The EAL learner

learners of English as an Additional Language

Who are EAL learners?


EAL/D learners are those whose home language is a language or dialect other than English and who require additional  support to assist them to develop proficiency in English. 

EAL/D students come from diverse, multilingual backgrounds and may include overseas and Australian born students whose first language is a language other than English, including ATSI students whose first language is an Indigenous language.

Characteristics of EAL learning  

EAL learners are simultaneously learning a new language and learning the knowledge, understandings and skills of the curriculum through this new language.  They have the same capacity to learn and understand the curriculum as other students however they require support with the English language and cultural understandings required to access the curriculum and to demonstrate their achievement (ACARA).  This is best achieved by acknowledging, nurturing and using the existing cultural references and linguistic skills of the students.   (Adoniou, 2016).  Further information, advice and illustrations of practice are available on the Australian Curriculum Student Diversity page. 

Click on the headings below for information about:

Identifying EAL learners

  • how to identify your EAL/D students
  • difference between second language learning and learning difficulties

Additional language learning 

  • interpersonal and academic language
  • learning stages
  • factors in successful second language learning
  • role of the students’ home language

New Arrival EAL learners 

  • characteristics of new arrival students
  • Intensive English language centres and programs
  • resources

Students with refugee experience 

  • refugee experience
  • support for schools
  • resources

 What questions or comments might you have about any of this?

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