As part of the EAL Nexus project, the British Council sought research proposals from colleagues who were interested in carrying out research in one of the following five areas:
- EAL parents and communities
- EAL assessment
- Context and needs of EAL learners
- Initial Teacher Education
- Information technology and EAL
As a result of this process six research projects were successfully completed. The successful candidates received a research award of up to £5,000 to cover itemised costs. The six projects were as follows:
Research on Roma Pupils
This research was undertaken by Mark Penfold from Babington College, Leicester. It was carried out in 2014 and updated in July 2016. The project focused on the distinctive educational needs of new Roma migrant pupils and the extent to which they are different from other Gypsy Roma Traveller (GTR) communities and contains lots of practical ideas and advice for schools.
First language assessment of young EAL learners
Sarah Coles, from Hampshire Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achievement Service, identified the need for a First Language Assessment tool that would be suitable for use with young EAL learners. The tool that she has developed and piloted mirrors the Early Learning Goals as described in the Early Years Foundation Profile.
Research on parental engagement
Dr Patricia Walker, from CASS School of Education and Communities, University of East London, carried out a research project on engaging the parents of EAL learners in positive support for their children’s language development. This was based on interviews and buzz groups with more than 70 parents in three separate research locations in the London Borough of Ealing.
EAL and immersive games
The aim of this unusual project was to develop effective EAL pedagogy in the context of using photorealistic 3-D computer games with advanced EAL learners. The researcher, Chris Pim, from Hampshire Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achievement Service, worked in one primary and one secondary school, and projects focused on increasing vocabulary and improving writing.
EAL and Initial Teacher Education in Wales
This very comprehensive piece of research was carried out by Jonathan Brentnall, in collaboration with Aberystwyth University School of Education and Lifelong Learning. Using questionnaires and structured interviews with trainee teachers and university staff, the project looked at the extent to which practices in ITE provision in Wales prepare trainee teachers to meet the needs of EAL learners. A short version of the report is also available in Welsh.
EAL and university-based Initial Teacher Education
Dr Pauline Sangster from the University of Edinburgh and her colleagues also focused on the extent to which trainee teachers are prepared to meet the needs of EAL learners, using a case-study approach. This study examined two schools of education in Scotland and involved a questionnaire for students, a whole-day workshop focusing on effective EAL teaching and then a follow-up questionnaire.