Miller and Windle (2010) argue that second language research scholarship contributes valuable insights critical to addressing the needs of students with high linguistic diversity. They recommend explicit language teaching, visual learning, the use of relevant and stimulating materials, setting high expectations, adaption and modification of resources and a differentiated curriculum to support students with high linguistic diversity.

Winch, Johnston, March, Ljungdahl, and Holiday (2014) found that EAL/D students need expert teaching in the classroom in order to develop English language competencies. They argue that teachers require specific knowledge of individual student backgrounds to engage students in learning activities (Winch et al., 2014).  Hawkins’ (2005) ethnographic study, which identifies individual identity as the most significant factor in language acquisition, supports this approach. She found student identity to be determined by culture, context and power relations in the home environment. Hawkins (2005) argues that teachers need to draw on their students’ individual cultural capital for engagement in learning activities and peer interaction in the classroom.

Bidwell (2016) found that EAL/D students benefit from multi-sensory learning. She recommends the use of visual learning aids to assist EAL/D students to learn and retain information. These aids are not just limited to visual cards containing phonic knowledge, spelling and grammar; they can include resources like a classroom timetable and a home-school visual diary for EAL/D students.

Edutopia provides examples of visual literacy strategies, which can be tailored to suit EAL/D students at different levels of learning in the classroom. EmergingEdTech provides a number of different in-class activities that utilise technology as a way to provide multisensory engagement for EAL/D students.

Sullo (2000) emphasises the power of pedagogy for effective EAL/D learning. His research demonstrated the correlation between positive emotions and effective learning and found that emotional states are contagious and can help to bridge the language gap in classrooms. Sullo argues that a teaching pedagogy focused on fun is the most effective strategy for encouraging learning and inclusion in the classroom. Pearse (2018) supports Sullo’s beliefs, highlighting ‘the power of playfulness’ as one of the key qualities of an effective learning environment. Her Edutopia article demonstrates how fun learning can evoke a sense of belonging and reduced anxiety for EAL/D students. Games can be used for academic purposes, or even as a break from them, as shared experiences of fun can bring students together and create an environment conducive to learning. Funology provides learning games, which are suited to EAL/D learning, including games that focus on body movement or visual stimulus, and those that require group work to encourage social inclusion.


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