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by Jamie Earnshaw - Monday, 17 May 2021, 3:29 PM
Anyone in the world

In this blog, Chris Pim, Hampshire EMTAS Specialist Teacher Advisor, explores how technology can be used to support learners of EAL.

Talking album

Technology, when used appropriately, can enhance any pupil’s learning experience. However, technological solutions have been shown to have relatively small effect sizes in many circumstances (Hattie 2017); when used in the wrong situation, technology may even interfere with learning. It is apparent that effective use of technology is dependent on context and predicated on the notion that what works in one context may not be entirely replicable in another” (Pim, 2013). This is especially true where practitioners have the additional consideration of matching provision to the proficiency in English of their target EAL pupils.


From the perspective of learning EAL, since acquisition of English should not be the totality of a pupils learning journey, technology just used to teach English, particularly where it supplants quality mainstream provision, is best avoided. Instead, the power of technology lies in the potential for enhancing pupilswider learning; enhancing curriculum access, utilising proficiency in heritage languages, providing flexible opportunities for demonstrating learning and supporting the development of English across the curriculum.


Using technology to provide pupils with greater access to the curriculum is an obvious starting point. In order to make learning more explicit for EAL learners, to make the messages more abundant (Gibbons 2008), practitioners need to infuse their lessons with multimedia. Images, infographics, videos, podcasts, animations all enhance meaning and are essential to overcome the additional linguistic and cultural challenges EAL learners experience, whether UK born or recently arrived from abroad.


Using translation tools, either for ad-hoc communication or more academic purposes, is another useful strategy. These tools have become extremely powerful, although they still have their limitations (Pim, 2018). There are many solutions available – these range between dedicated digital devices like ECTACO products, through text-based online translation tools, to apps like SayHi that use voice recognition and the power of neural networking to provide instant translations, read aloud in authentic, synthesised speech. The camera on a portable device can be used through Google Translate to render real-time on-screen translation as well. Whilst not good enough for formal translation, these tools are genuinely useful for two-way conversations, mediated by both parties. With care, they can be used by practitioners to prepare dual-language glossaries and to communicate simple ideas in text. Pupils literate in first language, with guidance, will find them immensely useful to facilitate access to the curriculum and even as a means of providing support with translating their writing from first language into English.


There are many digital resources available to support pupilsmaintenance and development of heritage languages. Companies like Mantra Lingua have had a long association with the EAL field through their audio-enabled, multilanguage books and learning charts. Many schools will already be aware of Mantras TalkingPEN technology which provides a natural link between touch, print and sound to bring interactive learning to the user. Their Kitabu library is also an efficient delivery platform for their bilingual e-books. There are plenty of free e-books available in different languages on the web, but as always with online materials, their provenance will need to be checked. The International Childrens Digital Library is an excellent source of free texts that can be filtered in several different ways e.g. by age category and language.


pen

The importance of developing listening and speaking skills should not be underestimated, whether children are at an early stage of learning EAL or more advanced learners. EAL learners will benefit from structured approaches to develop such skills in English, building on practitioners’ understanding that children are not blank slates and carry relevant skills from their own heritage languages (Coles, Flynn & Pim n.d.).


Storytelling is a perfect opportunity for all children, whether learning EAL or not, to practise their oral skills for authentic purposes; technology can both facilitate the process as well as enable recording and playback. Children can use first language, or a combination of languages alongside English. Using tablet devices and an app like Puppet Pals HD, pupils can work independently - or collaboratively - to create digital stories from backgrounds, moving characters and a recorded narration that is eventually bound up into a movie clip. Software like Crazy Talk, Morfo and Voki allow shy children to develop oral confidence by enabling them to make a private recording and then attach it to an animated ‘avatar’ such as their face, an animal or even an inanimate object.


Technology can also help pupils to create and self-publish stories with digital elements. Book Creator, available on most platforms, enables a user to produce e-books from text, drawings, images, audio and video. Pupils can be encouraged to write independently or collaboratively, using Storybird. This free online tool, accessible from school or home, provides glorious imagery to stimulate creative writing in any language. Mantra Lingua offers another solution in the form of recordable sticky labels, TalkingPENs and a range of software for producing audio-enabled stories.


The ability to record and playback speech allows children to practise pronunciation, rehearse vocabulary and play around with chunks of language in preparation for further tasks. There are numerous portable solutions around (Talking Products and TTS-Group) such as talking tins, pegs, cards and photo albums. The latter devices are especially useful for combining text, imagery and artefacts with recorded speech as a talk-for-writing approach.


The link between understanding text and wider educational attainment has resonance for learning EAL, since pupilsreading skills are reportedly on average a year behind monolingual peers (Smith 2016). Whatever approaches schools take to address this discrepancy, practitioners need to bear in mind that learning to read is just one element woven into a rich tapestry that results in a pupils lifelong passion for reading. It is important that teaching builds upon pupilsexisting reading proficiencies in other languages, that practitioners use age-appropriate texts and capitalise on pupils’ interests through presentation of a diverse mix of texts.


There are some genuinely useful resources and technologies for enabling pupils to access texts which might ordinarily be beyond them. It is worth looking online for translated and abridged versions of typical class and course readers. Many book schemes provide texts with an audio CD such as Oxford and Cambridge graded readers. Providing an audio accompaniment for an associated text like this is a particularly useful technique. E-books offer another option, although practitioners should bear in mind that some pupils may not particularly like them, rather preferring to read an actual book. However, along with high quality audio, e-books do provide additional features such as contextualised glossaries. Print can be read aloud from paper-based sources through OCR scanning technology using a device like C-Pen; different versions of C-Pen offer additional functionality such as in-built dictionaries and translation capability. Digital text can easily be read aloud from the screen on computers and mobile devices using integrated text-to-speech software. Its also possible to look up word meanings and translation equivalents directly using online resources that interface with a users digital reader of choice. Finally, it is worth considering how to ensure that online texts are as accessible as possible to emergent readers; for example, finding appropriate sources that present information simply. There are websites like Kidrex, which assist web-safe refined searching, that do exactly that. Also consider use of Simple English Wikipedia for older learners.


dictionary pen

It is well established that children learning EAL need opportunities for explicit teaching and learning of new vocabulary across the curriculum (DfES 2006). Typically, pupils learning EAL have smaller vocabularies in English compared with non-EAL peers, a factor that has been shown, for example, to be an important predictor of reading comprehension Murphy (2015). There are numerous ICT-based tools available for reinforcing knowledge of vocabulary (in all its forms). Dual-language glossaries, supported visually, are easy to create using Widgit, something that may be useful to L1 literate pupils, as well as their parents. Quiz-based vocabularies can be created and/or sourced online from pre-built versions, via Quizlet. Plickers is a free polling tool suitable for whole class vocabulary building activities. Other games can be made using tools like Osrics Bingo Card Generator as well as a wide variety of word-definition matching activities using Formulator Tarsia software. Word clustering tools like WordArt.com help learners focus on topic words, as well as encouraging inference around the text-type and genre the words have been drawn from.

One of the biggest challenges for EAL learners is to convert their thinking and talking into writing. Some children will be ready for sustained free writing, whilst others may be limited to composing smaller chunks of text within digital scaffolds. They may choose to write in English, first language or a combination. It is worth mentioning that computers and mobile devices need to be set up specifically to enable children to interface voice and keyboard input to search, translate and write digitally in a preferred language other than English.
 
Emergent writers benefit from technologies that enable them to convey their ideas through multimedia elements and snippets of text, rather than full prose. Cartoon makers like Comic Life provide a framework in which to drop imagery, either from a device’s camera or an external file, alongside the use of text holding areas like speech bubbles and legends. An app like iMovie can be used across the curriculum to help pupils demonstrate learning in creative ways. Within iMovie, the Trailer feature offers different storyboard templates across a range of genres, encouraging pupils to edit default text with their own short, snappy version to accompany the visuals. Adobe Spark Video is another tool for producing annotated movies. This app allows a user to record an audio narration and build up a storyboard using copyright-free imagery, but interestingly, once again, deliberately constrains writing to short sentences.
 
There are many digital writing tools available for more cohesive writers. These take the form of dedicated supportive word processors such as Book Creator and Clicker Docs as well as plugin software keyboards like Texthelp’s read&write and Grammarly. Traditional supports in digital writing tools like spelling and grammar checks will of course be useful, but only when children are explicitly taught the conventions of red and green underlining. Integrated thesauri will also help those pupils with a strong enough lexical knowledge to make sensible choices between synonyms. Newer features like predictive text assist pupils with word choice, both within and between words. They can also hear back what they have written via text-to-speech synthesis, a feature which can help some users spot their errors more easily. A user can also shortcut typing via the speech-to-text listening capability of the operating system; an easy way for pupils who are not confident in their use of keyboards to render digital text through natural speech. Clicker Docs has an additional feature where topic word banks can be imported from online repositories, enabling easy access to context-related subject glossaries.
 
To conclude, it is worth considering what networking tools are available for busy practitioners to keep up to date and access additional guidance from the wider community of EAL professionals. One idea is to register for the EAL-Bilingual Google group. Following organisations and professionals on Twitter and tweeting around the #EAL hashtag is another great idea. Curating apps like Pinterest and Pearltrees offer a cornucopia of relevant content when searched for relevant terms such as a ‘EAL’ and ‘ELL’. Finally, subscribing to relevant blogs is a useful way to keep up to date with current thinking.
 
This blog first appeared in the EAL Journal, Spring 2020.


References:

Coles S., Flynn, N. & Pim, C. EAL MESHGuide. Accessed 2.1.20
http://www.meshguides.org/guides/node/112?n=119

Department for Education and Skills (DfES) (2006) Excellence and Enjoyment: learning and teaching for bilingual children in the primary years. Unit 2 Creating the learning culture: making it work in the classroom. London DfES.

Gibbons, P. (2008). Challenging pedagogies: More than just good practice? NALDIC Quarterly, 6(2), 4-14.

Hattie, J. (2017). Backup of Hatties Ranking list of 256 Influences And Effect Sizes Related To Student Achievement
https://visible-learning.org/backup-hattie-ranking-256-effects-2017

Murphy, V. (2015) Assessing vocabulary knowledge in learners with EAL: Whats in a word? NALDIC Conference.

Pim, C. (2013) Emerging technologies, emerging minds: digital innovations within the primary sector. In G. Motteram (Ed.), Innovations in learning technologies for English language learning (pp. 17-42). London. British Council.
 
Pim, C. (2018, June 12). Arent digital translation tools only useful for keywords? [Blog post]. Retrieved from: https://emtas.hias.hants.gov.uk/blog/index.php?entryid=18


Smith, N. (2016, September 26). Reading comprehension is the key to accessing the curriculum. [Blog post]. Retrieved from: https://naldic.org.uk/httpsealjournal-org20160927reading-comprehension-is-the-key-to-accessing-the-curriculum

Useful websites:

EAL-Bilingual Google group - https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/eal-bilingual

EMA/EAL related Blogs: https://naldic.org.uk/professional-learning-cpd/links/blogs-news-resources

Mantra Lingua - https://uk.mantralingua.com

Talking Products - https://www.talkingproducts.com/educational-resources.html

TTS-Group - https://www.tts-group.co.uk/primary/computing-ict/speaking-listening

Scanning Pens - http://www.dictionarypen.com

The International Childrens Digital Library - http://en.childrenslibrary.org

Widgit - https://www.widgit.com/products/widgit-online/dual-language.htm

Formulator Tarsia - http://www.mmlsoft.com/index.php/products/tarsia

Osric’s Bingo card Generator - https://osric.com/bingo-card-generator

Plickers - https://get.plickers.com

WordArt.com - https://wordart.com/

Crazy Talk - https://www.reallusion.com/crazytalk

Voki - https://www.voki.com

Comic Life - https://plasq.com

Storybird - https://storybird.com

Grammarly - https://www.grammarly.com

Book Creator - https://bookcreator.com

Read&Write - https://www.texthelp.com/en-gb/products/read-write 


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[ Modified: Wednesday, 19 May 2021, 3:22 PM ]
 
Anyone in the world

In this blog and accompanying videoscribe, Chris Pim, Hampshire EMTAS Specialist Teacher Advisor, provides an overview of the needs of more advanced learners of English as an additional language (EAL) and identifies some ways in which schools can support this group of learners in their journey to full proficiency in their use of English across the curriculum.


 

Most schools have a range of children working at different stages in their learning of English as an additional language. Those schools which actively track progress using a specific EAL assessment framework will be aware that rates of progress vary enormously depending on the context of the child, their age and the specific curriculum area within which they are working at any given time. 

Broadly speaking, pupils who are new to English or at an early stage of learning EAL make rapid progress with inclusive teaching and learning practices. However, research shows that more advanced learners, those who have been studying English for around two or more years, can plateau in their learning at various points in their school career. More advanced EAL learners often require specific types of literacy-based support for many years after acquiring oral proficiency. 

So, who are our more advanced EAL learners? These learners, who are often but not exclusively British born, appear to speak and understand English at an age appropriate level, yet still require specific support to overcome the cognitive and academic challenges of the curriculum. Some, but by no means all, will also be literate in one or more other languages. 

These pupils sometimes slip under the radar of schools, whose focus is often more on beginners; in some cases, they may not even be flagged up on the school’s data systems as EAL at all. There are obvious indicators to look out for, such as reading miscomprehension of key texts and evidence in writing of typical grammatical errors or where writing has obviously been copied from peers or indiscriminately drawn from online sources. However, a more rigorous focus on diagnostic assessment is the only sure way of identifying the specific areas that need attention for each pupil. 

Practitioners need to consider the language demands of the curriculum in order to ensure that they plan to teach the specific language and literacy elements presented by each subject area. And practitioners shouldn’t underestimate the significance of the cultural context of the curriculum either. EAL learners, whether UK born or not, sometimes grow up lacking a degree of cultural capital that means they miss important nuances that inhibit understanding. That’s why the best practitioners make meaning explicit for all their learners through well-planned sequences of lessons using a range of multimodal sources; this helps to make messages abundantly clear. 

Abridged texts, simple English versions of key information and translated sources, where appropriate, will aid reading comprehension. Digital texts can be made more accessible via text to speech synthesis. Pupils will also benefit from specific guidance on how to make the most of dictionaries and thesauri. 

Schools which cater well for more advanced learners of EAL often have a whole school focus on developing academic oracy and talk for writing approaches; strategies which benefit all pupils. Well planned collaborative activities, drama and role-play, presentations, Dictogloss and Socratic talk activities will convert thinking and talking into better academic writing across the curriculum. Recording thoughts and conversations and replaying them prior to writing has also been shown to improve the cohesion of pupils’ writing. 

Another beneficial strategy is a specific focus on pre-teaching and rehearsing the use of key vocabulary, both technical and academic, including exam terminology. A specific focus on Greek and Latin stem and root words can be helpful. Call-out games like follow-me, Bingo and vocabulary Jenga are fun ways to consolidate vocabulary knowledge. Card-based matching games are also very useful. Word clouds drawn from key texts are a great way to get children thinking about subject content, text-type and genre.   

Converting thinking and talking into great writing is a perennial problem for some more advanced EAL learners. Technology has a role here - supportive word processors and in-built soft keyboards can help pupils compose digital texts – for example through speech to text, word prediction and integrated spellcheckers and thesauri. The process need scaffolding using knowledge organisers, writing frames and key word banks. And text-types like recount, persuasion and argumentation need modelling to help pupils understand the conventions most frequently required for each specific subject area.  

Above all, more advanced EAL learners want approachable teachers who understand their needs, make explicit the next steps in their learning and maintain high expectations at all times. 


Links:

Hampshire EMTAS Guidance Library - Advanced EAL Learners

https://emtas.hias.hants.gov.uk/course/view.php?id=60

Aide-memoire of best practice

https://emtas.hias.hants.gov.uk/mod/resource/view.php?id=1089

Ensuring the attainment of more advanced learners of English as an additional language

https://www.hants.gov.uk/educationandlearning/emtas/supportinglanguages/supporting-advanced-learners#step-6

EAL MESHGuide

http://www.meshguides.org/guides/node/112

Bell Foundation EAL Resources (search by language level)

https://www.bell-foundation.org.uk/resources/programme/eal-programme/


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[ Modified: Monday, 14 December 2020, 5:24 PM ]
 
Picture of Jamie Earnshaw
by Jamie Earnshaw - Thursday, 3 September 2020, 3:29 PM
Anyone in the world

By the Hampshire EMTAS Specialist Teacher Advisors


EXA Discussion


We hope you had a wonderful, relaxing summer break and are now refreshed and ready for the new academic year. In this first blog of 2020-21, we are taking the opportunity to share with you some of the exciting projects we have been working on and to signpost some things to look out for in the year ahead.


EAL Excellence Award film debut

A few months ago, before the lockdown, five EAL coordinators from local primary and secondary schools in Hampshire LA came together to talk about their experiences around entering for the Hampshire EMTAS EAL Excellence Award. It was a highly successful morning with lots of sharing of practical ideas. We thank Anne Marklew (Harestock Primary School), Dawn Tagima (Cherrywood Community Primary School), Stacey Barnes (Ranvilles Infant School), Eileen Rawlins (Cove Secondary School) and Sophie Durbajlo (Merton Infant School) for kindly allowing us to video this session for the purpose of disseminating best practice more widely within the local authority and beyond.

The themes explored in the video include:

-  the benefits of entering for the award

-  preparing for the award

-  submitting data and evidence

-  next steps and working towards the next level

Watch the video here.


Training and resourcing 

We are really pleased to welcome to the EMTAS Specialist Teacher Advisor Team Lynne Chinnery and Helen Smith. Lynne will be supporting schools in Havant & Waterlooville, and Helen will be covering Basingstoke & Deane whilst Astrid is on maternity leave. 

Our training activities for 2020-21 include a series of network meetings.  We have added to our offer network meetings aimed at an NQT and RQT audience to get people started in the right direction when it comes to practice and provision for EAL and GRT learners.  Other network meetings are also available so if you’re interested, see our website for more information and for details on how to book.  The first of our network meetings this year will be held online.  If your school would be willing to host a network meeting towards the end of this term or later in the year, we'd love to hear from you.  If you can’t attend one of our network meetings, don’t forget our EAL e-learning is an on-tap way of accessing training and it’s free to staff in Hampshire-maintained schools.

Two new services we offer schools in 2020-21 are EAL and GRT clinics.  During an EAL Clinic, a Specialist Teacher Advisor visits the school on a pre-arranged date and meets individually with members of staff to discuss 1:1 the EAL children in their class.  Please see here for more information.  For schools with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils on roll, the GRT clinic model may be more relevant.  This is aimed at supporting the GRT Co-ordinator on staff to develop and embed best practice for GRT pupils, including Showmen.  For more information, see the EMTAS website.  We are launching for 2020-21 a Kushti Careers page showing the achievements of members of the GRT community and how education has influenced their life choices

The very successful 6-module Supporting English as an Additional Language (SEAL) course is due to run again from October 2020 to July 2022.  The advantage of sending a member of staff on this course is that you will have an EAL expert on staff who can advise colleagues about EAL best practice and cultural aspects that may affect a child’s learning and/or ability to settle into their new school environment.  For further information see here.

Date for your diary:  Friday 9th July 2021 is the next EMTAS Conference. It promises to be an exciting and informative day with EAL and GRT speakers and workshops that will impact on your practice in the classroom.  Look out for communications on the conference throughout this term.

In case you missed it before the summer holidays, we released our guidance on entering EAL learners for the autumn GCSE exam series. The guidance includes information about the autumn 2020 GCSE exams, factors to consider when deciding which EAL learners to enter and suggestions as to how to support EAL learners who are entered for the exams. Keep in mind that the exam boards’ deadline for entering learners is fast approaching: 4th October for English and Maths and 18th September for all other subjects.

In light of the changes to the Heritage Language GCSEs in the autumn, particularly the removal of the speaking tests, we have adapted our packages of support to focus on preparing students for the Reading, Writing and Listening exams. Full details can be found here. Please complete the request form on our website and return to the EMTAS inbox: emtas@hants.gov.uk

Hot off the press, we have just released our guidance on the placement of EAL learners in sets, groups and streams. A copy of the full guidance can be found on our moodle, alongside our other Position Statements.  We hope that this document will help to inform decisions made by all school staff about the best sets, groups or streams in which to place learners for whom English is an additional language.

Another useful resource which has just been updated and is available to use on our website here is the audio version of ‘Welcome to Hampshire’ in English, our information guide written specifically for unaccompanied asylum seeking children and young people.  This is aimed at those who can understand English but who are not yet able to read it sufficiently well to access the booklet independently.  Our website also hosts translated version in Arabic, Farsi and Pashto, aimed at children and young people who are literate in these languages. 


Young Interpreter Scheme research update

In other news, Debra Page’s PhD research evaluating the Young Interpreter Scheme’s impact on children’s language use, empathy, and cultural awareness continues.  Debra is now recruiting schools for her data collection phase.  Since Debra’s last blog in May, her teacher questionnaire has closed and findings from this will be released in a few months’ time.   If your school is interested in taking part in this exciting research project, do email debra.page@pgr.reading.ac.uk; she will be very happy to discuss her project and what it involves with you.

  

Developing the writing of more advanced EAL learners (AEL) project

This year EMTAS is planning an all new cross-phase project aimed at improving the writing of more advanced EAL learners (and non-EAL peers) using authentic reading and writing experiences. The project aims to use cutting edge technologies (two types of Google tools) to engage learners in creative experiences that link with existing Programmes of Study and project-based learning already happening across the curriculum.

There are two elements to the project:

a. Providing online sources of rich multimedia experiences around topics and themes that support work already going on in the curriculum. These experiences contain authentic high-quality texts that act as a model for children prior to designing their own versions.

b. Enabling children to create their own multimedia versions using the Google tools within Google Earth and Google Poly (3D/Virtual Reality).

The main text-type is likely to be information-based although the experiences may also feature elements of explanation and persuasion or discussion depending on the subject and topic.

Any schools wanting more information or who are interested in taking part should contact Chris Pim - chris.pim@hants.gov.uk

 

Finally…

Like schools, we have been working on a comprehensive Risk Assessment to support our staff to begin safely visiting schools again after the lockdown.  We recognise that the Covid-19 scene is subject to frequent change and our aim is that our Risk Assessment will keep pace with the situation as it continues to develop.  Schools can be reassured that we take the safety of pupils, families and all school-based colleagues as seriously as we do that of our own staff and we are working hard to come up with creative ideas for ways we can continue to offer support where it’s needed.  If you have any suggestions to make to that end, do get in touch.


More news coming soon


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[ Modified: Monday, 7 September 2020, 1:44 PM ]
 
Picture of Chris Pim
by Chris Pim - Wednesday, 18 October 2017, 6:54 PM
Anyone in the world
written by Chris Pim, Hampshire EMTAS Specialist Teacher Advisor

Children using iMovie Trailers

How to use computer games to enrich the curriculum and raise standards in reading and writing for all pupils, including more advanced learners of English as an additional language (EAL)

Introduction

Most pupils have direct experience of playing computer games, whatever their linguistic or cultural heritage. Minecraft, you may be aware, is one of the most successful games of all time. So how could you capitalise on the interest in digital gaming to engage your learners and develop approaches that can raise standards across the curriculum?

Using computer games for language learning across the curriculum – some considerations

Not all computer games are created equal – to coin a phrase. Games that are specifically designed for education, such as English language learning games, may not be that successful because pupils realise that they are no more than thinly disguised tests and don’t respond positively to them.

In an educational context the best games are immersive; the player inhabits a realistically rendered 3D world influencing a narrative- rich storyline through the actions of their character/avatar. From a learning perspective, especially for EAL pupils, professionally produced computer games contain clear graphics, authentic storylines, audio narration/music and rich texts that provide a clear context and make meaning explicit. Some also provide obvious links to the curriculum such as through historical, geographical and scientific settings and scenarios.

You also need to be aware that all marketed computer games are subject to an age rating to determine their appropriateness for children and young people (Pegi). This is an important factor in determining the type of computer game that you might choose to use with your pupils.

As you read this article you may already have ideas for suitable computer games. However you might like to consider any of the following: The Myst series, Minecraft Storymode, Syberia, The Longest Journey, Tintin - Search for the Unicorn, The Room series and Amerzone.

Curriculum opportunities

There are numerous opportunities for developing thinking, talking and writing around computer games. For example, there is obviously merit in allowing pupils to play the game in pairs/groups as the quality of discussion will benefit EAL learners as they work alongside supportive peers. There is also tremendous potential in playing parts of the game as a whole class, projecting game play onto a large digital display. One pupil plays the game and peers suggest where to look, which objects to interact with and generally help to decide on particular courses of action at major decision points. Pupils can also debate particular courses of action. This all helps to develop more academic types of language that will improve written outcomes.

Playing a computer game from start to finish won’t be possible. But the game can be moved on by playing video game walk-throughs sourced from the internet. Featured texts within the game can be used as the basis for EAL-friendly activities; vocabulary-building games, Directed Activities Related to Texts (DARTs) and collaborative writing tasks like Dictogloss.

When playing computer games it is immediately apparent how fruitful the medium is for developing writing within different text types - for example, encouraging descriptive writing around realistic settings and well-defined characters. The format also encourages learners to produce recounts of game play sessions. Finding solutions to puzzles and making progress through the game provides opportunities for instructional and explanation-based texts. Students can discuss/argue the relative strengths and weaknesses of any particular game or perhaps the appropriateness of its age-rating from the perspective of a player or parent. Pupils could also write computer game reviews.

Why not also challenge your pupils to create persuasive videos to advertise a chosen computer game? Using professionally produced video game adverts sourced from the internet you can demonstrate persuasive techniques, such as rhetorical questions, repetition, lists of three, hyperbole etc. Next, using images and video captured from their chosen game, encourage pupils to collaborate on the production of a promotional video using iMovie’s Trailer feature. You will find this activity is especially beneficial for more advanced EAL learners as it acts as an intermediate scaffold for writing persuasively.

As you can see there are many ideas for integrating computer games into the classroom to improve the reading and writing skills of your more advanced EAL learners alongside their peers. So, what’s stopping you? You won’t be disappointed with the outcomes!

To read a research case study focussed on using immersive games to improve the writing of more advanced EAL learners visit: https://eal.britishcouncil.org/eal-sector/eal-and-immersive-games


[ Modified: Wednesday, 8 November 2017, 2:35 PM ]