Assessment: The EAL challenge

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By Jennifer Becklesfreelance journalist. With thanks to Argyle Primary School, King’s Cross, London for some of their ideas

Help EAL children prepare for their SATs by boosting language acquisition skills and improving basic vocabulary

Assessment for Learning

Over the coming months, primary schools up and down the country will be busily preparing for SATs tests. Working with children who are learning English as an Additional Language needs effective preparation. Use these five basic principles for both effective teaching and learning:

1. Language learning skills

The technicalities of language learning are commonplace around the world. So if a child is fluent and articulate, it shows that they have an ability to cope with some of the complexities of language learning. It is important, therefore, to allow them to practise their skills by providing dual language texts, and opportunities for them to speak in their home language.

2. Bilingual assistants

Where possible, employ teaching assistants who are fluent in the child’s home language, as they will be useful for translation and interpretation tasks. Think about the child’s culture, too. Reading stories written in their own language, using resources such as photographs or images of traditional cultural objects, and interacting with other ethnic children and staff can help support their learning.

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