Better Bilingual EAL Celebration Event: EAL Approaches to Enhancing Maths Attainment




Better Bilingual were privileged to have EAL Academy Associate, Chiaka Amadi open the Celebration Event.  Her key note on national and local progress and attainment data and what this looks like for different groups in Bristol set the context of the event; a really key reminder of the importance of focusing on Maths for EAL learners.  This was followed by Caroline Scott’s presentation of her online Learning Village resource, including a demonstrating on how this could be used to support the language development of learners in Maths and more.  Before breaking into the carousel session when schools shared their ‘Success Stories,’ we heard from Emma Cleave who provided a fresh perspective based on her research from around the world.  One of the key messages were how to view the skills EAL learners bring to the classroom and the implications of the language that is used to talk about how these learners are supported; ‘Asset Based Approach’ rather than interventions which can have negative connotations attached to it.

The room was filled with positive energy as ideas were shared between facilitators, presenters and attendees during the carousel session.  Attendees were particularly interested in the interactive Maths activities seen on the Better Bilingual table to support vocabulary development and sentence structures to enable learners to articulate Maths concepts and to be able to talk Maths using the correct language and terminology.  One attendee was particularly interested in the Maths activity where learners are required to explore their understanding of words and group these into three catogaries according to their definition- every day words, Maths words or both.  He expressed that he would be taking this idea back and sharing this with the Maths department so all learners could benefit from this great technique through checking understanding, exploring misconceptions and receiving immediate clarification.

Others talked about the importance of teaching language for Maths in a much more explicit way, ensuring all learners have the same understanding whether it be a Maths related word or a symbol.

It was great to see a diverse range of ‘Success Stories’ from oracy, pre-tutoring for Year 6 Maths SATs to the use of puppets to develop academic vocabulary and mathematical concepts shared by our Bristol schools.  There was also an opportunity to purchase some great EAL resources to support Maths language development of EAL learners.


Going forward attendees were asked to identify actions to implement in their settings from the day, before the Event was drawn to a close with the exciting announcements of the prize winners all delighted with their prizes, kindly provided by our generous sponsors (Learning Village, EAL Academy, Mantra Lingua, Multilingual Matters) and HANTS EMTAS.