EAL beginner help?

(9 Posts)
WyfOfBathe Wed 28-Sep-16 17:14:50

I have a new starter joining my tutor group (and German class) from an ex-Soviet Asian country and speaks both Russian and her native language. She's officially starting on Monday but she came to visit the school today.

She couldn't answer my questions ("how old are you?", "how do you spell your name?"), so we were using Google Translate. She could write her name in the Latin alphabet but other questions on the profile form she could only answer using Russian so her dad ended up doing it for her. Her parents - who both seemed to have very good English - told me that they didn't have "proper English lessons" at her old school but they didn't seem too concerned.

Our EAL coordinator is on maternity leave without a replacement. Our local authority website says that they can provide bilingual TAs for a few hours a week - but only for Arabic & Polish.

I'm completely stuck as to what to do! I don't think we have any staff or students who speak her native language - we have a few Russian students but not in the same year group.

TheTroubleWithAngels Wed 28-Sep-16 17:33:24

Have you never taught an EAL child before?

These questions always amaze me- in my school we get new to English children practically weekly. We operate a total immersion policy as we have no other resources, never mind bilingual staff.....

Buddy them up with someone who speaks good, clear English.
In primary school we would always use visuals on a keyring (e.g., water, toilet, snack, help) I'm not sure if that would work in secondary.

nilbyname Wed 28-Sep-16 17:44:25

Closed simple questions with a simple visual dictionary on hand. Yes/no answers. Use simple gestures and model
Language.
Buddy up with sensitive able peers
Read aloud with her if you have time
Use the simple cgp study guides as pre teaching and self study books for her to use at home with her dad if possible
Let her use her home language in written tasks

3 months is a common silent period so don't be disheartened.

WyfOfBathe Wed 28-Sep-16 17:45:05

I've taught EAL children before, but never any who couldn't speak any English at all.

Our school has about average % EAL but most of them seem to have been to a British or international school before

WyfOfBathe Wed 28-Sep-16 17:47:27

I moved to France at 11 and I say that I "couldn't speak French" but I could at least give my age. I wasn't given any FLÉ (French AL) support and found the first year lonely and quite stressful and had to repeat the year - so this is what I'm trying to avoid for my new student.

DullUserName Wed 28-Sep-16 18:33:51

Google translate app is fab. Use the camera function to instantly translate printed text. It's witchcraft!

There's also this fabulous website for generating bilingual wordlists.
www.happychild.org.uk/freeway/xxxxlanguage/

Well worth doing basics like number, shapes, school equipment, days & months etc.

Get the subject teachers to make bilingual lists.

Probably worth looking at Twinkl too. Mostly Primary, but lots of languages covered.

There's HUGE satisfaction in the rate of progress made when a NTE child starts to write, then to talk. :-)

WyfOfBathe Mon 03-Oct-16 21:41:52

Thank you!

The happy child site was fab, I printed off a few of their wordlists into a book for her which at least has allowed some communication smile

LockedOutOfMN Sat 08-Oct-16 22:13:28

If she's not doing it already, suggest watching TV shows she likes or films (especially ones she already knows) in English with Russian subtitles. It will help her become accustomed to the speed of the spoken language and begin to understand more of what's being said around her.

Yonosemanana Sun 23-Oct-16 21:00:35

As many visual prompts as possible, visual timetable, pictures of key words (easier in some subjects than others!) and yes a receptive buddy.
Pupils are good at following the classroom norms so they should get by the first few weeks.
Don't underestimate the importance of visual and physical clues- smiles go a long way. Acting out what you want them to do- you'll feel like an idiot but it will work and hopefully make you appear approachable for when they can talk a bit and need to ask a question.

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