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.
Chris and I created EMAS UK with the plan of making a positive difference. People questioned our approach as we wanted to value every language and supported keeping the person’s homelanguage alive while they learnt English. Now that approach is being recognised at last with other organisations now saying the same thing. Below are a few of our success points over the last year or so.
Last Summer, EMAS UK has had its first school achieve 100% level 4 in KS2 SATs in a school that is over 40% EAL.
Last Month, EMAS UK has had its first school inspected under the new Ofsted criteria to achieve a good rating.
Last Week, EMAS UK has reports of children started structuring sentences in only 4 weeks due to its revolutionary communications tools.
Last Term, EMAS UK has teachers rating their INSET training on EAL support as highly recommended.
Last Term, EMAS UK has schools requesting further support after they have undertaken the school audit by its award winning staff.
None of this seems ground breaking but when you think that there is a person at the end of every story and it can change their lives then it really matters. As we have always said ‘Every Language Matters’.
The latest info pod is the headteacher of Manor Park School in Aston talking about their use of EMASUK. Jason is also an Ofsted Inspector and inspirational school leader. Listen to what he has to say about EMAS UK and the difference it makes to the lives of the children in his school…
In the info pod you can hear the Birmingham Headteacher talking to the local radio station about the difference that using EMAS UK makes to his children. He discusses how it transform learning and accelerates English language learning and how he has monitored his children’s achievement to assess success.