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English as an additional language: an evaluation of pilot training courses

Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED), corp creator. (2006) English as an additional language: an evaluation of pilot training courses.

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Abstract

This is a report of an evaluation of DfES-funded courses for training specialist teachers and teaching assistants in English as an additional language (EAL). A grant to run the pilot courses was provided in 2003 to four higher education institutions working in partnership with one or more local authorities. The intention of this project was to ‘arrest the decline in opportunities to gain accreditation in this field’. Ofsted was simultaneously requested to carry out a two-year evaluation of the pilot courses. The evaluation was carried out through discussions with training providers, students, line managers, mentors and tutors. Additional evidence was gained from the scrutiny of assignments and some training sessions and lessons in schools. For many years, professionals involved in English as an additional language (EAL) have been concerned that unlike many other English-speaking countries, there is no nationally recognised post-qualification accreditation route for teachers and others who wish to specialise in working with EAL learners. At the current time, EAL is not recognised as a subject specialism in initial teacher education and although a number of institutions provide a range of post-qualification courses, there is no single nationally recognised award. Increasing funding uncertainty, a decline in the number of accredited courses and an increase in the number of teaching assistants employed to support EAL learners in schools in recent years have contributed to what many regard as a declining expertise nationally at a time when the number of such learners in schools is rising. For example, in 2002, a report by OFSTED (2002) into professional development relating to EAL and minority ethnic learners found that in some local authorities, fewer than 30% of teachers had specialist qualifications in their field of work. The evaluation suggests that although all the courses were generally well-received by participants there was a tension evident between the requirement from the DfES to enhance the ‘practical element’ of the training and the limitations of this in practice. For example, not all course tutors visited participants in their teaching situation and none assessed these visits formally. None of the institutions involved had established procedures to assess the long-term impact of courses on classroom practice and pupils’ attainment. Similarly, there were difficulties maintaining meaningful contact with participants’ line managers (who could be individual head teachers in schools or local authority service managers) which led to differing expectations and differences in the support provided for participants by their schools or local authorities. A difficulty with the teaching assistant courses was that participants believed it would lead to Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) status which it did not. The evaluation is a useful introduction to developing accredited post initial qualification courses which contain a practice based element. It highlights similar difficulties to those encountered by the DfES itself in its pilot national training scheme to equip all primary teachers to support EAL learners (White et al, 2006). Reviewed by: Nicola Davies Naldic)

Item Type: Document from Web
Publisher: Ofsted
Additional Information: Record imported from Sirsidynix Symphony: 2011-08-02 04:40:48. [physical_description]: 19 p.
Uncontrolled Keywords: ESOL education, Teacher education
Depositing User: popepriority
Date Deposited: 02 Aug 2011 04:40
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2012 10:47
URI: http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/id/eprint/5989
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