English as an Additional Language
English as an Additional Language (EAL) is offered to students who require extra support or particular learning strategies to aid their English language acquisition. “Additional” recognizes that many of our students speak several languages and that we value those languages. We firmly believe that all language is best learned through context. All teachers strive to create a language-rich environment that supports not only language development but understanding of contextual ideas presented in the curriculum.
EAL in the Elementary School
Students may enter the elementary school at YIS (up to and including grade 5) regardless of English language proficiency. Students whose mother tongue is not English are eligible to receive extra English language instruction in the following ways:
- In ELC to Kindergarten, students are immersed in the classroom as they learn to communicate in English. The classroom is important for their social and educational development.
- In grades 1-5, students who require additional English language support in order to access the curriculum may be eligible to receive additional support through attending the EAL class and through in-class support. EAL classes take place within the school day in place of the scheduled Japanese language classes.
All teachers use strategies that consider a child’s language background when teaching listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in English.
EAL Program and Class
The main aim of the EAL program is to help students attain English proficiency that will allow them to access the curriculum. During the EAL class students benefit from small group sessions that target the development of the four Language Domains: Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. Discussions and interaction are also integral parts of these lessons.
Students who have gained sufficient proficiency in the English language in order to access the curriculum with minimal additional support will be transferred from the EAL class to the Japanese language class. The students’ language progress will continue to be monitored by the homeroom and the EAL teachers to ensure that their language progress continues to develop.
The decision to enroll a student in the EAL class is a collaborative, holistic analysis of the student’s language abilities that involves the homeroom and EAL teachers, the results of the WIDA Language Proficiency test, classroom observations, reading and writing assessments and additional data, if available.
Students enrolled in the EAL classes are assessed yearly using the WIDA Language Proficiency test. The WIDA Language Proficiency test provides a baseline language proficiency level for each student.
Collaborative Planning and Co-teaching Model
The EAL teacher collaborates with homeroom teachers in grades 1 to 5 to ensure that all students’ language development is supported. Through co-teaching and co-planning in Literacy and in the Units of Inquiry, all teachers become well acquainted with the language proficiency of each child and work as an effective team to support language needs where applicable.
EAL support includes:
- A curriculum that is appropriate for individual needs and reflects the regular language curriculum and PYP.
- A program that focuses on the student’s stage of language development.
- Pull-out classes where teaching focuses on the development of language skills.
- A team approach involving joint planning with grade level teachers.