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 service supports pupils within both primary and secondary age ranges and so has to work closely with the schools to be able to adapt information so that children learning EAL can access and understand the materials being studied in both Key Stages Three and Four.
The service has a strong commitment to using ICT to support pupils learning EAL and equips each specialist teacher with a laptop and bank of software to use to support the pupils. Clicker 5 is one of the pieces of software on this core bank of software.
The service felt that, following discussions with the EES Curriculum Support Team, this piece of software could provide a strong platform to base learning materials.
Pupils arrive at all ages within both Key Stages Three and Four. Mrs. Hendy supported a Year Seven pupil who was a ‘Stage A EAL learner’ meaning that the pupil was new to English and in the very early stages of learning EAL.
Clicker 5 was the ideal piece of software to use to support this pupil to access the English language curriculum and begin to learn about the way sentences are built up in the English language.
Mrs. Hendy spent time with the pupil building up the vocabulary that the pupil would need to write the story and using the pictures within Clicker 5 to enable the pupil to understand the language and match the word to the objects. This was done by using the template ‘My Seaside Holiday’ which comes as part of the Clicker 5 resource bank. The pre-prepared template is supportive as it gives picture cues and also reads the story to the pupil who is able to go through the story at their own pace.
When the pupil was comfortable with the vocabulary that was being used, Mrs. Hendy created her own Clicker grid to enable the pupil to create simple sentences using information based on the story. At the start Mrs. Hendy worked on the sentence construction skills and the ordering of words within a sentence.
As the pupil became more confident in using both the language and the software package Mrs Hendy varied the template so that the pupil could choose individual words to create sentences again with pictorial cues to and the re-reading of text within the package to support the work.
The pupil has found the software to be very supportive as has the specialist support teacher. The pictorial cues within the software and the ability to re-read back the text entered has helped reinforce the sentence structure of the work undertaken.Without the support of the step by step approach which the software takes it would have been very difficult for the pupil to create a piece of meaningful writing which they understood and which can be recorded and shared easily both with teachers and parents.