The Importance Of English As A Second Language

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Students for whom English is an additional language or dialect (EAL/D) may be defined as those students with diverse linguistic, cultural and educational backgrounds “whose first language is a language or dialect other than English and who require additional support to assist them to develop proficiency in English” (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA], 2014, p. 6). As learning is accessed through English in Australian schools, without specific linguistic support these students may be excluded from accessing and participating in the curriculum. Moreover, the lack of an empathetic and inclusive learning environment which values the distinctive cultural backgrounds of all students may lead to difficulties
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9). According to Paradis (as cited in Berk, 2013, p. 396), school-aged children acquiring a second language “generally take five to seven years to attain speaking and writing skills on a par with those of native-speaking agemates”. As a result, these students require personalised and targeted support in order to gain and develop the English language skills and area-specific language structures and vocabulary necessary to both access and participate in the general curriculum and to assist them in demonstrating achievement across all key learning areas (ACARA, 2014). In addition to this, it cannot be assumed that these students will possess the cultural knowledge, experiences and perspectives required to interact socially, and access and participate meaningfully in the curriculum. As a result, educators are encouraged to provide an inclusive and nurturing learning environment that values and incorporates the identities of all students in the classroom (ACARA, …show more content…
Moreover, Santos and Ostrosky (n.d.) suggest that some of the behaviours interpreted as problematic amongst students learning EAL/D are simply responses to the challenges of learning a new language. Being aware of these challenges is essential for teachers in order to not underestimate a student’s abilities or misinterpret a student’s behaviour for lack of effort or

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