Research and reports

We hope to develop this section of the website into an overview of key research on topics relating to EAL. There is a substantial body of research in the field that has been built up over a number of years, both in the UK and also in other English-speaking countries, notably Australia, Canada and the USA.

We feel that the most successful EAL teaching and learning is based on evidence about what constitutes effective practice, and that it is useful for teachers to have an idea of the theory underpinning EAL learning. If we are not given this information we rely on common sense approaches – and when it comes to EAL some common sense approaches are good practice and others are not. For example using pictures and diagrams so that a beginner EAL learner can understand what is happening in a lesson is an obvious thing to do and it is also good practice. On the other hand telling someone that they should speak in English all the time and never use their first language at school may seem to be common sense, but it is not regarded as good practice.

‘Theory is sometimes seen as something separate from practice, dreamt up by theorists who – many teachers suspect – don’t know much about the realities of classroom life. Theory has come to be regarded by some as irrelevant or as unnecessarily complicated, separate from and even getting in the way of good practice. But this should not be so… Theory is an essential aspect of the enterprise of teaching.’ Jean Conteh, 2003, Succeeding in Diversity: culture, language and learning in primary classrooms, Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham Books, pp 2-3

EAL Nexus commissioned six research projects into various aspects of EAL provision.These projects are described on the website, and the reports are available to download. In this section of the website we will also summarise some of the key research that has been influential in the field of EAL in the past, and we intend to gather reports about recent and current research that will be of interest in the future.


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...