EAL EXAM support

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.

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

English Exam book cover












General exam Questions

Glossary of Exam Terminology

For other langauges and to buy follow this link http://shop.emasuk.com/category/2617/exam_success_books


Using EMASUK resources in a nursery setting

Following on from last weeks feedback from a nursery we have received emails asking us how our tools and resources can support nurseries, as up until now they believed that they were stuck.

Using Talking Tools

Here are a few of our suggestions.

Find the resource EAL through storyboards in the library, under English, then choose a language or the languages in your setting. Use this to play finger rhymes Peter and Paul, Humpty Dumpty and Twinkle Twinkle. Support this further by using  Terry (Talking Tutor) to say out the words in the child’s first language then repeat in English. Add to this further and develop language by asking one child to be Peter and ask them to hide, when the Rhyme suggests Peter returns and then answers questions about where he has been ( this is great for advanced learners).

Literacy through Storyboards

Literacy through Storyboards

Sandbox – Use the sandbox to reinforce words e.g. use Terry (Talking tutor) to speak aloud words such as dig, cover and act it out, then repeat in English.

Game – Where is the Dragon – Ble mae Ddraig? Choose a stuffed toy bear, duck, or in this case a dragon (well I am Welsh) etc. and tell the children they are going to play where is the Dragon. Use Terry (Talking Tutor) to say this in the home language. Place the dragon on, in, under items and then repeat. Less advanced learners will start of by saying on, there (and point to where it is) whereas more advance learners can expand and use their vocabulary by explaining, where it is, naming the item it is on, or under and construct the sentence well.

Or snap see example below.

Snap Cards - Insects

Use the Interactive whiteboard to learn shape or animal names. Ask the children to hide a bird and items on the board this could be a shape – e.g. behind the square, on top of the circle.

Add bilingual labels around the classroom. Sentences are better than words, remember to use small sentences to ensure they can use the word in context.

Bilingual Poster showing colours in English and Lithuanian.

Bilingual Poster showing colours in English and Lithuanian.

Use bilingual colouring sheets to support and embed language acquisition.

Colouring Sheet - Bee

Colouring Sheet – Bee

Teach rhymes and then translate them and send them home to mum and dad remember that they don’t rhyme in other languages.

Don’t forget songs are always good. Simple songs remind us of learning pattern, words, pitch, tunefulness and happiness. Use Talking Tutor, text tutor or Two Can Talk to translate songs and ask parents to help.

Communicate across languages with EMASUK SMT's

Communicate across languages

Remember that CVC words do not always translate as CVC words e.g. dog become chien

Finally look in the teachers section for the Early Year sheets for parents.

Parents Guide

Parents Guide

My child’s amazing bilingual abilities and skills are not valued, used or developed in English-only school

This was piece recently that I read in the Guardian what do you think?

My child’s amazing bilingual abilities and skills are not valued, used or developed in his English-only school.”

The Government can point to a growth in the number of bilingual primary schools as a result of its free school programme – there are French, German and Spanish schools in operation.

In addition, it is making languages compulsory from the age of seven in state primary schools for the first time ever from next September.

However, such actions are too little, Ms Gavrilova feels. “Our children are set to grow up in a world where their sense of normality is very different from ours,” says the brochure outlining its plans. “Their ability to adapt and adjust will be the difference between success and failure.

“It’s why the behemoth of the British education system is increasingly not the answer to our children’s needs.”


But what do you think?

I think schools delivering bilingual opportunities are valuing their learners and parents culture.  It from the first language that the second language is learnt and developed. It is only done much quicker than the traditional methods used as the young people brains are wired differently so they can translate easier and quicker across language using the technologies available to them to support their language acquisition. But what are your views?

If you would like more information on the tools and resources we have available to make your job easier when communicating with children or parents then contact us at www.emasuk.com or info@emasuk.com 0845 009 4939 Thanks Liz

*NEW *November Uploads to EAL Resource Library

For those of you wondering what was new last month I have uploaded;

Using the Talking Tools and A4 sheet giving a quick overview now in the Teachers Section of the Resource Vault.

Cell Poster for Science in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese Cantonese, Chinese Mandarin, Czech, Dutch, Gujarati, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Italian, Malay, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Somali, Spanish and Urdu.

Food Chains wolf, deer, grass posters for science in Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese Cantonese, Chinese Mandarin, Czech, Dutch, English, Gujarati, Hebrew, Latvian, Lithuanian, Italian, Malay, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Somali, Spanish, Turkish and Urdu.

Food chains producers to consumers poster for science in Bengali, Chinese Cantonese, Chinese Mandarin, Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Gujarati, Hebrew, Hungarians, Italian, Kurdish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malay, Nepali, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Somali, Spanish, Turkish and Urdu.

Herbivores poster for science in Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese Cantonese, Chinese Mandarin, Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Gujarati, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Kurdish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malay, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Somali, Spanish, Turkish and Urdu.

Human Body workbook for PE or Science in Farsi and Turkish.

Learning Mat Lines for Maths in Albanian, Bengali, Chinese Cantonese, Chinese Mandarin, Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Gujarati, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Kurdish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malay, Nepali, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Somali, Spanish, Turkish and Urdu.

Maths Resource sheets in Portuguese.

Signage – Please walk carefully in Afrikaans, Albanian, Arabic, Azerbaijani, Basque, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese Cantonese, Chinese Mandarin, Croatian, Czech, Dutch, Danish, Estonian, Filipino, Finnish, Greek, Haitian Creole, Hebrew, Hungarian, Irish, Japanese, Korean, Kurdish, Latin, Latvian, Lithuanian, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tamil, Thai, Turkish and Welsh.


The first language is the language of ‘love’

Teachers often ask advice as to what to say to parents who say to them that they want their children only to speak English. My advice is always that the first language is a great bridge to learning the second language quicker, but also the key to their roots so I was immediately drawn to this recent article

The first language is the foundation for the second language. In addition, it is the language of “love;” the language in which, parents, grandparents, cousins and aunts communicate. If a young child is separated from that circle of communication, a valuable developmental tool is taken away. The American Speech-Language and Hearing Association says, parents should support and build the first language as children learn the second language. Parents should continue to use the first language with their child and feel comfortable doing so.

They further go on to say

First, it is critical for your child to use language often, no matter the language. Some parents have been told that their child should stop using the home language (for example, Spanish), if they are having difficulty learning English. This advice has been given to parents for many years, but it is not correct.

Finally the article gives advice on the type of things that you should look out for incase there is a problem with speech development using Spanish as the second language to give examples.

There are some additional things to be aware of as your child is developing language. Your 1-year-old should be alert to her surroundings, follow simple commands, such as “come to mama or ven a mama,” and try to make babbling sounds like “mama and dada.” Two-year-old children should be putting two words together, such as “no quiero or up now;” however, the sounds in the words may not all be clear. By 3 years of age, your child should be using short phrases and sentences to communicate.

The language of many 3-year-olds is so mature that they sound like miniature adults. If your child is in school and is having difficulty, the first thing to do is to find out if the first language is developing normally. As schoolwork in English becomes more demanding, your child may face more challenges in school and sometimes be discouraged. Good language use is important to all subjects in school. Talk to your child’s teacher or  request a speech and language evaluation in both languages.

I hope this helps as often we are unsure of what to say and why. If there are any other benefits please share them with the other readers of the blog via the comments box.

For the full story


Using Bilingual books can support children with one English spekaing parent.

September seems a long way away and teachers have not even started their holidays yet.  Many will be planning vigorously for their September classes just before going for a well earned break. One thing that should be on their minds especially if they know of new arrivals to their classes the language of learning their children have experienced prior to arriving in their classroom.

For myself this story struck  chord with me

On a sunny day in London, when the streets are crowded with people enjoying the rare warmth, you can hear an abundance of different languages from the majority migrant groups in the city: families discussing the school day in Somali; teenagers gossiping in Turkish; imams greeting each other in Urdu.   But passing by the shop fronts boasting posters in languages from Polish and Bengali, you won’t hear German or Cape Verdean creole – not unless you go to Andrea and Xaxa’s for tea and cake.http://blog.languagelizard.com/2013/04/15/bringing-up-multilingual-children-with-less-common-home-languages/

The reason being that  few years ago, I was not only planning for my new classes but also my daughters when moving from Wales to London.  What disappointed me the most was that although I thought about my new classes language of prior learning, the teachers at my daughters school did not reciprocate. Up until this time she has been taught her academic learning in Welsh so although verbally adept in English her academic language did not match. What did make me cross was that I worked very hard at the end of my first year creating and supporting the creation of resources via the Local Authority for my classes in Greek, Turkish, Bengali and Urdu but nothing was ever created to support her.  In parent discussions when asked about how they are helping they could tell you how to help others similar to the stories above but as this was readily available and to hand they never went the extra mile to support those other pupils with English as their second or third language.

In an effort to support as many languages as possible and because of the sheer wrench it can be to move house within a village, without from Wales to England or indeed from any other country in the world we asked Shoofly to support us in creating  book about feelings and loss.  The book is called Pip and can be used with parents particularly if only one parent speaks English as it will have the text in English plus e.g. German.  To support teachers and the pupils further in a PSHE role with it is a great software programme that allows you to put Pip into a story, recreate a story or create your own story. using your own words and pictures or from the dedicated library of images and words.

If you would like to support these children each book is £20.00 but via this blog on offer until 1st September for only  £15.00 per book (excluding p and p)  and is currently available in the following:

picture format only, English, Polish, Albanian, Chinese Mandarin, Czech, Dutch, Russian, French, German, Nepali, Kurdish, Hungarian, Norwegian, Hebrew, Latvian, Cantonese, Romanian, Somali and Lithuanian.

Pip Story Creator – £100. http://shop.emasuk.com/site_content/site_emasuk/resources/pip-order.pdf for bulk orders.


Quote Blog to receive your discount to either info@emasuk.com or in person to 0845 0094939.

Give all of your children a chance.





Can discrimination be positive and negative?

At what point does positive discrimination become negative? Consider the school playground if a school does not allow its pupils to speak their native language but insists on the school language e.g. English is this negative discrimination? In Wales in the Welsh medium school, children are actively discouraged to speak English even at break time.  They are rewarded for speaking Welsh with a tocyniaith (token) which adds up to a tystysgrif (certificate) Is this positive or negative discrimination ?  It is about the way the person perceives it.  If the leaner thinks it is a positive way to learn a language then it will be accepted that it is but conversely the opposite is also true.

This news story tells us how in working situations the same is also true. Summary is below.

Inclusive” and “diversity” are the buzzwords in corporate America these days. Inclusive generally means that people should not be made to feel purposely left out, and diversity refers to the many differences — whether they be religious, political, racial or ethnic — that people bring to their communities, schools and businesses.

Specifically, these two words are prominently used in the culture and mission statement of Whole Foods, the upscale “foodie” store that last week was accused of suspending two employees who complained about the company’s English-only policy.

This kind of infuriating story illustrates the cluelessness and differing expectations of conduct that factor into dealing with the serious issue of how we communicate with each other in an increasingly multilingual country

Whole Foods’ rules state: “English-speaking Team Members must speak English to customers and other Team Members while on the clock. Team Members are free to speak any language they would like during their breaks, meal periods and before and after work. Additionally, this policy does not apply to conversations among Team Members and customers if all parties present agree that a different language is their preferred form of communication.”

It is human nature to feel left out when some of the people in a group setting are speaking to each other with words the rest can’t understand. This isn’t bigotry; it’s hard-wired, evolutionary fact. Group cohesion only occurs when individual group members behave cooperatively, not individualistically.

This explains why every time the subject of not speaking English in this country comes up, people get very upset — because language seems like a proxy for the ultimate group cohesion: allegiance to our flag.

for the full story