English as an Additional Language (EAL)
ENGLISH AS AN ADDITIONAL LANGUAGE (EAL)
ASP is proud to serve a large population of students from different national, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds, and we strive to respect, value, and celebrate our diversity.
While the language of communication and instruction at ASP is primarily in English, many of our students come from a variety of linguistic backgrounds. For the numerous students who are developing English language proficiency, we offer a comprehensive “English as an Additional Language” (EAL) program for students in grades 1 through 8.
It is through this program that many non-native English speakers acquire the level of English needed to communicate effectively and successfully in social and academic situations.
EAL Program Statement of Purpose
To support successful English language learning in academic, social and extracurricular settings while valuing home culture and native language development.*
Adapted from Rojas, (2007)
- Our Aim and Philosophy
- How is a student placed into the EAL Program?
- How does ASP support English language development?
- How do EAL students exit the EAL Program?
- How long does it take to learn English?
- What can parents do you help their child learn English?
We believe that:
- Language acquisition is a complex and life-long process
- Language learners acquire language at different rates and with different learning styles.
- Students acquire language through meaningful and relevant interaction.
- Students acquire language more quickly through immersion, and should be integrated into the classroom as soon as possible.
- Language learners usually acquire social English in 3-5 years and academic English in 5-7 years according to the research.
- EAL students should be provided with the language support necessary to facilitate their success.
- First language proficiency supports new language development; it is therefore important that students continue to study their mother-tongue language.
- The level of a person's English language proficiency is not a measure of intelligence, nor is it an indicator of what he or she knows.
- Like all students, EAL students should be encouraged to take risks and be given opportunities to realize their full potential. A high-level of self-esteem can only enhance language acquisition.
- EAL students and their families are valued members of our school community. *Adapted from Rojas, (2006)
As a program committed to excellence in EAL education, the EAL program will provide each EAL student with the English language support they need to be socially and academically successful while valuing home culture and native language development.
New students whose mother-tongue is other than English are assessed by the EAL team to determine their English language proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The results of these assessments determine students’ placement within or out of the EAL program.
Students may progress to a higher-level EAL class (or exit the program entirely) at any time during the school year, depending on the level of proficiency they achieve in relationship to the EAL standards and benchmarks.
After your child is tested and proven to be in need of EAL support, he or she is placed into the EAL Program according to his or her level of English language proficiency in reading, writing, listening and speaking.
Your child will receive differentiated EAL support based on his or her level of English language proficiency within an immersive and inclusive environment. The EAL and classroom teachers will teach to your child’s next level of English language development. For example, if your child is an ‘early intermediate’ writer, your child’s teachers will teach to the next level of development or the ‘intermediate’ level. Your child’s teachers will do this for all skills areas.
To exit the EAL program your child must demonstrate that he or she is ready to exit by having examples of class work in speaking, listening, reading, and writing that meet exit-level standards. For example, if your child is at the ‘becoming fluent’ level of reading, he or she must demonstrate that he or she can read independently at a ‘fluent’ level at their grade level using grade level reading texts and activities. In addition, he or she is expected to show high proficiency on the WIDA Test and other standardized tests of English language proficiency.
Learning an additional language takes time. There are many factors that influence how fast a student will learn English and each child will learn at his or her own rate.
However, research shows that the average beginning-level student in an immersion program, like ASP, will learn social English in 3-5 years and academic English in 5-7 years (Cummins, 2010). It is a long process and cannot be ‘rushed’. For example, if a student exits the EAL program too early, he or she will find that the classes are very difficult to understand and participate in since the English will often be beyond their level of comprehension. As a result, their English language development will slow down or ‘fossilize’ (based on Selinker & Han 2004). At this time, the student can easily become frustrated and upset because they are not able to fully understand and participate in the language and content of the class. In the end, very often, both their language and content development suffers.
Meet the EAL Faculty
The program’s faculty consists of trained professionals committed to creating a humanistic environment in which each student can feel secure to meet all the challenges of the ASP academic and social life. In addition to knowing each of our students very well, English language support instructors are always in close contact with classroom teachers and administrators to ensure that there is a clear understanding of each of the EAL student's needs, progress, and classroom placement. This information is regularly and systematically communicated to the parents who help both at home and at the school with their child’s language development. As a community, we strive to create the best possible language-learning environment for your child to succeed at ASP and beyond.