As we prepare ourselves to welcome new Intenational students in September and will, inevitably be saying farewell to some, either at the end of this term, or at the end of the summer, Head of our EAL (English as an Additional Language) department, Guy Monk, says that students coming to West Buckland will gain friendship, skills, language, knowledge and a sense of humour!
International students at West Buckland School are amazing! Studying in another country where the weather can be cold and grey, the food is strange (!), everything is done in English and the educational culture is different, requires strength and courage. All our international students are fantastic; just for being here.
Sense of Humour Required!
If Mr Bohl, Mrs Cartmell, Mrs Episkopos and I could build a perfect EAL student, what would they be like? Firstly, they’d laugh at our jokes! In addition, they’d get involved in the life of the school. We understand that it can be difficult, perhaps frightening, to leave your room and join in an activity. However, playing football, badminton or basketball, going to the Socrates or Phoenix debating clubs, or joining one of the many other available activities will help a student make friends, improve their English and have fun.
The Importance of Immersion
Our perfect student would immerse themselves in the language. They would read books, short stories, magazines, internet articles, newspapers, etc. They would listen to English radio, watch English films and listen to pop music with English lyrics. They would mix with a range of students, not just people from their own country. They would realise that their English is the key to success and would make every effort to develop their English throughout their school career and beyond.
What we do in EAL
The EAL (English as an additional language) Department aims to support all students who need to improve their English. That means developing the language they need to survive and flourish in the social and everyday life of the school, the language they need in their lessons and to do their homework, and the language they need for exams, such as IELTS, the university entrance exam. Hopefully, students feel that EAL classrooms are a safe place, where they can learn and try out new language, take risks and make mistakes.
Learning Culture as well as Language
If an international student starts in September, within a short time they have experienced Halloween, Bonfire Night and Remembrance Day, probably with little knowledge of why these events take place or the background to them. The EAL teachers help students learn about British culture and some of the stories behind the events and celebrations that happen throughout the year. Students also get the opportunity to discuss their own national or regional celebrations.
Friendship and Academic Success
This is my third year at West Buckland School and I have had the privilege of working with students from over 15 different countries. Watching students arrive unsure of themselves, in a strange environment and out of their comfort zone, seeing them gain confidence, make friendships and develop their language, and then seeing them leave with new friends, better English and having achieved academic success is a genuine pleasure.
The EAL Department looks forward to welcoming more amazing students from around the world and we hope that we can be part of the West Buckland team that supports them and enables them to achieve the success they deserve.