Teaching Young EAL/D Learners in Mainstream Contexts
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The number of Australians born overseas is very high with the last census (2016) reporting 28.5% of the population coming from overseas (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2016). As indicated in Chapter 1 current estimates are that up to 25% of Australian school children speak English as an additional language or dialect (EAL/D). As we will see in Chapter 4 this also includes Australian Aboriginal children. These EAL/D children vary in ages, cultural and socio-economic background, level of English language proficiency, home language literacy and how much access they have had to formal education. Because of these background factors, EAL/D students need on-going general English and academic English language support. Unfortunately the last decade has seen considerable changes made to the funding model for English language programs in Australia. Programs which were previously the responsibility of the federal government have been collapsed into new funding arrangements between the state and federal governments. Money is now channelled into the broader areas of literacy and numeracy for all, low socio-economic communities and mainstream teacher development rather than being directed to specialised educational needs (Lingard, Creagh & Vass, 2012). In fact, some argue that things have been watered down so much EAL/D students’ needs are not being adequately met (Creagh, 2014).
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