Two teachers share advice on using the toolkit to understand student learning needs
English as an Additional Language (EAL) content has been added to the Foundation to Level 6 Literacy Teaching Toolkit.
The Literacy Teaching Toolkit Map – Foundation to Level 6 has been updated to show which practices and examples in the toolkit now include EAL-specific advice on effective language and literacy instruction for EAL learners:
Literacy Teaching Toolkit Map – Foundation to Level 6
Teachers can use the additional content to support them to implement the new EAL curriculum.
Supporting EAL students: a teacher's perspective
Michelle Andrews, the EAL specialist at Preston North East Primary School, says new EAL content in the toolkit helped her better understand her students' learning needs.
'I like how the EAL content links strongly to familiar mainstream curriculum,' Michelle says.
'It contextualises the explicit EAL strategies that teachers need to use with their students right within the curriculum they are already familiar with.
'By the same token, the specialist EAL teachers can see the broader, mainstream context that they're preparing their EAL students for.'
Improving learning outcomes for EAL students
One of the new features of the EAL curriculum is the inclusion of plurilingualism, or using home languages, as a strategy to support students' learning and communication.
Nadia Shilston, a leading teacher of English at Coolaroo South Primary School, says plurilingualism created a positive learning climate for migrant and refugee students.
'I feel that the EAL-specific advice acknowledges the EAL cohort within our school and offers practical strategies that can easily be implemented directly within a mainstream classroom,' Nadia says.
'I like how it brings the focus back to the students' first language and how it can enhance their learning in English rather than hinder it.
'It makes the child feel more secure and more willing to take risks with their learning.
Michelle described a memorable lesson with two EAL students that was the culmination of a term's work on narrative writing.
'It was quite amazing and really interesting for me to watch them collaborating to write The Little Purple Hen,' she says.
'They started off just speaking in Vietnamese, but as they went along, they'd say the English word they wanted the other person to write.
'By the time the story was finished, they were speaking completely in English.
'They ended up with a better story because they could fully communicate their ideas to each other.
'One of them had more creative ideas, but the other had better English and helped with sentence structures.
'It supported both girls and allowed them to use their individual strengths which they probably wouldn't be able to use if they had only used English.'
Michelle says her role in this student-centred approach was to allow her students to work independently on their tasks but support them with prompts and reminders.
Planning using EAL content
Michelle and Nadia found the EAL content invaluable in planning for their students.
'I have frequently referred to the toolkit both as a classroom teacher and as a leading teacher of English over the past few years,' Nadia says.
'The addition of the EAL advice in the toolkit is timely with the recent release of the new EAL curriculum.'
'It supports teachers in the implementation of the curriculum and is easy to navigate via the Literacy Teaching Toolkit Map.'
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