EAL at Summerhill is offered for non-native students of all ages and levels of learning. The lingua franca is English, but we also use bilingual dictionaries in lessons if it is necessary. EAL teaching focuses primarily on students’ English language development, improving the four basic skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing.
The fundamental aim of the course is to help students develop their English language proficiency in order to enable and assist them to follow different courses of other subjects in English. Students therefore get the chance to expand their vocabulary of different topics or subjects and at times we also take an in-depth approach of understanding the language, for example we discuss different elements of grammar in detail.
The teacher adapts her teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of each pupil. She also applies a variety of distinctive teaching approaches to engage, support and prepare students of different ages and levels of English. In terms of teaching methodologies, Dogme, a communicative language teaching method is the preferred choice because of its learner-centred approach. The use of this methodology enables the teacher to be very flexible and sensitive to the real needs of each student. Another methodology often used in EAL lessons, is Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL). This enables the teacher to teach subject content (most often cultural studies and geography) as well as language. These sessions prepare students for courses and lessons of academic content in other subjects too.