School operations

EAL Support and Funding

The professional learning needs of staff

In the early stages of developing an EAL program it is worthwhile to build an informed view of EAL learning and teaching within the school.

EAL Regional Program Officers will be able to assist with identifying professional learning needs and opportunities for mainstream teachers, EAL specialists and multicultural education aides (MEAs).

All staff can access a range of factual and fictional materials in students’ home languages, from the Languages and Multicultural Education Resource CentreExternal Link (LMERC).

To successfully deliver a whole-school EAL program, all teaching staff should understand:

  • how an additional language is learnt
  • the teaching and learning conditions that best promote the learning of English as an additional language
  • the language and literacy demands of classroom activities
  • EAL teaching strategies they can use in their classrooms
  • the stages of EAL learning as described in the Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL and the curriculum companion resourcesExternal Link produced by the Department
  • the particular learning needs of the full range of EAL learners.

Appropriate professional learning for all staff, including school support staff may be:

  • working effectively with interpreters
  • cultural background information sessions
  • developing intercultural understanding
  • cross-cultural competency training
  • understanding the refugee experience
  • information sessions about situations in students’ countries of origin.

Opportunities for teachers to mentor, coach and learn from each other may also be investigated.

Staff roles and responsibilities to support EAL learners

All the members of a school community have a role to play in the development and delivery of the school’s EAL program. Staff roles in schools vary according to the size of the school and EAL learner cohort. The following descriptions list possible roles to support an EAL program along with suggested responsibilities for each role.

Leadership team

The principal or school leader:

  • ensures that accurate data is collected through enrolment procedures, interviews and meetings with parents, so that statistical information about the school population can be collated, and so that important factors that may influence students’ learning are known
  • ensures interpreters or MEAs are used to obtain accurate information about the learner from parents
  • ensures resources including EAL Index funding are directed to the EAL program
  • ensures teachers have access to information about their students that is relevant to the teaching and learning program
  • provides opportunities for teacher professional learning to ensure that there is an awareness in the school community of:
    • the implications of additional language acquisition for learning and teaching
    • the latest information about EAL methodology and resources
    • how to work effectively with interpreters and MEAs
    • the refugee experience and recovery goals to support student learning and wellbeing
  • provides support for MEA professional learning
  • promotes a culture that values diversity and ensures that multicultural perspectives are incorporated into all aspects of school life
  • encourages home–school partnerships and parent engagement.

Curriculum or literacy leaders

The curriculum or literacy leader:

  • ensures that policies and learning programs in all learning areas are formulated and implemented with the language learning needs of all students in mind and with an emphasis on building student language acquisition across all three modes of Speaking and Listening, Reading and Viewing and Writing
  • develops an approach that promotes access to the curriculum for all students including EAL learners
  • builds teachers’ knowledge of the explicit language and literacy demands of their teaching areas
  • ensures that curriculum policies require multicultural perspectives to be incorporated in all learning areas
  • liaises with the EAL coordinator to identify effective ways MEAs can contribute to classroom planning and the delivery of lessons
  • ensures that assessment in all learning areas can measure a student’s capacity to engage with the language and literacy demands of the curriculum
  • supports teachers in using assessment information to scaffold students’ learning in literacy and language through the learning areas
  • builds staff capacity in using appropriate assessment for EAL learners.

Learning specialists

The learning specialist:

  • demonstrates high-level expertise in teaching and learning practice
  • models exemplary classroom practice including through teaching demonstration lessons
  • works with the school leadership team to develop a shared view of highly effective teacher practice
  • leads and models the implementation of whole-school improvement strategies related to curriculum planning and delivery
  • plays a key role in the provision of professional learning, including through developing processes and protocols for observation and feedback of teacher practice and peer collaboration
  • models effective learning practice and supports teachers to seek, analyse and act on feedback on their practice
  • provides evidence-based feedback to teaching staff to inform their effectiveness and development
  • provides expert advice about the content, processes and strategies that will shape individual and school professional learning
  • supervises and trains one or more pre-service teachers, and mentors and/or coaches teachers
  • models exemplary use of student data to inform teaching approaches
  • develops and promotes school-wide professional learning structures, processes and protocols through Professional Learning Communities
  • models exemplary professional learning practice including through seeking feedback from other teachers and leaders on their own classroom practice as part of critical reflection and inquiry to improve practice.

EAL specialists

The EAL coordinator, leader or teacher:

  • provides specialist EAL teaching that increases students’ capacity to participate successfully in mainstream classroom activities and to achieve the goals of the mainstream curriculum
  • keeps abreast of the latest information in the EAL field, for example through professional learning opportunities, and shares this with staff as appropriate
  • works with teachers in curriculum areas to identify the language and literacy demands of the content and identify specific EAL-informed teaching approaches to address learner needs
  • assists the classroom teacher in assessing EAL learners’ competence in English, formulating practical goals and objectives for EAL learners and planning a program that caters for the needs of all EAL learners
  • establishes relationships with neighbouring schools and participates in EAL networks
  • oversees the MEA timetable for scheduled classes to support EAL learners and their teachers
  • works with the leadership team to analyse school data related to EAL learners and its implications for whole school provision
  • works with curriculum and professional learning leaders to implement appropriate staff development in EAL assessment and reporting
  • collaborates with other staff on EAL relevant initiatives such as career development and refugee support initiatives.

Classroom or subject teachers

The classroom teacher in a primary school or subject teacher in a secondary school:

  • identifies the language learning needs of EAL learners when planning activities across all areas of the curriculum
  • plans curriculum that takes account of the understanding that EAL learners are acquiring English while learning about English, through English and learning how to read, write and speak at the same time
  • makes the language and literacy demands required for success in each lesson explicit to all students
  • scaffolds students’ language and literacy learning through the curriculum explicitly by using EAL strategies and teaching approaches
  • develops classroom activities that relate to and build upon the experiences that students bring to the learning situation
  • uses assessment strategies that allow all students to demonstrate the understandings they have gained
  • keeps assessment records that indicate the growth of understandings and skills
  • informs parents of student progress in EAL as well as in the learning areas other than English
  • provides opportunities for all students to share the diversity of their experiences
  • ensures that multicultural perspectives are incorporated in all aspects of the social and learning environments
  • attends relevant EAL professional learning.

Multicultural education aides

The multicultural education aide (MEA):

  • supports EAL learners by explaining concepts or directions in the learners’ first language, or simplified English
  • facilitates the participation of EAL learners in group work
  • liaises with family members and members of the community to foster communication and to encourage parents to participate fully in the life of the school
  • provides staff with insights into the culture and language of students and their families
  • assists teachers to communicate with parents and other family members
  • supports teachers with resource development.

Further information on MEAs is available in the MEA Handbook.

Professional learning coordinators

The professional learning coordinator ensures staff have access to EAL professional learning, including that which develops their understanding of:

  • the cultural, linguistic and faith backgrounds of their students
  • how English is learnt as an additional language
  • the teaching and learning conditions that best promote the learning of English as an additional language
  • the language and literacy demands of classroom activities and learning areas
  • EAL teaching strategies they can use in their classrooms
  • the stages of EAL learning as described in the Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL and the curriculum companion resources produced by the Department
  • the particular learning needs of the full range of EAL learners
  • where appropriate, the refugee experience and approaches to support that promote the wellbeing of students from refugee backgrounds.

Transition coordinators

A transition coordinator:

  • supports transitions and the development of pathways for children and young people at vital points in their education
  • liaises with transition coordinators/officers from English language schools and centres if students have come from a new arrivals program
  • understands that EAL learners and students from refugee backgrounds may have experienced multiple changes in their lives, including country of residence, education, languages learnt and cultures encountered, all of which can impact on their learning and capacity to learn
  • supports students and families with educational transitions
  • makes information in languages other than English available
  • ensures interpreters are used to convey important messages
  • ensures teachers have access to relevant information about students contained within Transition Learning and Development Statements, exit reports from English language schools and centres, past school reports and/or academic records from other countries
  • coordinates parent information sessions, engaging interpreters as appropriate.

The transition coordinator:

  • collaborates with the school enrolment officer to ensure the enrolment process is culturally appropriate and that relevant and accurate information is collected, using interpreters where necessary
  • uses the information in Transition reports to inform planning to meet the needs of the EAL learners entering the school
  • refers all overseas born students entering Foundation who have been in Australia less than 18 months to an intensive English language program.

Librarians and resources coordinators

The school librarian or resource coordinator:

  • provides a range of accessible resources for EAL learners at different stages of EAL development (for example, for classroom units of work, for their own reading)
  • ensures that available materials reflect the diversity of Australian society
  • makes teachers aware where resources contain racist and stereotypical references
  • supports teachers to access up-to-date materials on second language acquisition and EAL teaching methodology.

Careers practitioners

The careers practitioner implements the school’s career education program, which includes:

  • delivering My Career ExplorationExternal Link to students in Year 7 and 8 to encourage students to learn more about themselves — their interests, skills and strengths and to explore the world of work
  • supporting all Year 7 to 12 students in government secondary schools to access My Career PortfolioExternal Link , an online resource used to create and update their career action plans, store files related to their course and career planning and get links to current careers information and resources
  • supporting Year 9 students in government secondary schools to undertake My Career InsightsExternal Link which includes completing an online career diagnostic assessment and participating in a one-on-one interview with an external careers consultant to discuss the results of their profile
  • delivering Pathway Planning for Year 10 EAL studentsExternal Link lesson plans which aims to provide tailored career education to Middle Years Low Literacy and Numeracy EAL students in Year 10
  • providing students with culturally appropriate and informed advice and information about subjects, courses, careers and pathways through a combination of classroom activities and group and individual counselling
  • supporting Year 12 students to make applications to the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre, including Special Entry Access Scheme and scholarship applications as well as direct entry applications to relevant tertiary institutions
  • supporting EAL learners to access and participate in workplace learning opportunities, including work experience, Structured Workplace Learning, School Community Work (volunteering) and Head Start and School-Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships (SBATs)
  • promoting applied and vocational learning opportunities to EAL learners from Year 7
  • providing a range of learning experiences that support EAL students to engage with VET providers, industry and the world of work, such as TAFE tasters, visiting workplaces and encouraging employers and industry representatives to speak to students at the school
  • guiding EAL learners to identify and participate in relevant careers expos and university and TAFE open days
  • supporting parents to assist in their child’s career development using the Engaging Parents in Career ConversationsExternal Link framework (EPiCC), including making use of the EAL Guidelines and customised resources contained within.
The professional learning needs of staff - EAL Guidance

Reviewed 01 August 2023

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