Written by Rosie, Secondary Trainee
After a couple of false starts, myself and my colleague found the entrance to Marsden Heights Community College. It was worth the search, as what a fantastic school it was. There were around 1000 students there, with a high percentage who are learning English as an additional language (EAL).
We were introduced to their SCITT Director, and their EAL specialist staff who talked us through the struggles and challenges that a student may face. They explained how students may be in the English school system for the first time, adapting to the ways that we teach on top of making friends, adjusting to a new life and learning English.
Then, we were able to follow EAL students around the school to the lessons which they attended. We got to see many of the different strategies in action, such as buddying up with strong speakers, dual coding and giving concrete examples for abstract concepts. We have previously learnt about some of the strategies used, and as we were told on Monday, ‘what helps some will help all’.
We observed four lessons, including a specific one focusing on reading. Students will read articles, novels and short stories to ensure that they are reading at least once a day and to practise spoken English. The students were actively involved and it was a really nice part of the day to observe.
We felt incredibly welcomed into the school and we learnt a lot by watching expert members of staff apply strategies within the classroom. Now, I can improve on my own strategies and techniques to support students in my class who are EAL.
The day spent at Marsden Heights was incredibly valuable and on behalf of the secondary SCITTs, I would like to say a massive thank you to Marsden Heights school and the staff who made our day so useful.