Learners and Learning Context: Identifying the Specifics of the EAL Environment

Teaching English as an additional language is a challenging task due to the numerous objectives that the instructor must accomplish and the need to keep the learners engaged consistently (Han & Hyland, 2015). The problem becomes especially complicated once the needs of students learning English as an Additional Language (EAL) are addressed. The target audience can be described as students who speak languages other than English (Australian English in this case) and who need to develop skills related to speaking Australian English (Victoria State Government, 2016).

In addition, because many EAL students may already have had experience acquiring language-related skills, it will be reasonable to assume that they prefer to enjoy autonomy in the education process (O’Reilly, 2015). Moreover, although the target learners may be able to make links to the sociocultural competence that they have built while learning other languages, the process of knowledge and skills acquisition is fraught with challenges related to the necessity of addressing the above competence on numerous levels, including linguistic, sociolinguistic, discourse-related, strategic, and pragmatic levels (Georgakopoulou & Spilioti, 2015).

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The target group consists of 10 EAL students aged 6-8 years old (six female and four male). Three of them speak Spanish (2 male, one female), four speak French (three male, one female), one (female) speak German and two (one male, one female) speak Italian. It is important to note that all of the students have sufficient support from family members (primarily parents), which means that they are likely to receive additional encouragement from their family apart from that of the teacher.

The environment in which the teacher is going to operate is likely to be rather favorable for the students’ language development. These EAL students have recently entered the English-speaking environment and must consistently utilize their English language skills not only during the educational process, but also in the process of communicating with members of the local community on a daily basis. It should be noted, however, that four of the students have previously been subjected to a compulsory acquisition of a second language.

Particularly the students speaking Spanish, French, and Italian should be mentioned. The effects of the compulsory education process, which may have left unpleasant memories, may hamper these students’ present attempts at English-language learning. Nevertheless, it is assumed that the adoption of a proper teaching framework will help reinforce the students’ language competencies and that the teacher should convince the students that learning English is imperative for a range of essential life activities, such as interaction with their peers.

By incorporating elements that will help these EAL students accept the new language as one of practical importance (e.g., engaging them in role-plays and focusing on visual communication elements rather than verbal ones), the instructor is likely to prompt enthusiasm among learners and reinforce the process of EAL skills acquisition and active use. 

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