English as an additional language or dialect (EAL/D), formerly known as English as a Second Language (ESL), is a specialised field of education concerned with teaching English to learners who do not speak Standard Australian English as their first language.
EAL/D learners speak a language or dialect other than English and need support with the English language in order to access their age-appropriate curriculum.
Not all learners who speak other languages or dialects are EAL/D learners, because they may have sufficient English proficiency to participate effectively in the school curriculum.
EAL/D learners can include those born in Australia and raised in families in which languages or dialects other than English are spoken such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students or children of migrants. Those born outside of Australia include humanitarian entrants, international students and migrants.
Schools identify EAL/D learners either through the enrolment process or through ongoing classroom processes.
During the enrolment process, schools gather as much relevant information as possible about the student's main language of proficiency. Some students may be immediately identified as EAL/D learners from this process.
Other EAL/D learners may only be identified by their classroom learning behaviours and language use. Class teachers identify EAL/D learners through a combination of observation and analysis of work samples including test results, writing responses and interviews/conferences with students.
EAL/D learners need specific teaching approaches to build a language foundation for successful classroom learning and schools provide support targeted to students' needs. Teachers determine these students' English language proficiency using Bandscales State Schools (Queensland) , and provide teaching to meet particular language needs of students within the classroom context.
The type of support provided is a school-based decision based on the EAL/D learner's levels of English language proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing, and the school context.
EAL/D learners are taught the Australian curriculum for their age and teachers use a variety of ways to engage EAL/D learners and assist them to achieve the expected learning.
EAL/D learners are learning curriculum content at the same time they are learning English. To determine content understanding, teachers provide assessment tasks that cater to the learners' levels of English proficiency. Depending on their levels of English proficiency, the language demands of the task may be reduced, allowing students to focus on demonstrating their content understanding. For example, learners in the early stages of acquiring English may demonstrate content understanding through illustrations, diagrams, role play or talk.
Students are assessed and reported against the achievement standard for the year level curriculum they are taught however EAL/D students in their first 12 months of Australian schooling may be exempt from this. For these students, their reports contain a written statement about their English language proficiency against the Bandscales State Schools (Queensland) as well as achievement in the learning areas of the Australian Curriculum if appropriate.
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This page was last reviewed on 13 Jul 2016