EAL in the Elementary School

The Role of EAL support in the Elementary students’ learning

During the limited hours spent in the EAL (English as an Additional Language) lessons, the students will learn English language skills; but mostly they will learn and internalize the fundamental skills that are required to enable them to develop their English, and to learn optimally in the English language in every part of their school and home environment.

Accordingly, the EAL learning objectives are constant and unchanging. They do not just focus on subjects or on the information being learned but rather repeat, practice and reaffirm the fundamental skills required in order to enable the children to develop and use their English, and for them to learn all other subjects in the school, in the English language..

Results are measured in the EAL students’ increasing ability to gradually integrate in their classes’ academic work, having learned good work skills and habits, while becoming proficient in the English language. In this way, the EAL lessons provide a safe environment to acquire learning skills and develop their English language skills. They provide the students with a sense of security and achievement, and promote a feeling of confidence that is very important when integrating into a new language environment.

EAL is not a cohesive class or lesson. Mostly, it is a collection of learners of different ages and diverse needs who are scheduled to attend at the optimal time considering their needs and their respective class timetables. They do not come to “English lessons” that are planned and assessed according to the latest trends in teaching. Rather, while coming to acquire new knowledge, they come to learn and practice skills that enable them to consolidate that which they have already learnt in order to return to class and function at their best. EAL sessions provide the students with skills that are required throughout, while increasing their proficiency in the English language. This enables them to access the explicit and implicit curriculum of the Grade as quickly as possible, and to perform at their maximum potential at each given time.

In this way, the EAL room is an:

  • Enabling environment
  • Coaching environment
  • Supporting environment to help students adjust to the environment of the new language and country
  • Safe/nurturing environment in which students are challenged to progress in an individually paced fashion
  • Low stress environment that provides the ‘space’ for children to consolidate conscious and subconscious learning processes while adjusting to a completely new environment

The proven outcomes of receiving EAL support:

  • Increased confidence through the safety of the environment and sense of achievement
  • Fast integration into the school’s English academic and social environment at the maximum potential at each given time.
  • The strategies/tools and information learned in EAL are internalized and used throughout the children’s overall learning processes.