Great Ideas

The Great Ideas pages are a collection of different strategies that any teacher could use in their classrooms to support learners who use EAL.

Great Ideas

Many of the teaching resources on this website refer to various tried and tested approaches and strategies which are recommended for EAL learners.

In this section of the website the rationale behind these methodologies and why they are called ‘Great Ideas’ are explained.

The majority of these approaches can be used with everyone in the class, but they are particularly important for EAL learners because they provide a rich context, additional support, opportunities for collaborative learning and exploratory talk, and all the important features of good practice in meeting the educational needs of EAL learners.

Great Ideas pages

Barrier games are a specific form of an information gap activity. Information gap activities are communicative activities for two or more learners, where Learner A has information that Learner B needs, and vice versa. 

Bilingual dictionaries, including online bilingual dictionaries and translation software, are specialist dictionaries that can be used to translate from one language to another.

Collaborative activities are any activities where learners are working co-operatively in pairs or groups.

‘DARTs’ stands for Directed Activities Related to Text. When working with a text, DARTs provide an alternative to traditional comprehension questions as a way of assessing and encouraging understanding. 

Dictogloss is a type of supported dictation. The teacher reads a short, curriculum-related text several times and the learners try to produce their own version as close to the original as possible. 

Drama and role play can be fun and used successfully in any area of the curriculum. There are many ways of using drama and role play

Flashcards are picture cards and can be used on their own or with word cards.

Graphic organisers are also sometimes known as key visuals. They are not simply images, they are ways of presenting information visually. 

Information gap (also known as information exchange) activities are communicative activities for two or more learners. 

Vocabulary (the knowledge of words and word meanings) is one of the key building blocks in learning a new language. 

Jigsaw activities are a specific type of information gap activity that work best when used with the whole class. 

Language drills are a way of memorising a chunk of language by repeating it. They can be a very effective approach for learning new vocabulary or language structures.

Modelling is providing learners with a written or oral model of the language that the teacher would like the learner to produce.

Reading involves both decoding and reading for meaning. Many EAL learners are highly literate in one or more languages, but some may not have had the opportunity to learn to read in the language of their home.

Scaffolding means providing temporary support for an inexperienced learner in order to help them to complete a task or acquire a skill, and then gradually withdrawing that support.

Speaking and writing frames provide models of sentence construction, language structures, and vocabulary for EAL learners to use orally within a curriculum context.

A substitution table is when a teacher provides a table giving model sentences with a range of choices for learners to select from, using a set pattern.

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) can be a very supportive tool for EAL learners, both for developing skills that are important, and as a complementary resource for classroom activities. 

Translanguaging is the term used to describe practices that allow and encourage EAL learners to use their full linguistic repertoire in order to empower them and help them to realise their full potential.

Visuals provide context so that EAL learners can make sense of what is being taught in the curriculum.