Opportunity for your school: the Young Interpreter Scheme

The Young Interpreter Scheme (YIS) is an award-winning scheme created by Hampshire EMTAS – the Collaborative Partner in this proposal. The specific mission of the YIS is to facilitate the transition to school for children who are new to English, i.e. novice EAL (English as an Additional Language) learners. Young Interpreters (YI) are either children who have an additional language themselves, but who have advanced English language skills, or monolingual English-speaking children. Their role is to act as mentors to novice EAL learners in everyday school activities. Young Interpreters take part in a 4-part training programme where they are taught about their role and responsibilities, the cultural and linguistic needs of the novice EAL learners that they will be helping, and different methods to aid communication with their EAL peer. The training is delivered by a designated member of school staff using resources made available online by Hampshire EMTAS on Moodle. The scheme has now been adopted throughout the UK in more than 800 primary and secondary schools, but it has not yet been the subject of any systematic research investigation. 

Would your school be interested in taking part in a study evaluating the benefits of the Young Interpreters Scheme? The project is led by Debra Page and Ludovica Serratrice, from the Child Development Group at the University of Reading.

What would being part of the research look like for schools?

  • Consent from parents of up to 30 children aged 6-11 years (up to 15 Young Interpreters ready to be trained and up to 15 non Young Interpreters).
  • Staff to help identify children and contact parents about the project.
  • Assistance with setting up video calls to assess the participating children, and therefore a computer in a quiet room where this can take place.
    • 1 week of testing either side of the Young Interpreter training, and 1 week of testing 6 after training is complete.
  • I will help, via video chat, with delivering the Young Interpreter training.
  • I will provide children with a Young Interpreter diary to log their work.
  • The scheme can help children with EAL settle into school quicker, and improve their English.
  • Young Interpreter children can raise their empathy and intercultural awareness.
  • Schools can create an ethos of inclusivity and celebration of others languages and cultures.
  • There are no assessments for teachers or parents to complete.
  • Your school will get free access to the Young Interpreter Scheme’s materials (worth £95).

This video talks about the scheme and the research project.

Please get in touch with Debra via email at debra.page@pgr.reading.ac.uk  if you have any questions or are interested in taking part in the project

Communicating with multilingual families

Mother Tongues and the School of Education at Trinity College Dublin have created video for teachers/principals/administrative staff on communicating with families in different languages – see here – and a list of useful phrases that can be used in schools. This is a project we will continue to work on over the next few months and anyone can request phrases to be translated (see here).

Helping multilingual families support at-home learning

In collaboration with the School of Education at Trinity College, Mother Tongues have produced short videos on how families can support young children with their literacy, numeracy and creativity during the school shut down, available in 4 languages (Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Polish and Romanian) as well as in English. You can access these videos here.

Remote learning: what works?

The EEF’s rapid evidence assessment has published a report on the existing research (from 60 systematic reviews and meta-analyses) for approaches that schools could use, or are already using, to support the learning of pupils while schools are closed due to Covid-19.  The report is available here.

How can the excellent EAL support normally provided in schools be adapted to remote learning? Please get in touch (via language@leeds.ac.uk) to share your experience

Quantifying bilingualism

“How bilingual are the children in my classroom?” “How much experience of English have they had over their lifetime?” “From what point can I expect this EAL child to have caught up with her peers in terms of English proficiency?”

Children with English as an Additional Language can present very different profiles, and their needs and potential require a more fine-grained approach than a binary EAL / non-EAL categorisation.

The Quantifying Bilingual Experience project brings together an international team of researchers and practitioners to establish a consensus regarding what aspects of the multilingual language experience we need to measure in school settings and for what purpose.  This will inform the creation of user-friendly, online questionnaires (and their associated back-end calculators) to return measures of current and cumulative language experience in real time. Exploiting cutting-edge statistical techniques, we will also develop an objective method to identify early those bilingual children in need of support with their school language, helping practitioners estimate when a child who speaks a different language at home can be expected to have “caught up” with their monolingual peers.

The Q-BEx project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council from October 2019 to September 2022. It is led by Professor Cecile De Cat (University of Leeds).

Online CPD from the BELL Foundation

In response to the Covid-19 crisis and school closures The Bell Foundation will be offering teachers increased opportunities for remote CPD to help them support pupils during and after closures, and publishing new resources which can be used with home learning. 

These opportunities are important because:As a result of school closures, pupils using English as an Additional Language (EAL) may spend weeks with limited access to the approaches to teaching which are best suited to enhancing their English language development alongside their curriculum learning. The switch to home learning is a challenge for most pupils. Adapting this unfamiliar medium to ensure appropriately differentiated pedagogy for students with EAL is likely to be even more so.Some students may lack explicit language input from schools and in many cases experience inconsistent or insufficient exposure to English in the home.  Therefore, there is a risk of loss of learning for many students using EAL, particularly those who are new to English or in the early acquisition stages.Considering that learning is now taking place at a distance, it is more important than ever that schools seek to develop effective communication with parents of learners who use EAL to ensure parents understand what they should be doing to support the learning of their children.  This highlights a need for schools to be especially mindful that communications (both written and spoken) are delivered in clear accessible English, and ideally supported by visual cues.

Free webinars:
The Bell Foundation will be hosting regular free, interactive webinars throughout school closure offering teachers unrivalled access to experts for CPD. 

Overview of forthcoming webinars
View previous webinar recordings

On 30 April 2020 the Foundation is running a series of three webinars focusing on how teachers can effectively support the learning of EAL pupils during and after school closures:

Supporting the home learning of primary EAL pupils
Supporting the home learning of secondary EAL pupils
Assessing the learning of primary and secondary EAL pupils

Free resources:
The Foundation is publishing guidance videos for schools on how to make home learning accessible for EAL pupils and their parents.  The first of these videos are now available on EAL Nexus.  We will be adding to these resources on a regular basis for as long as schools are closed.

View EAL Nexus videos

Online training courses:
Throughout school closure The Bell Foundation will be running online CPD opportunities for teachers and teaching assistants. The courses are designed to be highly interactive and collaborative, with opportunities to work with other course participants, course tutors and course material.  All courses are differentiated for primary and secondary levels.

View all courses
Embedding EAL Assessment
Primary: Teaching Assistants: Working with learners using EAL
Primary: Supporting new arrivals who are New to English
Primary: Introduction to EAL Assessment
Secondary: Teaching Assistants: Working with learners using EAL
Secondary: Supporting new arrivals who are New to English
Secondary: Introduction to EAL Assessment

Viewing past workshops

The recordings of our previous CPD workshops are available. You can access them through links at the end of each event item (via the Events menu).