The Ethnic Minority Language and Achievement Service (EMLAS) works in partnership with schools in Swansea to support pupils from ethnic minority backgrounds who are learners of English as an additional language (EAL). The service provides both specialist teachers and bilingual teaching assistants to help pupils access the curriculum and acquire EAL.
The teachers within the schools plan closely together to identify language needs of individuals and look to support them in the best way that they can to develop both their use of the English language, knowledge and understanding of the curriculum and key skills.
Mrs. Lucca-Redcliffe, a specialist support teacher has worked closely with the school staff in schools which she supports along with a bilingual teaching assistant, Mr. Luthfur Ullah to provide access to stories in a primary school setting for a child in Year Five.
The class teacher and specialist support teacher wanted to be able give the child access to the story in English but also in their first language which was Sylheti so that they could gain a deeper understanding of what was going on in the story.
The class teacher within the school had decided upon a short story that was going to be the focus for literacy work for a period of time and so wanted to give the pupil access to the text that they could best understand. The staff from EMLAS then set about digitally recording both the Specialist Support Teacher’s voice reading the English version of the text with the Bilingual Teaching Assistant reading the voice in Sylheti. These voices were recorded using the free piece of software, Audacity and were then able to be sent to the resources department within the service to be produced by combining them with the images from the book.
The images from the book (of which both the school and school owned copies) were scanned in to enable the pupil to be able to see the illustrations within the book at the same time as being able to hear both the English and Sylheti languages without the Specialist Teacher or Bilingual Teaching Assistant being in the school.
The images from the book and the recorded audio files were combined in a powerpoint presentation which the pupil was then able to listen to in class using a PC to gain a deeper understanding and reinforce communication skills in both languages.
Being able to access both the class copy of the published material, ‘Handa’s Surprise by Eileen Browne and the digital version which was enhanced for the pupil by both the English and Sylheti translation has helped the pupil to access the literacy activities which have been based around the text.
This approach has helped develop communication skills in both the home language and English so that the child is able to gain a deeper understanding of the story and related discussions which have then improved the spoken language of the pupil.