Talking Tutor is useful for Design Technology and Science teaching

As a Design Technology -Resistant Material specialist many teachers I have worked with see it as a subject that is easily accessed by EAL pupils. This is mainly through misconception as they believe that as it is a largely practical subject then they can access it. What colleagues often forget is that, like Science, the practical aspect of a design challenge is only one small part of a process. Also included are the complex tasks of time management, development of an idea from concept to delivery, evaluation of the process which requires the development and use of investigative and planning skills throughout. There is also a high level of academic language required to understand the individual process involved.
Using Talking Tutor to give information to support their language development is really easy and also allows you or a teaching assistant to use previous experience to support and develop their learning quicker. It works very simply just put yourselves in their shoes.
Using Talking Tools

Using Talking Tools

Imagine you don’t speak a language e.g. GREEK. You can speak English as this is your first language and at this point only language, you have been to school for a few years so know basic mathematical concepts, tools and their names. You go to a school where everything is in GREEK what do you do? You are still the same person but suddenly language is a barrier.  The school has two options;
Option A – Take you to the side, in small groups and teach you Greek from scratch like you would teach a toddler but expect recollection to be quicker due to age – this is  a much practiced was that I see in many schools that are not challenging or innovative enough
Option B  – recognise they know what we mean by the academic word adding up, drawing, cut etc. but in Greek so share the word for this concept in English. In this way it speeds up the academic words learning process. It also improves the level of understanding.
In my school I always choose option B mainly as I have always had a time constraint called exams where everyone is tasked to achieve. By using Text Tutor which is currently on offer you can easily support academic language development in DT or any subject with a little extra thought about where the best use will be. NB Depending on the age of the child, those schools where access is always available and learning is paramount in their room, the students learn to just log on and find out the equivalent word and then get on with what they are doing. Interested?
Text Tutor

Text Tutor

Challenge your pupils by using time saving pre-made resources from the resource library or our books

Colouring Sheet - Bee

Colouring Sheet – Bee

My name is John Foxwell and I am one of the creators of EMAS UK. My wife and I both teachers created every single sheet in the resource bank and have tried to aim it at differing age groups more inclined towards a level rather than the age. Some of the resources are as basic as numbers but that rises as the levels get more challenging to cells and their make-up. I tried giving access to the resource library but found that some teachers just downloaded all the wanted and then didn’t buy the product, which was a real shame as the resource library is extremely good value and covers a wide range of ages and levels, 3 to 16 and levels 1 to 5.

Using the language mat to reingforce and bridge skills across languages.

Skills transference between Arabic and English

The books are interesting as they have different purposes. Pip is all about discussing emotions and starting points, its ability is to start talking about the fear of moving somewhere new, the loneliness of feeling alone and the differences in locations, finishing with the learner understanding that they will make friends and they will feel more at home as time goes by. The maths books is designed to take the learners current knowledge teach them the words that they need to understand what is being asked in English and join their peers as quickly as possible. It also helps teach new concepts by having the right words for the mathematical shapes, operations and procedures in dual language text, bridging the gap between prior learning and current understanding without lack of developmental knowledge.

Different types of Triangles

Different types of Triangles

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For more information contact us via email @ or call us on 0845 009 4939

Exam Success – English

English Exam book cover

Do you need help in examination or test conditions?

Do you need help with understanding what exam questions mean?

Our English only and bilingual books support dual language, MFL  and English as additional language learners in French, German, Gujarati, Somali, Polish, Chinese Mandarin, Chinese Cantonese, Hungarian, Russian, Slovakian, Turkish and Lithuanian.

Contents include an explanation and examples of Exam questions that use the following words;

General Examination Questions
Glossary of Exam Terminology

Learn all the words you need to sit exams and tests in English / Lithuanian

************************  NEW BOOK *************************

EXAM SUCCESS English/Lithuanian.

It always amazes me when I open the post and out tumbles a book written and produced by John and myself with translators or guest authors. I am thankful to everyone that has helped us on our journey to ensure that we can between us create, write, design, print and publish. I was particularly excited today as out tumbled the new Exam Success book in Dual language Text to support bilingual learners wishing to learn English and also wanting to sit English written examination papers. It is of course not the first title  as we have luckily already published a few languages including; English only, French, Gujarati, Polish and Chinese Mandarin… to see the full list  of  titles here:

Exam Success - English/LithuanianLearn all the words needed to sit exams and tests in English.

Exam Success – English/Lithuanian
Learn all the words needed to sit exams and tests in English.

The title and written information does talk about GCSE success but the examples are necessary to all  academic learning. It is written in the guise that anyone sitting any exam needing Examination terminology and its understanding will find something useful within the pages.

Every child that sits their GCSE has the same battle, understanding the questions. This is even more difficult if their first language is not English, research has shown that it takes twice as long to answer questions due to the translation and deciphering of terminology. This book supports non English speaking examinees with a simple to understand booklet showing and explaining the term then giving actual exam questions to develop understanding and clarify the response.

Each book’s  RRP (recommended retail price)  is £20.00 and with the exception of Pip we want to give everyone a discount consequently we have lowered the price to £15.00 for people using the EMASUK website .

To order contact Carolyn at or phone her to order on 0845 009 4939

Practical Example of Developing Differentiated Resources from a Single Language Mat

In the resource vault at EMAS UK there are thousands of resources that can be manipulated to fit the need of the learner. Each mat is designed by either Liz or me, John,and is a starting point for the journey that you wish to take. I have started to manipulate a language mat for you to see how I saw it being used in the classroom. I have been a teacher and remember the frustration of not having the resources I needed when I needed them. This mat is the anatomy of a flower and is good for ages 7 to 15, but I have seen it used as an aide memoire for A level students. Even when I did my degree I would go back to simple books like the Penguin ranges for inspiration and knowledge, they seemed to explain things in a way that used words and pictures together to reinforce my long-term retention. This is the reason that I have created large format mats with clear pictures and simple labelling. I used them as a teacher and developed them to work with all abilities in the classroom, differentiation for vulnerable groups isn’t a new concept, it was what good teacher did and still do as part of their daily classroom practice.

Bilingual Language Mat

Using a standard language mat in Arabic and English to create learning resources

I started out with the basic mat that you can find in the ‘resources by language’ section of EMAS UK. This is an ideal starting point as it is in two languages, This one is in Arabic but there are thousands to choose from. The next stage was to remove the English words from mat, this was a way of progressing the learner to start linking the English words to the picture and the Arabic words. Taking all of the words off would be pointless as we want to bridge the learning between Arabic and English, helping the learner use the skills they have in their home language in English.

Using the language mat to reingforce and bridge skills across languages.

Skills transference between Arabic and English

The next stage has to be to remove all of the labels but to place the English words in a side panel help the learner recognise the pattern of the words and link them to the parts of the flower.  Remember that these are all good assessment pieces as they show progressive language development and understanding.

Langauge reinforcement and skills development

At this stage the learner has gained the relevant English language skills needed to identify the parts of the plant in bot Arabic and English and is using them to label the parts effectively. Now we must look at the understanding and how without labels and pointers in English the learner used their home language skills to label the part of the plant.

Creating opportunies to share knowledge and understanding


The language mat is now void of any real information apart from the English words and the picture of the plant. This will give you as the teacher the opportunity to gain an undesrtanding of the learners knowledge.

Don’t forget that all the way through this process the learner should be explaining what they see, the colours, the shapes, the image and linked words. For example if this was a triangle then we would be asking the learner to think of other words that have ‘TRI’ in them, this is an opportunity to make them aware of the links between words.

The next stage is that of the learner drawing their own flower and labelling it. To remove the ‘blank page’ fear, put a range of boxes on it. I use this as my final assessment but it might be a step on the way to yours.

Using the mat for assessment

I hope this has made sense of how to use a language mat and some of the opportunities for its extended use.

OFQUAL NEWS – New language accessibility guidance and Consultation on ESOL regulations

News out today from OFQUAL. Dont forget we can support these exams with our GCSE exam success book and the soon to be printed SATS book.  We must make sure we assess these children for what they know about the subject and not their level of English.

New language accessibility guidance

We want to make sure that the exams and assessments we regulate give all pupils the fairest opportunity to show what they know, understand and can do. Some pupils may not understand some of the words or phrases used in an exam or assessment. This could be because English is not their first language or they have a learning disability. However, they may be able to carry out a task and show their skills if a question is asked in another way.

We did some research on exams and assessments with subject experts and we produced reports and some guidance, which can be downloaded below.

Language Accessibility Research Reports:
Research Background: Monitoring Access to National Curriculum Assessments (2012)
Research Background: Guidance on the Principles of Language Accessibility in National Curriculum Assessments (2012)

These reports explain what we found when we looked at the design and wording of exams and assessments.

Language Accessibility Guidance:
Guidance on Monitoring Access to National Curriculum Assessments (2012)
Guidance on the Principles of Language Accessibility in National Curriculum Assessments (2012)

This guidance is aimed at test designers, teachers, teaching agencies, and others involved in educating pupils with special and additional support needs.

Consultation on ESOL regulations

Our consultation on English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) qualifications and the regulations that govern them continues until 3rd December.

It is our responsibility to ensure that qualifications are secure, fit for purpose and suitably meet the needs of a range of learners. We are looking at ESOL qualifications because their role has changed significantly in recent years to include factors such as immigration and the right to reside in the UK.