SECPSD’s EAL A1 Resource
By: Liz Rowley
SECPSD’s EAL A1 Resource
Have you been struggling to provide support for newcomers who can’t speak any English? We have. South East Cornerstone Public School Division (SECPSD) is a rural school division where only two of 37 schools have an EAL program and even those are only one hour per day. Students assessed at the CFR A1 level need one-to-one assistance and we just haven’t had enough staff for that. With ever-tighter budgets, what could we do to help both the newcomers and the teachers working with them?
Taking advantage of a Ministry of Education EAL Assessment Project grant we created the SECPSD EAL A1 Resource. It is based on the EAL B10L curriculum and provides 44 lessons, in 11 units, which teach beginner English on a variety of topics. The EAL A1 Resource contains all the materials, videos, and worksheets necessary to complete the units. Each unit builds on the lessons learned in the previous units. Every lesson, built using PowerPoint, contains: dialogue, vocabulary, speaking practice, sentence frames, grammar instruction, reading, guided dialogue practice, journal writing, and an assess & reflect page. Many lessons include some numeracy instruction as well. The resource is designed to allow students to work through the materials on their own but review them regularly with their teacher, or to be used as a guide for teachers wanting to teach beginner English. It is not designed to be a stand-alone self-study program. Students must receive regular and frequent support from their teachers.
We have made our EAL A1 Resource available to everyone in our school division via our divisional website. Now students can access the material at home as well as at school. In a few cases, mothers are learning English along with their young children. For our older students, it provides content that they can comprehend, rather than being lost in a high school ELA class. They often work on this material during a Tutorial period. It is not the perfect solution for these older students. They need complex language skills in order to be successful in their courses, but it is a start. Once students have some basic English skills to work with, however, we are finding they are able to join regular classes as long as their teachers provide differentiated instruction and materials.
The SECPSD EAL A1 Resource is a beginning point, one that appears to be helping our students and teachers. Thanks to the Ministry of Education’s funding, we are better able to meet the needs of our most beginner students and their teachers. We are happy to share this resource with other school divisions and hope you find it helpful too. Feel free to email me with questions (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you would like a copy, please send a 16GB USB in a padded/reinforced envelope along with your return address to:
EAL Consultant, SECPSD
255 Spruce Drive
Estevan, SK S4A 2A6