Key Strategies by abstraks


									      Key Strategies
                              for a language enhancing curriculum

                        to English

Gordon Ward                                                                  EAL consultancy
   9 Shepherd’s Wood Drive, Aspley, Nottingham NG8 3NA
tel. 0115 929 2239                         mobile 07 778 708 993              Email:

 Gordon Ward (11/04/2010) file: /d936d1d9-a1c1-4113-bf58-b715edd1929a.DOC
Key Strategies for a Language Enhancing Curriculum
In this series of booklets, Gordon Ward describes some key strategies for creating a language-
enhancing curriculum for all pupils, but particularly for pupils learning English as an
additional language. The key strategies are:-
             1. set clear language learning objectives
             2. ensure understanding by the use of visuals, etc.
             3. organise focused oral work
             4. use the children’s first languages as a powerful learning tool.
             5. provide reading and writing work at appropriate levels

This booklet considers all the key strategies and gives practical advice on meeting the needs of
pupils who are new to English.


                    General Advice                                                3

                    Principles                                                    5

                    Working with other children                                   6

                    Teaching strategies                                           9

                    Reading and writing                                           10

                    Deciding which language items to teach                        11

 Gordon Ward (11/04/2010) file: /d936d1d9-a1c1-4113-bf58-b715edd1929a.DOC
                                  General Advice
Children who are new to English often go through what is known as a “silent phase” when
they say almost nothing at all. For some children this phase lasts a matter of hours, for others
it can go on for 2 or 3 months. This is a normal reaction to an extraordinary situation! During
this silent period the children are adjusting to their new situation and are attuning their ears to
the new language, so:-

Don’t worry
              Don’t worry if they are shy and seem unwilling to join in, they need plenty of
               listening time first.
              Don’t worry if they will only speak in their first language, this is natural and
               helpful. Even advanced learners of English can benefit from using their first
               language - it can enhance their understanding and their acquisition of new concepts.

Find out about the children
              Find out about their names
                    How do you pronounce them?
                    Do they have different surnames from their parents? (This is common in
                      many cultures))
              Find out about their first language
                    What is it called?
                    How is it written?
                    Can they read/write it?
              Find out about their cultural and religious backgrounds.
              Find out about their diet, health and previous educational experience.

              Remember everything may be new for the children and they may suffer from
               culture shock.
              Remember they may have different skills, concepts and knowledge from the other
               children in the class. They may have seen the Himalayas but never have been to an
               English seaside.

 Gordon Ward (11/04/2010) file: /d936d1d9-a1c1-4113-bf58-b715edd1929a.DOC
              Do ensure that the pupils work with other children who are sympathetic and
               helpful. At least one of these children should be able to speak their first language if
               at all possible.
              Do encourage the children to speak, read and write in their first language.
              Do draw on the pupils’ knowledge of the geography, language, religion, customs,
               cuisine, etc. of their country of origin.
              Do use other children to help and teach the newcomers - children are often good
               teachers and teaching someone else often helps to reinforce learning. The use of
               small group work will encourage this.
              Do ask the children’s parents to talk about their school work/experience in their
               first language.
              Do consider carefully where to seat them - use a variety of groupings during the day
               and in general group them with pupils with a similar level of ability.

              Don’t talk too much - the pupils can only understand a little at a time.
              Don’t force the children to speak English - many children need a long time listening
               to a new language before they are ready to speak it.
              Don’t think they are disobedient if they don’t do what you tell them - they may not
               understand even quite simple instructions for several months.
              Don’t correct the children if they are telling you something important - just repeat
               what they have told you in correct English.
              Don’t ask parents to speak to their children in English at home - they need to
               continue developing their first language as well as English.
              Don’t automatically group them with pupils who have special educational needs or
               who have challenging behaviours, you are more likely to teach them to be naughty
               than to teach them English!

 Gordon Ward (11/04/2010) file: /d936d1d9-a1c1-4113-bf58-b715edd1929a.DOC

People learn a new language most easily
       1. when they are in a positive, secure and helpful environment.
       2. when they are interacting with others
       3. when the language items they are expected to learn are clear and focused
       4. when new language items are presented to them in a meaningful context
       5. when they hear the new language items repeated several times
       6. when they have the opportunity to repeat and use the new items themselves


The major resources available to teachers who have pupils in the early stages of learning
English are:-
       1. other children in the class
       2. the teacher herself
       3. other adults e.g. specialist language teaching staff, ancillaries, parents, students, etc.
       4. the beginner’s family
       5. the beginner’s own skills e.g. their first language, any literacy and numeracy skills
          they have, their knowledge of the world, etc.
       6. physical resources e.g. objects, pictures, dual language books, dual language tapes,
          language games and activities, etc.

The following is a list of physical resources that teachers with beginners in their classes may
find useful
        1. objects from around the class - pencil, rubber, ruler, felt tips, etc.
        2. other objects - plastic fruit, toys (e.g. vehicles)
        3. sets of pictures (LDA publish many)
        4. dual language books and tapes
        5. picture dictionaries
        6. published language games e.g. Language for Learning pack, Guess who, etc.
        7. home made games e.g. the Multigame, pairs games, etc.
        8. maths work - especially computation and other work which requires little or no
        9. simple worksheets - especially those involving matching picture to word

 Gordon Ward (11/04/2010) file: /d936d1d9-a1c1-4113-bf58-b715edd1929a.DOC
                                       Working with other children

One of the most effective ways to promote the English language development of beginners in
the mainstream classroom is to involve them in work and interactions with other pupils.

Why we should use other pupils
1. We have no choice! - other pupils are the only resource in our classrooms that we have in

2. Acting as teachers helps children
        We only remember about 10% of what we are told - we remember about 70% of
          what we teach!
        Translating is a very high language skill; it helps children to understand the lesson
          content and helps them to remember it. So asking children to remember and
          translate a lesson will help them, as well as the beginner.
        If we talk to the class about learning aims for the beginner, and how to assess the
          learning of the beginner, then the children will understand more about their own
          learning and the expectations we have of them.

1. use buzz groups (children work in twos or threes to discuss a question – see below) -
   encourage bilingual pupils to use their home languages in these groups
2. use different groupings during the day including first language groups
3. discuss with the class what they could teach the beginner
4. teach the children to teach - e.g. ensuring that the beginner learns new words and concepts,
   rather than just finishing the page!
5. discuss how they will assess the beginners learning
6. praise children for use of first language,
7. praise children for good teaching of the beginner, etc.
8. get the children to prepare materials (e.g. by cutting pictures from a catalogue, etc.)
9. organise specific activities that will facilitate pupils teaching beginners (see below).

 Gordon Ward (11/04/2010) file: /d936d1d9-a1c1-4113-bf58-b715edd1929a.DOC
Activities that children can use with beginners

- buzz groups
Buzz groups (i.e. asking the children to work in very small groups (2/3 children in a group) to
discuss the answers to questions) can be used in many lessons.

For example in the literacy hour - shared reading section - read the text to/with the children
then ask them to work in buzz groups to
        re-tell the part of the story that has just been read
        predict the next part of the story
        say what they like/don’t like about the story
        guess the words that you have covered with “post-its”
        think of alternative words to describe a person/object in the text
        etc.

Wherever possible, organise the small groups so that pupils can use their first language - the
beginner can then join in with other children who share the same language. After the buzz
groups ask some pupils to share the answers with the whole class.

It is often valuable to discuss what the beginner is expected to learn in terms of the learning
expected of the whole class. For example, if the class is to learn about adjectives in the
literacy hour, ask them to list the adjectives that the beginner needs to learn first and then to
think of ways in which these words could be taught and practised.

This can be extended to other parts of the curriculum - we can discuss with the class what we
expect them to learn in a history or maths lesson, and then identify with them what part of that
we could expect the beginner to learn.

- practical activities
              Asking a beginner to work with other children in some practical activity is often
               easy to organise and is often very effective.
              This is most effective if they can either work with other pupils who share the same
               language and/or have a particular role within the group (e.g. write part of a poster in
               their heritage language).
              If groups are to feedback to the whole class, it is often helpful to insist that the
               beginner must say at least one sentence (the rest of the group have to coach

 Gordon Ward (11/04/2010) file: /d936d1d9-a1c1-4113-bf58-b715edd1929a.DOC
There are a multitude of language games and activities that other pupils could use with a
beginner. Here are a few of the simplest:

- turn and name
             One pupil has a set of picture cards.
             The pupil turns the cards over one at a time for the beginner to identify and name.

- pairs
             Pupils play pairs (Pelmanism), using either 2 sets of picture cards or a set of picture
             cards and a matching set of word cards.
             1. Players spread the cards out face down.
             2. They take it in turns to turn over one card - and leave it face up
             3. If the cards matches with another card that is face up the player can take both of
             NB It is important to make sure that the children, especially the beginner, name the
             object on the card and/or read the words aloud as they turn them over.

- The Multigame
You need a track to play this game:                                          and you need some small cards. On the
                                                                             cards, you can put:-
                                                                                      pictures
                                                                                      single words
                                                                                      questions
                                                                                      half sentences, etc.

             1. Take it in turns to take a card.
             2. Ask the next player “What is this?”
             3. If the next player can identify the picture or read the word etc., they can throw the
                dice and move round the track.
             4. The first person to get round the track is the winner.

If children work in a group of 4, then each child might have a different set of cards, e.g.
         the beginner might have a set of picture cards to name
         a slow learner might have a set of words to read
         another child might have questions about a history topic
         the fourth child might have questions about the 9 times table
The players take it in turn to take a card and respond to it (name the object in the picture,
answer the question, etc.) The other children have the answers to monitor the responses. If the
response is correct, the player can throw the dice and make their move.

 Gordon Ward (11/04/2010) file: /d936d1d9-a1c1-4113-bf58-b715edd1929a.DOC
                                                   Teaching strategies

Use the children’s first language skills
                 provide dual language books and worksheets.
                 provide tapes of stories in the children’s first language.
                 provide notices and labels in their first language.
                 ask bilingual staff or parents to read to the pupils in both first language and English.

Comprehensible input
             Provide visuals to ensure that the children understand new language items. Real
             objects and demonstration are most effective - these could include walks round the
             school and its surroundings, as well as objects brought into class, science experiments,
             cooking, model making, etc. However, photographs, pictures, videos, etc. are also
             extremely useful (and much more manageable!) and for older learners diagrams, maps,
             etc. can also help.

Oral activities 1 - naming objects - chain drills
              Show the children some objects and tell them what they are called
              Take one of the objects and ask the first child “What’s this?” - S/he says “It’s a
              The first child then asks the second, who asks the third, etc.

Oral activities 2 - Kim’s game
              Put a number of objects on the table and name them with the children.
              Put a cloth over the objects and pick up (in the cloth) one of the objects.
              The children have to name the object in the cloth.

Oral activities 3 - One of three
             The teacher takes three picture cards and shows them to the children naming the
         2. The teacher then shuffles the 3 cards (possibly behind her/his back) and shows
             one of them face down to the first pupil.
         3. Teacher asks "What's this?" Pupil guesses and responds "It's a ...."
         4. Teacher shows the card.
         5. If the pupil has guessed correctly s/he is given the card and the teacher takes
             another card from the pile and shows them to everyone and names them and then
             continues with the game until all the cards have been won.
NB This game must be played very fast - only allow one or two seconds for pupils to guess -
they'll soon speed up. If the game is played slowly it quickly becomes boring!!

 Gordon Ward (11/04/2010) file: /d936d1d9-a1c1-4113-bf58-b715edd1929a.DOC
                                                   Reading and writing

Reading and writing work with pupils will depend on their age, ability to read/write their first
language, their ability to read/write Roman script, etc.

Principle 1
Encourage pupils to use their first language literacy skills; this will enhance their acquisition
of English.

Principle 2
Understanding is the basis of all language learning; it is essential in the reading process. So,
we should base all reading on a well-understood context, using words within the pupils
spoken vocabulary. It is not usually appropriate to start with the teaching of letter sounds or
names of the letters of the alphabet. If necessary, we can create a meaningful context using
pictures, objects, activities, etc.

Principle 3
Oracy precedes literacy, so we need to ensure that pupils use words from the book/text in oral
activities before they read them.

Lesson Plan
The following is a very simple lesson plan that follows these principles.
1. Look together at a picture (e.g. of a house). Point out key objects that you want the children
   to be able to name (e.g. roof, chimney, door, window). Ask what the words for the objects
   are in the pupils’ first language(s) and see if they can write the words in their first
2. Use a language activity/game to ensure that the children have the words in their spoken
   vocabulary, e.g. a “beetle” game where children have to draw sections of the house when
   they throw a particular number on a dice. (Remember to insist that pupils name each object
   before they draw it).
3. Introduce the children to reading the words by using a reading activity e.g. matching words
   to pictures (this could be made into a pairs (Pelmanism) card game)
4. provide writing work based on the words that have been taught:-
         match word to picture
         match word to word
         label drawings
         simple Yes/No questions based on pictures (Is this a door?)

 Gordon Ward (11/04/2010) file: /d936d1d9-a1c1-4113-bf58-b715edd1929a.DOC
                    Deciding which language items to teach

Basic vocabulary areas:
The vocabulary items that could be taught are endless. Often we will be guided by the
curriculum of the whole class and teach beginners key vocabulary items that relate to the
lesson topic; for example, if the topic is electricity we might focus on the basic vocabulary of
the topic e.g.
        wire/crocodile clip/battery/bulb/positive/negative/etc.

However, when pupils are newly arrived in school, it is often helpful to focus on a few
practical areas of vocabulary that they will need immediately in their life in school. The
following list is not comprehensive but does indicate the sort of vocabulary that might be
taught in the first few weeks.

           vocabulary areas                                                  examples of words to be taught

1. social language                                        please thank you sorry hello goodbye etc.

2. classroom objects                                      pencil rubber book board chair table carpet tray folder door
                                                          felt-tip paint scissors glue rubber ruler milk crisps etc.

3. areas of the school                                    classroom hall playground toilet dining hall office stairs
                                                          staff-room library corridor car-park upstairs downstairs etc.

4. school routines                                        assembly/playtime/dinner time/whistle/home time/ etc.

5. clothes                                                shoes dress coat trousers trainers shorts swimming costume
                                                          towel shirt blouse vest pants T-shirt socks jumper etc.

6. parts of the body                                      head face eyes ears hair nose mouth teeth tongue

                                                          body arms hands legs feet etc.

7. health                                                 tummy ache/toothache/earache/cut/bleed/hurt/broken/etc.

8. colours                                                black white red blue green yellow (beware colour blindness)

9. people                                                 girl boy man woman children teacher etc.
                                                          names of the teacher, headteacher, other children, other
                                                          adults in the class, etc.                                                 mother father sister brother

11.reading                                                book page word picture story etc.

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12.Maths - counting                                       1 - 10, 10 - 20, 20 - 100, etc.

13.Maths - money                                          pound penny

14.Maths - computation                                    add take away multiply divide etc.
                                                          more less

15.Maths - shapes                                         square circle triangle rectangle etc.

16.Maths - measuring

17.meals/food                                             breakfast, dinner, tea, supper
                                                          food usually served for school dinners, other food as

18.meals/utensils                                         plate knife fork spoon bowl rubbish bin cup saucer mug etc.

19.instructional verbs                                    sit down/stand up/stand still/write stop draw colour paint
   (classroom)                                            listen line up go and get/show me your/stick/ etc.

20.instructional verbs (PE)                               jump hop climb roll throw catch etc.

21.street (nouns)                                         road pavement zebra crossing traffic lights etc.
                                                          shop house car lorry van etc.

22.street (verbs)                                         look cross stop be careful go etc.

23.time                                                   now yesterday tomorrow last week next week
                                                          dinner time play time home time
                                                          9 o’clock half past seven etc.

24.House - outside/rooms                                  roof door wall garden etc.
                                                          sitting room/bedroom/kitchen etc.
                                                          upstairs downstairs

25.House - furniture                                      bed bath cooker etc.                                             Monday, Tuesday, March, April, etc.                                                cold hot rain sunny etc.

We can also extend the vocabulary listed above e.g.

body                            fingers toes shoulders knee ankle wrist bottom stomach lips back
colours                         grey pink brown silver gold orange
clothes                         gloves scarf plimsolls sweater sweatshirt hat cap
family                          grandfather cousin aunt uncle etc.

 Gordon Ward (11/04/2010) file: /d936d1d9-a1c1-4113-bf58-b715edd1929a.DOC
Functions and Sentence patterns
As well as teaching individual words, it is important that pupils are taught sentence patterns.
The following lists some key language functions and associated sentence patterns that are
useful for beginners.

                Functions                                                        Sentence patterns
Identifying objects                                     What’s this? It’s a ..... What are these? They’re ....
                                                        Is this a ....? Yes it is/Not it isn’t
                                                        Are these ....? Yes they are? No they aren’t
Polite English
        asking for things                              Can I have a/some ..... please?
        asking for permission                          Can I go/etc. to ..... please/
        apologising                                    I’m sorry. Excuse me.
Identifying actions                                     What are you doing? I’m
                                                        What is she/he doing? S/he’s
                                                        Are you .....? Yes I am/No I’m not.
                                                        Is s/he Yes s/he is/No s/he isn’t. etc.
Locating objects                                        prepositions:-
                                                        Where’s the/my/your ....?
                                                        It’s here/there                  It’s on/in/under/beside/etc.
Describing problems                                     What’s the matter?
                                                        I’ve hurt/lost/broken ......
                                                        My ...... hurts/is broken/is missing/etc.
Expressing likes/dislikes                               Do you like .....?
                                                        Yes I do/No I don’t.
Expressing possession                                   That’s mine/his/her/ours/etc.
                                                        I’ve got a .......
                                                        Have you got a .......? Yes I have/No I haven’t
Describing objects                                      What colour is this ....? It’s red/blue/etc.
                                                        How big/long/wide is this .....? It’s ... cm long/wide.
                                                        They’re the same/different.
                                                        What’s it made of? It’s made of wood/paper/etc.

 Gordon Ward (11/04/2010) file: /d936d1d9-a1c1-4113-bf58-b715edd1929a.DOC
Counting                                                How many ... are there?            There is/are ...1/2/3/etc.
                                                        a lot/many/some/a few/etc.
Describing ability                                      I can ...../Can you ....? Yes I can/No I can’t.
Reporting and narrating                                 simple past tense:-
                                                         I went/saw/played etc.
                                                         Did you go/see/play etc.? Yes I did/No I didn’t.
                                                        yesterday, last week
Describing lifestyles and                               What does a chemist/bus driver/etc. do?
regular events                                          What do you do after school? etc.
Predicting the future                                   I’m going to be an astronaut/film star/zoo keeper ...
                                                        We will look at that tomorrow.
                                                        I’m holding a party on Saturday. etc.
Referring to past and present                           I’ve hurt/broken/lost my .......
                                                        Has s/he gone/seen/written etc.
Expressing obligation                                   You must/mustn’t/have to/ought to/should

 Gordon Ward (11/04/2010) file: /d936d1d9-a1c1-4113-bf58-b715edd1929a.DOC

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