English as an Additional Language (EAL)
With new students joining BISL from all corners of the globe, the English as an Additional Language (EAL) Department takes on the exciting challenge of ensuring all students are equipped with the necessary tools to ensure they make the most of their time here at BISL.
EAL is taught by Specialist Teachers across the school and is based on a 3-Tier system, which allows students to be supported according to their individual needs. Improved proficiency in English enables students to access the curriculum and facilitates the immersion into the mainstream classes.
Primary EAL Department
Tier 3 students follow an intensive EAL programme within a specialised EAL class, which runs alongside mainstream English and Topic lessons. The focus is on speaking and listening skills, for students to gain essential communication skills to support their social integration. Students participate in all other areas of the curriculum, including specialist subjects of P.E., Music, Dance, Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) and other class activities.
Tier 2 students are immersed into the majority of lessons, but continue to receive EAL support in and out of mainstream classes. Increased independence is promoted through small-group sessions aimed at extending vocabulary, grammar, reading and writing skills.
Tier 1 students are fully integrated into the mainstream classes, but may require support in specific areas of the curriculum, to reach their full potential. The in-class support they receive targets student’s individual needs and is closely monitored by the class teacher, together with the EAL specialist staff.
EAL activities in Primary are very versatile, with learning taking place in the classroom and outdoors. Language acquisition is supported by the use of technology: students use iPads for presentations or stories and various curriculum related applications, games and quizzes, to practice language skills. They have a chance to be creative in different ways, whether this happens on the screen, on paper or just orally.
Whatever the level of support required, our EAL team members work together with students and their teachers to ensure the programme of study is relevant to the demands of the curriculum and the student’s own personal needs.
Parents are welcome to arrange a meeting with our EAL specialists to ask further questions about the EAL programme and their child’s progress.
Secondary EAL Department
Secondary EAL endeavours to work closely with the subject teachers in order to make the students transition into the mainstream curriculum smoother. We concentrate on improving weaker areas of student's grammar and increasing their vocabulary power as well as working with subject specific vocabulary that has been suggested by the subject teachers.
We work in very small groups in order to pay more attention on the student's specific needs. Areas that are commonly focused on are reading comprehension skills and giving the student more independence in finding specific information from a text and through context. We work on writing skills, such as structuring and composing an essay, letter, story etc. Focus is placed on consolidating specific exam techniques in order to assist the students in performing better in their final exams.
Finally and most crucially, we aim to improve the confidence of the student in participating in all aspects of school life by giving them the chance to open up and explore the language in an environment where they feel comfortable enough to do so, without the fear of making mistakes.
Secondary EAL lessons are available in the following 3 variations.
Refresher is where we work with students once a week for a short period of time - typically from 1 term to a year. It focuses on specific skills that a student needs to improve in order to raise the quality of their regular curriculum work. Examples of this might be that a student will concentrate solely on improving his formal writing or essay writing skills.
Booster is aimed at students that already have some competency in their English skills, but who are likely to benefit from further support. Attention is placed upon improving the student's grammar skills, writing skills, reading comprehension skills as well as giving them the opportunity to use their spoken English with more confidence. This would consist of three lessons a week of support.
Intensifier consists of 5 hours or support a week and allows the student the opportunity to have tailor made assistance with them both in regular lesson time and with individual EAL lessons. This would typically apply to students who have not had so much regular English practice and is designed to give the student the best opportunity possible to participate fully in their regular curriculum.