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English as Another Language (EAL) students

There are over 10,000 students from English as an Additional Language (EAL) backgrounds studying in UniSA programs and not all are international students. The cultural and linguistic diversity of the student body has many implications for teaching. It requires the implementation of teaching approaches which are inclusive of all students. This guide provides some simple strategies for enhancing learning for all students, but particularly for EAL students, in settings such as lectures, tutorials, studio sessions and practicals.  

Aspects of spoken English that cause the greatest difficulty for EAL students

Even though many EAL students have had to demonstrate a minimum English language standard to be accepted into University, the comprehension and production of language in an academic context can still pose a major stumbling block. Adapting to the way language is used in tertiary study is often difficult even for those who have undertaken previous study in English or are native English speakers. A number of factors contribute to difficulties with EAL students' comprehension of the spoken word in lectures and tutorials, including:

Participation in formal and informal group discussions and giving formal oral presentations can also be difficult for EAL students. Some are uncertain of what is expected of them. Some lack the confidence to interject and have their say. Some simply have difficulty, particularly in the early stages of a course, in comprehending what others are saying and therefore do not feel confident to contribute. EAL students can be reluctant to seek assistance from academic and professional staff in the University.  

Strategies for enhancing learning

The following strategies have been distilled from various sources and are intended to suggest simple and effective steps that you can take to enhance the learning of EAL students. These strategies will also benefit all your students by aiding comprehension, clarifying expectations and encouraging and supporting all students to interact and learn from one another.  

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In lectures

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In tutorials (and practicals, studio sessions, discussion forums, or practicum settings)

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A checklist for auditing inclusive teaching

The following checklist is constructed around characteristics of inclusive teaching.

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