31 SES 13 A, Teachers’ Practice and Subject Knowledge for Teaching Multilingual Learners: International perspectives on linguistically responsive pedagogy as a resource for inclusion
The population of multilingual learners in English schools now stands at 20% of children in primary education and 16% of children in secondary education, but funding for their support at local government level has been subjected to year-on-year cuts since 2010 (Strand et al, 2015). These pupils - referred to in England as having English as an additional language (EAL) - may speak one or several of the more than 300 minority languages used by British school pupils. Whether their teachers will have support in attending to their English language acquisition needs will be dependent on whether there is local expertise available in their region and on whether their schools prioritise EAL teaching as a staff development need (Anderson et al, 2016; Leung, 2016). The EAL Teachers in England survey (Flynn and Curdt-Christiansen, 2017) was designed to capture a snapshot of teachers’ attitudes to their EAL learners, their understanding of effective practice for EAL and how far they interact with policy for EAL as part of their practice. Adaptations were made to the survey first conducted in the United States (Milbourne et al, 2017) which a) took account of practitioners’ understanding of effective EAL practice in an English context and b) took account of EAL policy specific to England. In this paper findings from the survey items related specifically to teachers’ attitudes to and understanding of their practice for EAL are presented and discussed. Respondents to the survey (n =130) were from both primary and secondary schools and from a cross-section of different levels of experience from newly-qualified to twenty years or more in the classroom. While outcomes indicate a generally positive mind-set towards multilingual learners, there were some significant variations in respondents’ understanding of the features of effective pedagogy for EAL. At a time when policy for EAL in England is limited to annual summative assessment of students’ proficiency in English, and policy narrative conflates linguistic difference with ‘disadvantage’, there is an apparent disconnect between what teachers might need in terms of developing their practice and what might be perceived as important by policymakers and school leadership teams. With this in mind, outcomes from the survey are discussed in terms of implications for both pre-service and in-service teachers’ needs if they are to develop successful and inclusive linguistically responsive pedagogy.
Anderson, C., Foley, Y., Sangster, P., Edwards, V., & Rassool, N. (2016). Policy, Pedagogy and Pupil Perceptions: EAL in Scotland and England, Cambridge: University of Edinburgh and The Bell Foundation Flynn, N. & Curdt-Christiansen, X-L (2017) Intentions versus Enactment: Language Policy and Practice for English Language Learners in England, paper presented at the ECER 2017 conference, Copenhagen, Denmark Leung, C. (2016). English as an additional language – a genealogy of language-in-education policies and reflections on research trajectories. Language and Education, 30(2), 158-174 Milbourn, T., Viesca, K.M., & Leech, N. (2017, April). Measuring linguistically responsive teaching: First results. Paper presented at the American Educational Researchers Association. San Antonio, TX Strand, S., Malmberg, L., & Hall, J. (2015). English as an Additional Language (EAL) and educational achievement in England: An analysis of the National Pupil Database. Oxford: University of Oxford, Department of Education.
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