This blog post will outline what written planning and preparation is needed by language support/ English as an Additional Language teachers in Ireland, as well as hi-lighting the relevant documents to look at and showing where you can find resources.
Where can I find the relevant documents and publications?
Well the good news is that the NCCA have a page on their website dedicated to EAL in primary schools here. It is where you will find all of the relevant resources and documents in one place. The bad news is that most of the guidance and resources are quite old!
What resources will I use?
EAL teachers need to assess children using the Primary School Assessment Kit (PSAK). This is available on the NCCA EAL webpage.
Once you have administered the PSAK, you will know what level of language proficiency the children are on, and you can begin teaching using the “Up and Away” EAL curriculum.
The NCCA EAL website also provides a workbook called “My First English Book” for children in Junior & Senior Infants. It is fairly basic and I have found in the past that I needed to supplement it with additional/ more relevant worksheets. For First Class upwards, there is a European Language Portfolio.
What are the requirements for EAL teachers written preparation/ planning?
Circular 0053/2007 is the most up to date circular from the Department of Education relating to this area. It is a short 3-page circular which outlines the role of the language support teacher as follows:
“Language support teachers are appointed to assist schools in providing additional language support teaching for pupils. In collaboration with parents and class teachers, language support teachers identify pupils requiring additional support, administer the assessment materials developed by Integrate Ireland Language and Training, devise appropriate language programmes, deliver the programmes and record and monitor pupils’ progress. It is important that expertise is shared and good practice is communicated and disseminated in order to optimise the opportunities pupils have for developing their proficiency in English.”
The NCCA also have 70-page guidelines for teachers here which were published in 2006. There is a section in the document that covers “school planning and classroom planning” but it is very broad and doesn’t provide any guidance on what written preparation is needed.
The 2021 Guidance on Preparation for Teaching and Learning says that written preparation should refer directly to the curriculum, include the focus of learning for the children and what their learning experiences will be, and specify how the learning will be demonstrated i.e. assessment. It specifies long term recorded preparation, short term recorded preparation, and the cuntas míosúil as the written preparation/ planning that needs to be done.
Is there any guidance on EAL planning and preparation?
There is nothing specific to EAL teacher planning on the NIPT website.
The inspectorate produced a report on EAL in primary schools in 2008 and they said the following:
Integrate Ireland Language and Training have a sample 3-week outline of content to show what could be covered in a period here. However, it is more to demonstrate what sorts of activities could be covered, rather than giving guidance on how to do written preparation or planning.
So how do I do written preparation for EAL teaching?
The inspectorate report says that children need to have an individual language programme based on their assessed competencies. This is basically an EAL Individual Education Plan which is based on the Up and Away EAL Curriculum and the results of the children’s PSAK assessments. Each child will need an individual EAL long term plan for the year with unique aims, targets and vocab depending on which level they are on (A1, A2 or B1) in each of the skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing.
Each child in your school who will receive language support will need their own EAL IEP. However large schools, that have a very high percentage of children with EAL, this can mean you may need a separate plan for several hundred children. Doing plans for all of these children is extremely time consuming. Trust me, I have done it during my time as an EAL teacher!
Do you have any templates/ sample plans to help with this?
Yes! Teachingplans.ie has a unique, editable EAL Long term plan which has been designed to allow you to create EAL Individual Education Plans for all of the children in your school who receive language support quickly and easily. Using this plan, I have been able to create an EAL IEP with aims, targets and vocab to match a child’s individual PSAK results in under 1 minute! Filling out the individual pupil profile section, is the most time-consuming part of this plan, but even this can be done in less than 10 minutes if you have the information already to hand. So, using this template, will allow you to create EAL IEPS with aims, targets and vocabulary specific to each child’s profile of needs in under 10mintes per child!
How does your editable long term planning template work?
It is very common that child may be on different levels (A1 Breakthrough, A2 Waystage, or B1 Threshold) in each of the skill areas: Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing. For example, they may be on level B1 in Listening, A1 in Reading, A2 in Speaking, and A1 in Writing. For this reason, a generic plan that has all 4 skills at A1 level may not be useful. This plan allows you to only keep the long-term aims and targets for the level the child is working at, as indicated by their PSAK result e.g. if they are at level B1 in Listening, then you delete the long term aims and targets for levels A1 and A2 in Listening. If they are at level A1 in Reading, then delete the long term aims and targets for levels A2 and B1 in Reading etc.
Furthermore, usually children with EAL only begin working on reading and writing skills from First Class onwards. Therefore, you may have some older children who need these skills included in their EAL long-term plan, and younger children who do not. For children in the infant classes, you can delete the reading and writing aims and targets and only keep the listening and speaking ones.
Finally, as children progress through their EAL instruction, they may reach the target level of B1.3 in some areas e.g. listening and speaking, but not in reading and writing. In this case, you will be creating a plan with only aims and targets relating to the areas where they have not reached the B1.3 level.
All of these scenarios, mean that you will need to create EAL plans that are slightly different for each child. I have created this template plan as the fastest way to be able to do this, as all of the content that you need is already included. So rather than having to copy and paste information into a new document which is very time consuming, you simply click and delete the sections in this plan that are not needed for that particular child.
Check out our demo on Instagram showing how quickly and easily an EAL plan with personalised targets and vocabulary can be created for each student using our EAL IEP.
What about short term planning?
For short term planning, a similar template to what is used for SET teachers works well, with additional headings added in to allow for the use of the Up and Away EAL Curriculum and the 2021 Guidance on Preparation for Teaching and Learning. We have a template and sample plan available here.
We also have editable EAL short term plans for the year for A1 level. Short term plans for A2 and B1 levels are being created and will be available in the future! Get notified when more they are added by following @teachingplans.ie on Instagram and Facebook.
How can I do the cuntas míosúil?
A cuntas míosúl is simply a record of the work you have covered with your students for the previous month. The easiest way to do a cuntas míosúil is to tick or mark what you have covered on your short-term plans, and to write a short reflection. There is space on our EAL short term planning template for you to do this.