EAL: Caring for non-native English-speaking children

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By Halina BoniszewskaEAL teacher

Avoid non-English speaking children’s frustration at not being understood, with these helpful ideas.

Child reading

Problem:A new child is going to be joining our nursery class. She is three years old and doesn’t speak any English. I’m dreading it because of our recent experience of a non-English-speaking child who used to push and snatch – presumably through frustration at not being understood. What can we do to avoid the same thing happening with the new child?

Answer: What you describe is not uncommon. It is certainly true that when non-English-speaking pre-schoolers are not understood, they can become frustrated and disruptive, if not violent. However, if you stop to think about it, the same is true of native English speakers whose communication skills are either poor or slow to develop. So, what should you do to avoid or minimize such disruptive behaviour?

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  1. basil79
    on 4 October 2011

    I needed some usesful advice?!

    I was excited to recieve an alert about this as our EAL intake in increasing and I am struggling to find new ideas, this article is what I and our team do everyday so was of no help????

  2. Jax51
    on 3 October 2011


    I was quite interested in this article especially as half our nursery is EAL and I was looking forward to gaining new ideas. The article stated the obvious and was not very helpful.

    1out of 5
  3. JKP280505
    on 3 October 2011


    Sorry, but like the other reviewer, I was excited about this as I have a new child with EAL and cannot speak any English. Again, this only stated the obvious that any good practitioner should be doing already. If not, why not??! Very disappointed.

    1out of 5
  4. Teacher
    on 1 October 2011

    Not very helpful

    I'm afraid this article was not very helpful at all and stated a bit of the obvious. I was very excited about the topic because I have several children with EAL in my class and was looking forward to some good tips, which I don't feel I got. I expect more from my subscription. What a shame.

    1out of 5