The EAL learner

learners of English as an Additional Language

How language works

Each area of the curriculum has language structures and vocabulary particular to its learning domain, and these are best taught in the context in which they are used; hence, all teachers are responsible for teaching the language and cultural understandings of their learning areas.

Mainstream literacy strategies alone are insufficient for EAL learners because they work on the premise that students can already speak and understand English;  therefore ……

It is the job of the teacher to make English language knowledge visible to their EALD learners.  Misty Adoniou (Oct, 2015)

Teaching knowledge about language in schools

Watch this 17 minute video in which Sally Humphrey and Beverly Derewianka describe the growth and development of teaching knowledge about language in schools.

If you want to read the companion essay, click here.

 What is genre and why do you need to know about it?  This article provides an explanation about the role of genre and language in learning.

Teaching resources

Online interactive professional learning modules     images9HQF4YNG

Learn more about verbs with this interactive Verbs and Verbs Groups  e-learning module.  

Learn more about compound sentences.

Learn more about complex sentences using subordinating conjunctions

Composing Written Texts

Composing Written Texts  F-6  provides analysed and annotated model texts and strategies for teaching the relevant language features.  Download the  order form .

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 Composing Written Science Texts 7-10  is a resource to support teachers of Science and STEM in designing and embedding the text structures and grammar of Science writing into Science learning.   Download the same order form or order online from the AATE Bookshop.

Other language teaching resources

Explicit teaching strategies aligned with the Language and Literacy Levels.  It is recommended that these strategies  are used within a contextualised scaffolding/ gradual release teaching and learning cycle in order to achieve the language learning goals that have been identified for the student based on their assessed language level.

CyberGrammar,  designed by Professor Debra Myhill, University of Exeter, to support and develop knowledge of grammar and indicate its relevance in the classroom.

Lists of texts and visual resources that lend themselves to teaching  specific language features such as foregrounding, noun groups, sentences, circumstances, verb groups etc.

Grammar glossaries

Visual grammar – In his book, The shape of text to come: how image and text work, Jon Callow describes a metalanguage,  aligned with functional grammar to explicitly teach how visual and multimodal texts function.  


Oral language

Visit the page on supporting oral language development.


What comments or questions might you have about how language (grammar) works?  

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  1. Fantastic resources…very motivating for all teachers:all curriculum areas and year levels .

  2. The Shape of texts to come is a great resource, too.

  3. chrisp64

    July 31, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    They are one and the same thing (I’ve now removed one of the hyperlinks to avoid confusion). It does seem to be taking a little while to download tonight but it does eventually. The interactions on the Verbs e-learning module work best on a lap top or desktop computer. The next module – Complex sentences – is designed to be used on an ipad as well as conventional computers.

    • magdalenamoise

      July 31, 2016 at 10:42 pm

      Yes, lots of resouces. The verbs opened for me too ( Macbook Air). The ‘metalanguage’ and ‘teach how visual and multimodal texts work’ are hyperlinked to the same webpage.

      • chrisp64

        August 1, 2016 at 7:40 am

        They were intended to be linked to the same webpage but I’ll make it so there’s only one link to avoid confusion.

  4. chrisp64

    November 29, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    Some people have used the e-learning modules about how language works in professional learning sessions with their ESOs

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