Teaching EAL/D Students NSW Schools

English is an essential requirement for success both at school and for further education, training and employment. For students who are from a language background other than English (LBOTE) and do not speak English or need support learning in English, there are English as an Additional Language (EAL/D) programs available.

Schools provided with a specialist EAL/D teacher/s have an "EAL/D Targeted Support Program". These teachers are appointed in addition to the school's normal staffing allocation, to primary and high schools which have sufficient numbers of identified EAL/D students.
As EAL/D teachers are not able to provide direct support to every EAL/D student at all times in every class, all teachers have responsibility for the English language learning of
EAL/D students in their classes.

Schools in NSW are committed to providing and maintaining the appropriate level of support for EAL/D students and this is seen in the Multicultural Education Policy

Multicultural Education Policy
This policy responds to the cultural, linguistic and religious diversity of NSW. It commits schools to providing opportunities that enable all students to achieve equitable education and social outcomes and participate successfully in our culturally diverse society.

1.3 Schools ensure inclusive teaching practices which recognise and respect the cultural, linguistic and religious backgrounds of all students and promote an open and tolerant attitude towards cultural diversity, different perspectives and world views.

1.4 Schools provide programs that enable students learning English as an additional language or dialect (EAL/D) to develop their English language and literacy skills so that they are able to fully participate in schooling and achieve equitable educational outcomes.

1.5 Schools deliver differentiated curriculum and targeted teaching and learning programs to address the specific learning and well-being needs of students from culturally diverse backgrounds, including newly arrived and refugee students.

The School Evaluation Framework has been developed to assist schools to evaluate their existing ESL program and work towards the creation of an ESL support program that operates as an integral part of the whole school curriculum.

Writing an ESL Policy for your school is an easy guide to creating an ESL Policy that meets the ESL needs of your school.
Writing an ESL Policy for your school

Roles and responsibilities of an ESL teacher - The role of an EAL/D teacher may be multifaceted and thus not be clearly understood in your school. This is mainly because the role needs to be linked to the context of the school and this will vary from school to school.

for example:

  • If you have many new arrivals with little English you may see your role as withdrawing students to provide survival English language and literacy support using a program that is individualised for their needs.

  • If you have many more students in mainstream classrooms who have spoken English but appear to struggle with academic reading and writing, you may see your role as collaboratively programming and teaching in the mainstream classroom using the syllabus content as your English base creating an integrated program that links content area learning with English language learning.

It is important to note that withdrawing students from their mainstream classroom is helpful in the initial stages of learning English but ultimately EAL/D students to learn Academic English best through integrated content area instruction with their peers while in the mainstream classroom supported by an EAL/D teacher using language and literacy strategies all the students can do. This is an inclusive curriculum approach and provides class teachers with an important opportunity to engage in professional learning on the support of their EAL/D students.

How do I organise an ESL program? What is an ESL program?






ESL students learn best when they are learning in context. This means you are providing a way into the topic via the activities you use. In order to to assist students' learning, these activities need to focus on the technical language of a unit as well as the grammatical features of the texts they read or must create.

The main aim of an ESL program is to build academic language through communicative learning.

  1. Identify the learning the students must do and how they will represent their understanding of that learning.

  2. Identify the technical language and grammatical features of this work including texts to be read and the final assessment task/s (written and spoken)

  3. Gather resources (images, films, web sites, games, artefacts and books) that will support students' language.

  4. Create a range of activities that students MUST do collaboratively and where they must TALK in order to complete the task.

  5. Negotiate with the class teacher/s how, when and where you will support the EAL/D students in the class

  6. Create a teaching sequence that includes the class grouping (pair, group and whole class construction of knowledge) and the role of each teacher participating

  7. Evaluate each teaching and learning session for student/teaching success and discuss with the team how you felt the lesson went

See the hand out below for more information

The most important thing to remember is that English is best learnt in context; where a range of meaning making resources are present. This includes English speaking peers.

English learning is less successful when withdrawing students who all have language learning needs as you become the main (and often only) source of English language. EAL/D Students need to interact with and hear other students speak in English to become more competent and confident English language users.

for program examples see the pages on K-2 and 3-6