an effective learning environment by:

*giving demonstration;

*using visual displays;

*being aware of language demands;




The Power of Native Language – Mother Tongue

Research has shown that children learn better in their native language (Unesco, 2008a). Many educational systems in the world insist on adopting languages that are believed to have more privilege. As a consequence children  are finding difficult to engage successfully with learning  and the teachers are feeling overwhelmed by children’s poor achievement.


Unesco (2008b) attests growing interests in mother tongue-based education through a wide variety of models, tools and resources that have being developed  and piloted to promote learning in children’s native language.

Unesco (2008a). Mother Tongue Matters: Local Language as a Key to Effective Learning. Paris: Unesco.

Unesco (2008b).  Mother tongue instruction in early childhood education: A selected biography. Paris: Unesco.


Translated Letters for Schools

Letters for Schools to give to parents translated into multiple languages can be found on line.
The English version of the letters are listed on Education Support for Northen Ireland Website and the appropriate language can be selected from the side menu.
DGT EAZ in association with Liverpool LEA also offer letters translated on either in MS Word or PDF formats.

Language of the Month

In Angus we believe it is inclusion to take an interest in pupils’ first language. We praise multilingualism and encourage language learning.

‘Language of the Month’ celebrates pupils’ background and gives the children an opportunity to understand other cultures and communicate in a different language each month.

The scheme introduces everyone to the languages spoken in the school community.

The EAL teachers highlight the value of all languages suggesting audio activities and video clips of basic words and phrases  recorded by a pupil at the school and a family member.

EAL Pupils at Forfar Academy

Forfar Academy is committed to promoting inclusion for pupils whose first language is not English.  In school, the EAL Co-ordinator works closely with the Visiting EAL teacher to ensure appropriate assessment and provision for the pupils in mainstream education.

At present we have a number of pupils whose home language is Polish, Latvian, Russian and Urdu. Some of these pupils have come straight into secondary education from their home country with little practice of spoken English.

To help them settle into their new environment they have been making multilingual signs to display around the building. Parents and staff have been working with pupils to ensure the translations are accurate! Basic information and instructions such as “Walk around school in an orderly manner” or naming important rooms such as “Sick Bay” or the “Assembly Hall” are now displayed in six languages: English, Gaelic, Polish, Latvian, Russian, and Urdu each with the appropriate national flag beside it. The EAL pupils say “it helps us feel comfortable in our new school”, “it helps us learn new language” and “it makes us feel happy in school”.  Faculties are now considering ways of using multilingual signs in their departments to help our EAL pupils learn basic information and follow classroom rules.

SQA ESOL qualifications are being delivered for the first time at Forfar Academy which teachers have commented is making a big difference to them accessing the mainstream curriculum. Pupils are learning phrases for Everyday Communication, Transactional Language and language for Work and Study.

A lunchtime club for EAL pupils and their friends as well as creating dual language letters to send home to parents about absence notes, homework and behaviour are all further examples of initiatives taking place in Forfar to make EAL pupils feel more at ease in their new school.