Did you see the BBC TV programme about lambing recently?
The first thing I noticed was when they showed the entrance to Scotland the sign behind was in two languages, similar to the entry into Wales at Bristol.
At the last count there was over 1 million children in UK who are bilingual and this is increasing daily so for teachers and school managers it is an issue that needs to be addressed in line with current legislation and practice. These children (including many in Welsh, Cornish, Scottish and Irish schools) speak two languages as part of their everyday lives.
Daily they may use their languages for different purposes e.g. speaking to grandparents is probably in a different language to their school friends. There is also then for schools the question of literacy as they may be literate in one language but not in another. In Wales where Welsh is also developed daily alongside English the pupils maybe trilingual. Some will start school knowing more than one language and some parents may be encouraging children to become literate in their heritage language through teaching them at home, attendance at community schools or parental choice to a designated Welsh or other language speaking school. This is the route we took with our daughter choosing a Welsh school to allow her to develop her heritage language and gain essential language skills.
Throughout the last 30 years more and more teachers and others involved in EAL and bilingualism have come to recognise the importance of first language development for children learning EAL. Many parents and children now are asking to retain their bilingualism and not lose it due to lack of opportunities to develop and use the language . This is known as subtractive bilingualism.
We need to recognise the important role of first language development in second language development, as we have shown in training courses that Jean and I have done around the UK, and which has successfully led many educators to promote the development and maintenance of first languages and to actively support bilingualism and in turn in some cases also received either outstanding or good OFSTED results particularly in schools with high levels of EAL students.
Many teachers use bilingual resources successfully to support the teaching and learning of EAL and bilingual pupils. You can to by using our bilingual exam book it supports the student taking the exam and the teacher teaching towards the students understanding aiming it genuine collaborative learning.
I have always done this by changing written material into the home language or introduced the new words in relation to the next project so that my students can access it. Due to many rules and regulations all of my students had to be able to take their exams in English so an explanation of and seeing of exam papers beforehand is crucial
Exam Success – English/Lithuanian Learn all the words needed to sit exams and tests in English.