How to support students with language needs

There are two distinct groups of students who have an additional needs relating to language:  Students with English as an additional language and students who have difficulty with language acquisition. See below for the top 10 suggestions on how to cater for these students in your classroom:

1. Try to place the student with students who can offer ‘good models of language’.

2. On planning a new topic, make a list of subject-specific words that will need to be actively taught.

3. Be aware that specific academic words such as ‘compare’, ‘discuss’, ‘highlight’, describe’, ‘explain’, ‘example’, ‘investigate’, ‘analyse’ will all require some modeling – otherwise the student is likely to interpret them generically as ‘write’ or ‘talk about’.

4. Use a display board to show key vocabulary (with picture prompts) for a particular topic and regularly remind students that it’s there.

5. Use the student’s name before asking a question or giving a direct instruction. With EAL students, please ensure you are pronouncing their name correctly.

6. Keep verbal instructions simple, and in the order you want them carried out.

7. Try to adopt a ‘show and tell’ approach to instructions. Rather than just saying the instruction, show the student what they should be doing by working through an example.

8. Break activity instructions down into steps rather than giving them as a whole. Give each part of the instruction, allow time for the students to work on it – with support when necessary and then provide the next instruction.

9. If you cannot understand what the student has said, do not pretend that you have – ask for repetition in different words.

10. Support writing with writing frames and lists of vocabulary to choose from.

Want to learn more? Speak to Claire Appleby/Louise Clarkson or check out the Learning Support Bulletins: T:\1 – Departmental Resources\Learning Support\Supporting Ed Needs In Class Differentiation\LS Bulletin

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