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English As An Additional Language


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We need some help!!!

...we are struggeling to communicate with 2 of the children in our setting. One speaks a few words of english the other doesnt speak any and is going to school in september. We have tried on several occasions to get help from the parents but they dont seem interested. Have also spoken with several outside agencies but arent getting anywhere!

 

Any ideas as to where to go for help???

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Try EMTAS (Ethnic Minorities and Traveller Achievement Services) google and see if somewhere in your area.

 

Also try a visual timetable - sparklebox do one but a better idea is to photograph your resources/activities etc. don't forget the domestics like snacks and loo breaks. Print off at least two sets, laminate if possible and tie with a treasury tag. Give one set to home and have one at setting. If parents have some english explain benefits of visual timetable.

 

Contact LA if translator needed they should be able to put you in touch with someone.

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the language they both speak is malayalam, spoken in parts of india.

I have spoken to both sets of parents, asking if they could supply us with simple words for us to use with the children, such as, mummy, daddy, toilet, snack... but have had no reply.

i have phoned wedge and a company who help with EaAL but they wouldnt help because we are a preschool and our children are too young, they only help with reception class onwards!!!

Our EYAT has spoken to our area SENCO but i have heard nothing since and that was 5 weeks ago now.

 

its becoming really frustrating for all of the staff and the 2 children as we cannot understand each other, i'm especially concerned about the fact one starts school in september!

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i'm not sure what to suggest...i have 4 children that have very little to no english but their parents have been very helpful in teaching me how to say key words and when i don't undertsand or they don't understand i show them what i would like them to do. One of the children has just come out of her silent period and is now a confident english speaker even though she had not spoken english to us since September. In addition to this don't worry about them starting school... i had a child last year who went to school not saying anymore than hello in english although he had very good understanding he is now in the top of his class and has lots of friends. x

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You need to think of these children as babies learning to speak and do the things with them that you would do with a young baby. Lots of hands on speaking, you to them and gesturing. Do you know some simple signing that you could all use? These children will speak when they are ready and unless they have other learning problems Eal is not a SenCo responsibility.

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I only started working in this setting after christmas and it appears not a lot was done about the situation before.

We have our Unique Story meetings in a few weeks and i'm unsure about how we are going to talk about the child. The parents speak very little english themselves ...communcation barrier is very tricky!

 

I have experience of this problem from another setting i have been in but that one became alright by itself ...not quite sure how it happened, she just seemed to all of a sudden start to speak english!

 

But this is unlike anything i've ever seen, the children quite often shout at staff but its always in their own language, we don't know what is wrong most of the time.

The children tend to physically pull a member of staff to where they need help if in a different area of the room.

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You need to think of these children as babies learning to speak and do the things with them that you would do with a young baby. Lots of hands on speaking, you to them and gesturing. Do you know some simple signing that you could all use? These children will speak when they are ready and unless they have other learning problems Eal is not a SenCo responsibility.

 

 

We use makaton all the time in the setting and every member of staff has a set of picture cards as we have a lot of children with speech and language difficulties

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Hi

There's a really good website called language of the month which you can google. Might come up as a school based address which is fine as they run it. Somewhere in London I think.

 

We use signing a lot with our EAL children.

 

Mantra lingua do some good publications and resources.

 

Children who have english as their additional language will gradually begin to speak the language as they play alongside their peers. They also often go into silent mode for months, so don't worry too much, unless of course they are presenting with other difficulties.

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One of the children has just come out of her silent period and is now a confident english speaker even though she had not spoken english to us since September.

 

 

This is a very important point to remember - don't panic too much at this stage because both children WILL be absorbing and understanding a great deal about the English language and starting to make sense of what you are saying to them, especially if you reinforce what you are saying with lots of non-verbal communication and gestures..and props if possible. The process of learning any language includes this silent period - think of babies and toddlers understanding and being able to follow your instructions and commands (well, sometimes anyway!) whilst not actually saying any words to you.

 

I worked for three years in a nursery where we had a very high proportion of children with EAL - and many spoke no English at all when they joined us. However, after a few months of "silence", these children could communicate easily and confidently in English, starting with one, two and three words and gradually moving on to sentences. As long as you are providing a language rich environment and also promoting these children's PSE effectively, have confidence that they ARE developing their understanding and subsequent use of English slowly bu surely. I know it must be frustrating that help and support is not forthcoming but have faith in your own skills and abilities - you're doing fine! :o

Edited by Wolfie
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I wasn't too concerned because we were making very slow but steady progress with the little girl but ive since had a meeting with an ex ofsted inspector who told me we weren't doing enough as a setting to further their knowledge of the english language!

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Guest Mrs Tiggy Winkle
Hi

There's a really good website called language of the month which you can google. Might come up as a school based address which is fine as they run it. Somewhere in London I think.

 

The link is:

 

http://www.newburypark.redbridge.sch.uk/langofmonth/

 

But I just checked and unfortuantely malayalam is not listed as one of their languages xD

 

However I have found this site... http://language.e2bn.org/videobank/Malayalam.html

Which gives you some words and phrases which may be helpful.

 

 

Sometimes being able to communicate in the home language can help the children to be more confident to try the english that they will be beginning to learn... especially if you make mistakes in pronunciation of their language :o

 

It worked for me with a little girl in my class (y1) who wouldn't speak even to answer the register ( and this was her second year in school) until one day I said hello to her in her home language and she replied!! And from then on she always answered the register but in her home language.

 

But she very clearly understood the english, just wasn't confident enough to take the risk and speak it.

 

I would say just give it time and try not to get too worried about it.

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ive since had a meeting with an ex ofsted inspector who told me we weren't doing enough as a setting to further their knowledge of the english language!

 

Hmmm, they didn't care to elaborate and give you any "top tips" then? :o

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lots of good advice from others,

 

to anyone who asks what are we doing to help children further their knowledge of English we always reply that we feel the best way for these children we have found is to model the English language while doing things with them, a narrative of what you are doing, they learn a lot before thinking about speaking... we have found the mute stage often lasts the whole time they are with us.... not unusual. this advice was given to us by our local emas who have provided help and given us workshops over the years.

 

signing or makaton in addition is a helpful way to get them to respond back without using language until they are confident.. it just takes time. we had pictures to use as well, but did find that they were not often needed, perhaps at snack time they were the most useful. all depends on the children.

 

Many parents we have found do not want us to use home language in the setting... this may be part of parents reluctance to help... they have told us they want child to only hear English.... not always useful

 

EMAS4 Sucess

the link is for our local service website.. would try a search in your area you may fing they ahve a service similar.. I found one for all ouf local boroughs

 

Inge

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forgot to say.. dont worry about those going to school with little English, they will speak it eventually, and often the change of environment is the key to them speaking... we have visited the schools a few weeks after the children have moved on to find these children chattering away in English very confidently.

 

You only need to think about what you are doing now to help the children, not worry about next stage of education.

 

They will also often speak to their peers before feeling confident enough to speak to adults... we had one little girl who spoke fluent English to her friends when playing, and her brother t home, but not to parents or us!

 

Inge

 

Most of our parents who speak Malaylam as a first language have told us that they also use Hindi, we had one child who was learning Hindi and English in addition to his Malayalam while with us.

Edited by Inge
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I would guess there are 2 reasons why the parents haven't given you useful words; first because they want the children to speak English (we at one time were lucky enough to have a couple of Indian staff who could speak to the parents in home language & the parents requested we not use home languages as they wanted the children to speak English. And yes, we know they need to assimilate home language before they will be able to use English, but the parents weren't convinced.)

 

Secend, I would guess the parents have little enough English that they really don't know what you want or how to help you. This is where an older sibling comes in handy to translate.

 

If it's any help, often the Indian dialects are similar enough that a speaker of, for example, Bengali, can clearly communicate with a speaker of say, Hindi. I know the problem with trying to get help and being in a preschool!

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wouldnt agree that it is not a senco role

the children have additional needs

even though it is everbody's resposibility your setting senco and area senco should be of help ours have been wonderful

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Children do go through a 'silent' period when just picking up English if it is not their first language. So dont worry about this. Also EAL is NOT a special educational need so please dont expect your SENCo to get involved. I am not wishing to start a debate in this matter, I am just stating how it is defined which is not as a special need. it is an additional need however. Children who speak English as a second language are not lacking in their cognitive ability necessarily, although if you do suspect that there may be special needs then do get on to it straight away as this can be a nightmare to diagnose officially no matter how obvious it appears. Just give them time and lots of visual stimuli. Also offer them actions and pictoral cues to help communication.

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I am a SENCO and we have been told we must not treat EAL children as SEN does your LA have EMAG? They will usually offer to translate and supply packs to use with the child and family. The advice we receive is to make things visual and active and not to worry if the child is silent they will pick language up from their peers. Families are also told to continue speeking the home language not English in the home. Often children with no English take until Y1 to "take off" so don't worry.

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Please don't see this as a problem - they are just learning english and will be developing their basic understanding just by being with the other children and listening. As they start to make sense of the streams of sound around them they will start to tune in. Their competence in their own language is very important for this and it can take upto 7 years for a child to develop competency in their second language so it isn't going to happen overnight.

 

Talking with them as you are doing things in context is vital and should be a priority strategy really. The silent period is completely normal and can last a while - thy will use english when they feel it is safe and they are comfortable to do so.

Cx

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There seems to be little information/resources about Malayalam, however you can get 'Farmer Duck' as a dual language book. This will introduce all children to different styles of writing as well as helpful to children that have EAL. Are the parents unhelpful because they do not understand what you are asking? We recently had this and got nothing back, however found that writing it down was more helpful.

 

Do you have an Inclusion Officer? We have one in our local council and she was extremly helpful giving us signs saying welcome or hello in different languages, she visited our setting and gave us lots of tips about activities to do and non verbal communication is very important so it might be worth ringing the council for advice. Our council will translate (for a small cost) letters or anything else in languages which may be beneficial for you, your children and their families.

 

Samfrostie :o

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had quite a break through this week ...one of the children has been naming animals - IN ENGLISH!!! was so happy to hear it, as it HAS obviously been sinking in these last few months!

 

although the other child has also learnt a new word in english too and she can now tell my staff to 'shut up' which isn't great but at least it's english!

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Fantastic news! Even if it is "Shut up"! You just have to have the courage of your convictions, don't you, duting that long period of silence?

 

Your story reminded me of a child that we had who came in speaking no English at all and was really very distraught for long periods during the sessions at first...I can remember one of my colleagues rushing in, very excited, to tell me that he had spoken for the first time and had said "I want to go home"!

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