English as an Additional Language (EAL)
At BISL, all classes, except modern foreign languages, are taught in English. With students joining our school from all corners of the globe, our English as an Additional Language (EAL) Department takes on the exciting challenge of ensuring that all students are equipped with the necessary language tools to enable them to 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 mainstream classes.
Primary EAL Department
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, 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 and modern foreign languages (MFL), as well as other class activities.
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.
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 their individual needs and is closely monitored by the class teacher, together with our EAL specialists.
EAL activities in Primary school are very versatile, with learning taking place in the classroom and outdoors. Language acquisition is supported through the use of technology: our students use iPads for presentations or stories and various educational apps, games and quizzes, to practice language skills. Our students 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 specialists 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 programme and their child’s progress.
Secondary EAL Department
Our Secondary EAL specialists endeavour to work closely with the subject teachers in order to allow the students to transition into the mainstream curriculum more smoothly. We concentrate on improving areas of grammar and increasing vocabulary power, as well as working with subject specific vocabulary that has been suggested by the subject teachers.
We take a personalised approach, working in very small groups to focus on a student's specific needs. We commonly work on developing reading comprehension skills, giving the student more independence in finding specific information from a text and through context. We work on important writing skills too, such as structuring and composing an essay, letter, story etc. Focus is placed on consolidating specific examination techniques to give our students a better understanding of what will be required of them during their exams.
Finally, and most crucially, we aim to improve the confidence of our students to participate 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.
Our Secondary EAL programme is available in 3 variations:
We work with refresher students once a week for a shorter period of time - typically from 1 term to a year. We focus on specific skills that a student needs to improve in order to raise the quality of work in their regular curriculum. An example of this might be when a student concentrates solely on improving their formal writing or essay writing skills.
Students that already have some competency in their English skills, but who are likely to benefit from further support are referred to as our booster group. We focus on improving the student's grammar, writing and reading comprehension skills, as well as giving them the opportunity to use their spoken English with more confidence. This programme consists of three lessons of support per week.
5 hours of support per week gives our intensifier students the opportunity to have tailored support with them both in regular lesson time and with individual specialist EAL lessons. This typically involves students who have not had that much regular English practice and is designed to give students the best possible opportunity to fully participate in their regular curriculum.