Challenges Faced by EAL Students


EAL is an essential part of the Australian curriculum since most of the subjects taught in schools can only be accessed through the English language.  That is why English teachers are responsible for teaching the language and fill the literacy demands of all students. In fact, EAL students require specific support to develop their competency and learn specific language structures and vocabulary that many of us take for granted.

This will provide them the capability to acquire a complex set of language skills for learning. Each student comes to school with varying degrees of proficiency and literacy in standard Australian English as well as their home languages.

So, by taking EAL, they will be able to build their linguistic skills and become plurilingual. They can use this skill to enrich their communication and learning in all the subjects under the curriculum. They will also achieve a range of social, personal, and academic functions. Therefore, they will be more than capable of expressing themselves through spoken English, or persuade an audience to a specific point of view.

Not to mention that they will encounter different types of texts in several learning areas like Science, History, or Mathematics.

  • Challenges faced by students learning EAL

We all know that learning a second language is never easy, so EAL students face several challenges in their learning. In fact, they need to develop both academic and conversational English, and overcome the culturally-bound aspect of schooling.

That is why EAL learners, especially students who have never spoken English before, will struggle for a while as they learn to catch up with their classmates and peers. New EAL students will often feel isolated and bewildered by their new school.

It is scary enough for any student starting at a new school. They will be unfamiliar with several classroom routines and expectations. This uncertainty and anxiousness is heightened for students who struggle to communicate in English. Some students exclude themselves from these certain activities and become discouraged about attending school;. This, in turn, will develop feelings of isolation and lack of enthusiasm.

  • How teachers and tutors can support these students

Teachers and tutors must be able to strengthen and promote quality learning practices to ensure that EAL students will have the opportunity to achieve a high level competency across the curriculum. They must also be able to establish links between school and home for students and their families.

Therefore, EAL students must have opportunities to achieve the same level of educational success as those students whose first language is English. Teachers, as well as tutors, must help these students develop literacy in English by:

  • Teaching them how to listen and comprehend spoken English effectively
  • Teach them spoken English, and introduce classes allowing adequate practice in real life scenarios
  • Teach them to read and write English effectively
  • Introduce the Australian school system

Overall, educators must identify a student’s level of proficiency in the English language, and this can be done through various assessments. Teachers must also utilise the student’s cultural understanding and develop procedures and expectations that will guide the students through the EAL learning progression.

The main goal is to improve the proficiency of each EAL students in the English language that they will be on par with their classmates in terms of opportunities and educational achievements. To determine whether or not your child needs a tutor, read this article.