WAYS OF PROMOTING INCLUSION WITH EAL LEARNERS
As a teacher, it is always very easy to focus on the best and most gifted students in the class at the detriment of the less able. It is easier to teach students with more ability in a subject. But it is essential to always include all learners in all lessons not withstanding their background, language or needs. So teachers need to ensure that their teaching take into consideration the learning ability of all students in the class across board. Students with a special need should not be put down or isolated from the whole class, but instead, measures should be taken to facilitate learning for these individuals at the same level and ability as the other students and this can involve some special measures and funding.
The Human Rights Act of 1998 made it illegal to discriminate against anyone for age, race, religion, disability or sex, further more; many of these have their own individual specific acts in place such as the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Race Relations Act 1976 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
The aim of this essay is to show the impacts of inclusion in UK mainstream education on students with English as Additional Language (EAL) using St Johns Comprehensive Secondary School as an example.
This essay will be used to show that it is economically viable and not detrimental to educate EAL pupils in UK mainstream education.
And lastly, to identify processes of good practice used for EAL students inclusion into schools in UK.
In the preliminary stage, desk research was conducted through interview of EAL teachers and classroom observations of these students which involve general interview of students in the class, indirectly targeting concentrating on the EAL students. Another observation was made by following one of the EAL students for a whole day through all his lessons for the day, and while doing this, observations were made as to his performances and involvement in class activities in various subjects. Related literatures on this topic were read and reviewed to give constructive critics for a balance view not withstanding that some of these literatures were not recently written by the authors.
Teachers and Teaching Assistants were interviewed to know their experience and attainment of EAL students when they joined the school and over a period of two years to see their level of improvements and inclusion.
Some of the challenges encountered include not having much written text books on this topic and this has limit the extent the essay can critic the chosen topic. Also, some of the available research work were done outside UK and has in mind different audiences but these has thrown sum lights into the background and what happen to EAL students in their home countries prior to coming into UK. And this to a large extent has given us an insight to know how to interpret their performance.
Inclusion is a comparatively new word used in education. In today’s culture, inclusion means to be accepted; not being segregated, to be integrated, and being treated the same as everyone else.
Tony Booth and Mel Ainscow (2002) in Index of Inclusion developing learning and participation in schools identify inclusive education as valuing all students and staff equally. Increasing the contribution of students in school activities, reducing their segregation from the cultures, curricula, and communities of local schools which sometimes is a punitive measure to ensure conformity of students with schools instead of looking at why the behaviour or motive behind it which might be a way of protest against exclusion. As good as this is good and will go a long way to entrench inclusion in UK schools, it is important to look at how EAL students are valued. There is a stigmatisation that is involved in the term being used to name the students either as EAL, Free School Meal (FSM) or Special Education Need (SEND). This term alone bring with it a pigeon whole effect on the said students, and might have a negative effect on the students and make government policy on inclusion not to work effectively.
Also, EAL students’ misbehaviour is sometimes due to their difficulty to learn when the class is going on. So they drift away into some other things to occupy their time while the class is on-going. Increasing students’ participation in school activities, and reduce their exclusion from the cultures, curricula, and communities of local school as stated by Tony Booth and Mel Ainscow will need teachers and educators to use more of differentiation in teaching students by finding out reason behind students behaviour before using exclusion as a punitive measure. It will be of great advantage if differences in students are used as resources to support learning rather than problems to be overcome in EAL students to encourage inclusion of students.
At present St. John’s School where I am having my placement have EAL students from Slovakia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Portugal, Brazil, Belgium, Nigeria, Italy, France, India, and Afghanistan. The school always accept students at any time during the school year, including asylum seekers, refugees and extended family members with majority of them have very little or no knowledge of English at all.
The first Roma migration to the UK from central and Eastern Europe according to the study carried out by Lucie Fremiova and Heather Ureche in 2011 in there port on topic ‘from segregation to inclusion ‘was in 1990 by seeking asylum to escape widespread racial discrimination and persecution in their countries of origin. But the enlargement of European Union (EU) in 2004 and 2007 has made new members to exercise their right to free movement. According to this research, it is estimated that around 500,000 live in UK and 65% are of school age. There is certainly a change in the landscape of UK education system due to all these facts.