Successful outcomes from English as an Additional Language project
‘…. it’s turned a challenge into an opportunity.’ This was one of the comments from a group of 15 PGCE Primary students, made during a recent evaluation of a year-long, Training and Development agency (TDA) funded pilot project, led by Jean Conteh, module leader for Primary English. The aim of the project was to investigate the understandings, knowledge and skills needed by newly-qualified teachers to meet the needs of pupils learning English as an Additional Language (EAL) – timely and important in our rapidly-changing society, where the proportion of pupils in mainstream schools who speak other languages besides English is currently about 15%. The School of Education at Leeds took the lead on the primary element of the project, and the Institute of Education in London focused on the secondary strand.
Besides carrying out all the work required on their already packed course, the PGCE students engaged in theoretical reading, school-based tasks, a 5-week school placement and they produced a written assignment at Master’s level. Throughout, they were engaged in critical reflection on their own learning, which they valued highly and which is informing future developments. Outcomes of the project were presented at a recent meeting in Manchester by Jean to a nationally-selected group of providers and she is currently attending meetings with the TDA to discuss how to carry the work forward.