Currently more than 850,000 pupils in UK schools speak English as a second language, more than 50,000 speak no English at all and with learners' needs being many and varied this poses a massive challenge for teachers.
For six months now EmasUK, an online service, which falls within the Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant remit, has been coming to their rescue by providing a “digital vault' of resources in more than 200 languages to support classroom work. All key stages are catered for and visitors to BETT 2010 will got a chance to sample the range available for subjects including science, mathematics, RE and art.As well as the supporting posters and calendars that help make up the digital resource library, there is Knowledge Share, a synopsis on every country in the world; its terrain, climate, people, religions, ethnic mix and any disputes that could affect community cohesion. Each resource takes only 30 seconds to download.
Annual membership of EmasUK cost £100 but for an additional £349, teachers and language assistants can get one-day CPD workshop sessions that are divided into three themes: understanding how children learn a language; practical sessions on creating resources; using music to help develop phonics and phonemes. Supply costs incurred by EmasUK members will be refunded at the end of the day.
'Even with good resources school is still a scary place to be'
The creators of the not-for-profit company, says they have worked to develop the support resources a new pupil receives when they arrive in the classroom: “But even with good resources school is still a scary place to be. One of the hardest times is when a new pupil has to leave the relative security of their classroom and go into the school playground. There are hundreds of pupils and only one or two adults. How do they let anyone know that they are scared or unwell, are hurt or need the toilet?”
The simple solution is an MP3 program that speaks the request in English. For example, a pupil who feels unwell simply chooses the right phrase on the player and presses play. The inbuilt speaker says the phrase out loud, either to the adult or peer member or repeated by the learner. In addition, using the audio communication feature, teachers can involve parents by sending children home with a translated message about forthcoming events like special assembies or parents’ evenings.
From Easter, EmasUK plans to go global with its services. John Foxwell, EmasUK’s director of education says they wiill be available in other European countries including Poland, Albania, Russia, Greece and Turkey “to help in communicating with other countries, accessing learning in other languages and building communication opportunities on a global basis”.
At BETT he was demonstrating the Talking Tutor, EmasUK's web or server based tool, that speaks 24 languages and the range of early years toys they’ve created to help children overcome communication issues.
January 13-16, Olympia, London
EmasUK – Stand N29