English Additional Language/Dialect  |  English Second Language  |  English Language Learners

Write Away!

1. Scaffolding Writing Strategy for Beginning and Emerging Phase EAL/D students

When learners of a new language are embedding vocabulary and sentence structure into their language repertiore, they need to contextualise and practise the new language. This document has been written for teachers and learners alike, to do this in the context of classroom writing demands. When being schooled through English, a language which students have just begun to learn, it is difficult to experience success as writers unless the time to practise (repetition) and appropriate language learning support (scaffolding) are both in place. This strategy may help you to help your English-Additional-Language/Dialect learners learn more English whilst participating in a regular classroom task. This was written for classes with 100% EAL/D learners and has also been used successfully in urban schools with EAL/D students in mainstream classes. It will also help English speakers to learn and embed new academic English language and structures when required.

2. Often when students reach the middle years of schooling (Years 7 -9), it is expected that they will understand and know how to operate in and manipulate the learning environment to facilitate their own learning.

What happens when EAL/D students are not coping well with the demands of middle schooling?

What happens when teachers aren't sure of what to do with these older students who may not speak the academic English required or the have the English literacy skills expected to engage in age-grade level learning?

You may find this article helpful in thinking through some issues and deciding on strategies to meet the learning needs of middle school students. Tell us what you think/how you find the strategy works for you?

Scaffolding Writing

How do we teach EAL/D students to write in the language they don't yet speak? Often EAL/D students lose confidence in themselves, they resist taking risks with classroom tasks such as independent writing. I developed the Scaffolding Writing Strategy for a remote Indigenous school where the upper Primary Years' students were resistant to taking such a risk. Their English language literacy skills were not high as their oral English was still developing and they were not literate in their first language. These students are from Oral Culturall backgrounds so the purposes for writing were not clear, outside of the teacher wanting them to do it!

The Scaffolding Writing Strategy is best used within the context of a unit of work where the genre and purpose of writing have been taught and modelled. If students havent' been taught how to write in the first place, they are guessing about the practices of another culture.