EAL: Excluded by inclusion
By Kamil Trzebiatowski
Here’s an extract:
“Have you ever seen a child cry because they couldn’t understand a language? Crying their eyes out because they want to do well, wanted to talk to others, but couldn’t as they couldn’t understand a word and suddenly all their values and beliefs about their own knowledge have become subverted and torn up? Suddenly, their knowledge ceases to matter and their confidence receives a massive dip. Unattended to by the overwhelmed teacher in the mainstream class, rejected by the other students because of the language barrier, they become withdrawn….
In my EAL intervention classes, the students feel safe. They learn the language they know they desperately need. They gain confidence. They learn step by step, provided with well-structured, linguistically-informed activities, building the blocks of English language awareness, so much needed for their new lives in England. But, perhaps most importantly, they smile. They feel relaxed and encounter supportive atmosphere in their withdrawal classes. I’ve never had an EAL child cry in my class. They know what I say to them. If they don’t, I am instantly aware of this and slow down for them. They feel respected, valued. They are included. They are certainly not treated the same despite their differences. The individual focus I can provide them with is what allows them to grow as individuals and builds their confidence up to eventually participate in the mainstream activities further.”