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Marking progression in second language production: EAL pupils’ use of spoken and written English

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With respect to all language learners, analysis of progression in language development is arguably inseparable from specific contexts of language use. For EAL (English as an additional language) learners this is perhaps even more the case: the naturalistic context of informal, out-of-the classroom English language use overlaps with the formal classroom-based learning and use of English. What is the nature and pattern of progression in language competence in these conditions? Global assessment frameworks provide a general indication of levels of competence but cannot provide a substantive account of an individual’s profile of progression in acquiring a language. What can longitudinal evidence from interviews and open-writing tasks tell us about how newly-arrived EAL pupils progress in their competence in English in the first two years in the new school? My talk will draw on evidence from a recently completed study of EAL students in schools in the East of England funded by the Bell Foundation and will focus on evidence of progression in formal, communicative and interpersonal features of English language use.


Michael Evans is Reader in Second Language Education at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge and Official Fellow at Clare Hall. He has published papers on different areas of foreign and second language education (mainly at secondary school level) including study abroad, language learner codeswitching, language policy-making, EAL teaching and learning. He is co-author (with Norbert Pachler, Ana Redondo, and Linda Fisher) of Learning to Teach Foreign Languages (Routledge, 2013) and is editor of Second Language Education (Routledge Major Themes in Education, 2013). He is co-editor (with Colleen McLaughlin) of the Cambridge Education Research series with Cambridge University Press. Michael is currently co-PI (with Claudia Schneider) of a study entitled The Education of Disadvantaged English as an Additional Language (EAL) Students: effective matching of needs to provision (funded by the Bell Foundation). Michael teaches mainly on the Masters course entitled Research in Second Language Education and has extensive experience of Phd supervision in the field.

This talk is part of the Second Language Education Group series.

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