Many students in Australian schools are learning English as an additional language or dialect (EAL/D).* EAL/D learners are students whose first language is a language other than Standard Australian English and who require additional support to assist them in developing English language proficiency.
EAL/D students come from diverse backgrounds and may include:
- overseas- and Australian-born children whose first language is a language other than English
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students whose first language is an Indigenous language, including traditional languages
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students whose first language is Aboriginal English, including creoles and related varieties.
EAL/D learners enter Australian schools at different ages and stages of schooling and at different stages of English language learning. They have diverse talents and capabilities and a range of prior learning experiences and levels of literacy in their first language and in English. EAL/D students represent a significant and growing percentage of learners in NSW schools. For some, school is the only place they use English.
EAL/D learners are simultaneously learning a new language and the knowledge, skills and understanding of the Mathematics syllabus through that new language. They require additional time and support, along with informed teaching that explicitly addresses their language needs, and assessments that take into account their developing language proficiency.
* EAL/D is the term adopted by all Australian schools as part of the national education reform agenda of developing a K–12 Australian curriculum. The term English as an additional language or dialect (EAL/D) may be used interchangeably with the following terms: English as a second language (ESL), English language learners (ELL), English as an additional language (EAL) and English as an additional dialect (EAD).