Languages without barriers
At CBSC we welcome diversity. Over 40 languages are spoken by our 154 EAL students and staff combined: a statistic we are very proud of. Being a student with English as an Additional Language (EAL) may actually mean that English is not the second language spoken, but the third!
Numerous challenges await EAL students, especially those arriving from another country with little or no English; it can be very daunting surrounded by an alien culture, unfamiliar faces and lessons in a foreign language.
At CBSC, we do everything possible to help our EAL students to turn these challenges into opportunities through our tight support network. First, we tailor-make personalised timetables to suit the needs of the students. A new EAL student may, for example, be removed from particular subjects for a short period of time or supported in lessons using differentiated resources with the same objectives, so there is no long term isolation. We pair up our new EAL boys with a friendly face; peers, whether they speak the same language or not, usually embrace the differences and keep an eye on ensuring the new student gets to the right lesson without getting lost in the labyrinth of busy corridors. Joining clubs (especially sports and drama) and being selected for competitions representing CBSC have also been extremely successful to increase confidence and accelerate integration within the school community. Finally, Tutors, Support Staff and Learning Co-ordinators also provide constancy, track progress, ensure wellbeing and help develop a vital link with engaged and supportive guardians, carers and parents who wholeheartedly participate in the steep learning curve and long journey ahead of assimilation.
Here are some of the comments that our Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese and Sri Lankan students have shared with us at the end of their first year:
- “Two years ago, I was nervous and felt like a new-born, having to relearn everything. Since winning the Basketball Surrey Cup, I have been able to train as a basketball referee and table official which has given me a lot of confidence and a possible career path. I would like to thank the student whose shadow I followed for three days now my English is a lot better. I look forward to taking my GCSEs in June and go to college.”
- “I was scared and felt vulnerable because I did not know anyone and could not understand anything.”
- “Winning 10 achievement points for my Spanish poster felt so good!”
- “I liked entering the EAL Flag Competition with the British Council. We did not win but we will try harder next year.”
- “After one month at Carshalton Boys, it is a good school. I have made friends and I am happy. See you!”