Withinthe class I was working in there were several SEND children, specifically onewith ASD and one with dyslexia, these children received extra support in classthrough the TA and class teacher and also received interventions from otherLSAs across the school such as reading interventions and individual reading.Within my GPP class there was also a child who had English as additionallanguage (EAL) (Child A); however I was surprised to see he received no extrasupport from a TA.The Department for Education (2003) defines pupils with EALas pupils who have access to multiple languages or those whose first languageis not English.As there is a significant increase in the numbers of EAL pupils in schoolsacross the UK, it is important for schools to use strategies to ensure children who are EAL can access the NationalCurriculum as their monolingual peers do.Toencourage quick integration into their new schools, an initial language assessment should take place with pupils with EAL whenthey first arrive at school (Parker-Jenkins, Hewitt, Brownhill and Sanders,2007). This was done with Child A whenhe enters my GPP placement in September and he was placed in the middle abilitygroups for both Maths and English based upon his spoken English. Child A hadgood BasicInterpersonal Communicative Skills (BICS) however he struggled with academicEnglish such as his comprehension and written English and so can be describedas having Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP).I found Child A often interrupted lessons with constant lowlevel disruptive behaviour such as talking to his peers or swinging on hischair and not paying attention and I began to wonder if his understanding ofEnglish was the underlying issue of his behavioural issues.
I noticed, especiallyin English lessons that it would take Child A a long time to settle down towork and still he would not produce a substantial amount of work by the end ofthe lesson, instead he would constantly be trying to distract his peers.AsChild A was in the middle ability English group, he received very littlesupport from the teacher or TA after the initial input. After having workedwith Child A for a few sessions and asking him about his learning, it wasobvious that Child A struggled to comprehend what he had to do and although hehad excellent spoken English he struggled to write his ideas down on paper. He had very low self-esteem which in turn was having adetrimental effect on his academic achievement as he was producing very littlework.
The class teacher then made the decision to move Child A into thelower ability group so he could access this work with TA support. AlthoughChild A felt the work was ‘too easy’ for him, I felt setting him short,achievable activities with clear instructions helped his confidence grow as hewas now beginning to complete work by the end of a lesson. To further helpbuild Child’s A confidence, the class teacher and I worked on differentstrategies which included working from a multidisciplinary approach and presenting work in amore visual way.
Ithink having Child A in my class made me realise that although a child may havevery good spoken English, they may struggle with their work which could presentitself as bad behaviour in lessons. I’ve learnt it is important to be preparedto explain things in different ways for children who have EAL and that it isimportant to use different resources in order for inclusion of children withEAL to be successful and this is something which I would like to do furtherresearch on in the future.