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English as an additional language (EAL): decolonising provision and practice

Welply, Oakleigh

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This paper examines ways in which approaches to English as Additional Language (EAL) can be decolonised in schools. In an attempt to break traditional divides between academic research and pedagogical practice in this area, this article adopts a collaborative perspective, between an EAL advisory and support teacher and an academic member of staff working in university. Drawing on dialogues and co-analysis with EAL practitioners, this article reflects on limitations of current provision and practice and suggests alternative, decolonial and anti-racist approaches to the education of EAL students. At both school and university level, ‘one size fits all approaches’ tend to negate the deep historical, social and political roots and contexts which underpin the experiences of ‘EAL students’ at different levels of education. Issues related to equitable assessment, inclusion, linguistic support and anti-racism tend to be side lined in favour of a focus on language proficiency and attainment, which most often overshadows the complex experiences and needs of students labelled ‘EAL’. In this respect, the questions of relevant, decentred and decolonised curricula and forms of assessment that can promote inclusion for students who have experienced migration and are placed in monolingual educational environments in the UK are crucial. Through a decolonial perspective on the curriculum, language and pedagogical practice, inspired by postcolonial studies and Critical Race Theory, this paper discusses three main areas that emerged as crucial to a deeper and critical engagement with English as an Additional Language and the experience of students: (1) the need for a critical reflection on ideas of inclusion and mainstreaming; (2) active anti-racist work in schools and initial teacher training; and (3) decolonising assessment.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 10, 2022
Online Publication Date Sep 29, 2022
Publication Date 2023-03
Deposit Date Sep 20, 2022
Publicly Available Date Mar 21, 2023
Journal The Curriculum Journal
Print ISSN 0958-5176
Electronic ISSN 1469-3704
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 34
Issue 1
Pages 62-82
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Published Journal Article (284 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.© 2022 The Authors. The Curriculum Journal published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Educational Research Association

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