EAL is a pivotal part of our curriculum at The International School. At d’Overbroeck’s, we appreciate that the purpose of EAL is not only to prepare students to take an English language qualification; rather it also plays a crucial role in supporting students in all their mainstream subjects across the school when English is not their mother tongue. We are in the fortunate position of having nine highly qualified and experienced EAL teachers on our team who are able to offer support to both students and teachers across the whole school community.
The EAL course at The International School consists of 2 main components: exam focus and subject focus.
In this part of the course, students develop the language and the language skills that they need in order to be successful at their English language qualification.
In Year 10i, students prepare for the Trinity ISE exam. This consists of all four language skills (reading, writing, speaking, listening) and takes an integrated approach to language learning. For example, unlike other English language qualifications, students are required to read four different texts and identify key information before using this information to write a range of genres.
In Year 11i, students prepare for the IGCSE in English as a Second Language. This also incorporates all the language skills and a range of genres.
What makes our course even more effective, and in fact unique, is that we have dedicated English lessons in both Y10i and Y11i to help students with the language they need to be successful in their subject classes. This is called a CLIL approach to teaching: Content and Language Integrated Learning. For example, to help students with their work in geography on the journey of a river, the English teachers focus on the language of processes and make them aware of the key language features of that type of text, such as sequencers and The Passive Voice.
Finally, due to the expertise of our team, we also help mainstream teachers to support the EAL learners in their lessons. This includes co-planning lessons and observing lessons and giving feedback. We are also running a 12-week course for 12 teachers across the school, which leads to the TESMC (Teaching EAL Students in the Mainstream Classroom) certificate. This has already helped teachers to focus more explicitly and more confidently on the language of their subjects.